For their August outing, 18 probus members and friends took up the Satnav challenge to find Queen Street Textile Mill, Burnley, for a guided tour.
Visitors admired the Grade 1 listed building with its 120ft chimney and pond filled with 500,000 gallons of water. They also saw ‘Peace’, a steam engine with two coal-fired boilers.
Knowledgeable guides demonstrated the process of turning weak cotton yarn into strong fabric coming off the loom.
The weaving process was explained on a loom, but a Lancashire loom was also used to demonstrate the craftsmanship and dangers associated with weaving, allowing visitors to feel the power and noise and understand why the weavers have learned to read lips.
The 90-minute tour gave details of the working lives of children as young as thirteen working long days.
The grand finale was the weaving shed with over 300 looms. Although rarely used today, the looms are still operational and have appeared in numerous film and television productions, including North and South, Life on Mars, The King’s Speech, Peterloo and A Christmas Carol.
Queen Street Mill is a former weaving mill in Harle Syke, a northeast suburb of Burnley, Lancashire, which is a Grade I listed building.
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It was built in 1894 for the Queen Street Manufacturing Company. It closed on March 12, 1982 and was mothballed, but was later taken over by Burnley Borough Council and maintained as a museum. In the 1990s ownership passed to Lancashire Museums.
Unique in being the only operational steam weaving shed in the world, it received an Engineering Heritage Award in November 2010.
Previously open to visitors and offering weaving demonstrations, the museum closed in September 2016 and in April 2018 Lancashire County Council announced that the museum, along with the Helmshore Mills Textile Museum and the Judges Lodgings in Lancaster, would reopen three days a week.
Leyland Probus is a club for retired men who meet the second Monday of the month for food, conversation and an interesting speaker at the Fox Lane Social Club.
If you are interested in joining Leyland Probus, you can email the club secretary at [email protected]