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School and Lower Mill, Pleasley Vale, c 1910
A P Knighton
About this image
Looking west along Outgang Lane in Pleasley Vale with the school associated with the mill complex nearest and Lower Mill barely discernible in the background. Cotton mills were established on this site from 1784 and by the late 19th century were operated by William Hollins and Co Ltd. In the early 1890s experiments were conducted in mixing cotton and wool which led to the introduction of cloth manufacture under the tradename Viyella. By 1903 47 per cent of the mills' production was cloth, Khaki Viyella having been used for soldier's uniforms during the Boer War (1899-1902). In 1934 a total of 980 workers were employed at Pleasley Vale but the mills finally closed in 1987 and were later converted into business units.
The school served the colony of mill workers cottages that existed at the eastern end of the Vale and a trade directory of 1859 recorded that 'Near the mills is a daily school, promoted and supported by Wm Hollins, Esquire, more particularly for the use of those who are employed at the works. Also a mechanics' institute and a library of 500 books. Also, a Sunday school, well attended. The Methodists are allowed to assemble in the schoolroom on Sundays for religious services.'
The school had closed by 1956 and although the buildings were still extant in the mid-1960s, they were subsequently demolished.