My friend Len and I visited Tonedale Mill in the heart of Somerset earlier today. We wanted to see what is left of this historic set of buildings. The main site is gradually being converted into housing and judging by the interest of the local councillors that we bumped into, some of the best bits this complex might well get preserved.
I took all these photographs using the Fujifilm X100V, it’s a small, fixed lens camera and is ideal for Urbex (Urban exploration). Processing was done in Adobe Lightroom.
Built on an epic scale, the architect of this mill clearly had a Cathedral in mind when he or she laid out the plans.
It was a Howard Carter moment when we first glanced the treasure within the mill. “Can you see anything?” “Yes, wonderful things”.
Nothing quite prepares you for the beautiful tones and textures in this shrine to an industrial past in Tonedale.
Wheels, belts, chains and pullys at the ready to whir back into action.
This part of the complex is very low lying and liable to flooding. Plus it has the added advantage of being right underneith high voltage pylons. I say advantage, because there is no way this site will get cleared for housing. It would make a fabulous museum as long as it wasn’t cleaned up too much.
Top Left: This fire escape has seen better days. Top Right: The vast open ‘shop floor’ where rows upon rows of textile processing machines once stood. Bottom Left: One of many industrial fans set into the walls of the mill. Bottom Middle: The wire cut, handmade, clay bricks that litter the site are perforated. These holes allow for a better bond with adjasent bricks and they save weight and costs too. Bottom Right: Classic Roman arches adorn the site. These were made using ‘red rubber’ bricks and they add style, strength and a touch of quality to the buildings.
The savanna of Somerset encroaches on this wonderful relic of the past in Tonedale. The three centered arches above the windows in this building are sublime. Beautiful proportions that still delight dog walkers and passers by.
The chimney makes a statement and is in surprisingly good condition.
You can read more about the Tonedale Mills here. Including the woollen mill, the dye works and khaki dye production for the British Army.