Tours of Toneworks

Somerset Council is offering small groups a tour of the historic Toneworks site in Wellington this summer. The Unravelling Toneworks Tours will be available throughout October. The tours will be led by the council’s Heritage at Risk team They’ll be accompanied with some special sessions led by professionals who have worked on the site.

Toneworks was at the centre of Wellington’s cloth industry. The building housed the textile dying and “wet finishing” – washing and drying – processes. The cloth was woven at the nearby Tonedale Mill. The factory used water and later steam to power production. Some of the machinery is still intact, along with evidence of electrical power which adds to the significance.

Both the mill and Toneworks were owned by the Fox family. They employed generations of Wellington families, producing woollen cloth, including fabric used for British Army uniforms.

The former Somerset West and Taunton Council took on the premises in 2020. They undertook a phased programme of works to start bringing the derelict site into better condition.

The focus of the three phases of repair so far has been to tackle the most structurally complex and urgent problems. In addition a large decontamination phase was required before any works could take place.

Tickets are free but advance booking is essential via Hard hats will be provided.

One comment

  • “Science finds, industry applies, man conforms’!

    An excellent ‘initiative’ a ‘history’ of the Welsh ‘coal-industry’ integral, Bridgwater Docks ‘Sully’ & Co, witness the Friends of the Wembdon Road Cemetery, were founded in 2010 with a handful of people who were passionate about restoring dignity to this much neglected Somerset cemetery. My former ’employer’ Cawood Holdings Plc acquired Sully & Co, including two ‘subsidiary’ coal-merchants, Bryant & Son/Burnham Trading Company. I commenced employment with the former in the 1950s at their Bristol office, located at Cumberland House, Clifton, progressing to HO, Quay Street, Manchester 1969/73 an ‘Epiphany’! The aforementioned ‘fired’ those ‘boilers’ at British Cellophane/Fox Bros/Wansborough Paper Co.

    Would be interested ‘whither’ all the ‘ash-repository’?

    I was Chairman, NW Coal Industry Society 1973, pace Lord Robens/Derek Ezra. I ‘departed’ to Wells in 1973!

    *Lest we forget, Coal was King “The machines that keep us alive, and the machines that make machines, are all directly or indirectly dependent upon coal. In the metabolism of the Western world the coal miner is second in importance only to the man who ploughs the soil. He is sort of cararyafid upon whose shoulder s nearly everything that is not grimy is supported”.

    Pax Britannia!

    *ISBN 978 0 0 812834 0: BLACK GOLD: Jeremy Paxman
    1SBN 978 178047592 0: Farewell King Coal: Anthony Seaton

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