Textile Archives at Historic Leeds Factory Receives Additional Funding of £ 40,000


William Gaunt and Rachel Moaby with a comptometer, which was the first mechanical calculator used in the factory office, in the foreground and a crockmeter that tests the color of the dye.

The Sunny Bank Mills Woven Textile Archive in Farsley, one of the largest and most important of its kind in the UK, has received a £ 40,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The grant will be used to work in partnership with an inclusive learning center located nearby.

The mill complex, originally built in 1829, has been in the Gaunt family for six generations and is currently owned and managed by cousins ​​John and William.

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13 photos of Farsley over the years

The Gaunts established Sunny Bank Mills Ltd, a non-profit company in 2017 to safeguard the historic textile archive of Sunny Bank Mills, and the archive has grown increasingly powerful.

force since then. It is organized by Rachel Moaby.

Rachel said, “This generous grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund is absolutely transformational for us. One of the main lessons we learned from being locked up

during the global pandemic was that we had to be much more accessible ”

“We will be working in partnership with the Post 16 department of the Power Plant at the West Leeds Specialized Inclusive Learning Center (SILC) based in Farsley. We intend to use this collaboration, called Weaving the Web, to help create lasting connections and exciting new projects at the Archives.

“This will not only benefit the students, but also increase the knowledge of our staff and volunteers at Sunny Bank Mills. We intend to create young ambassadors working in tandem

with the West Leeds SILC Work-Related Learning Program to create much more inclusive web design and content, helping to promote inclusiveness and accessibility to archives.

“We think this work is extremely important, both to us and to West SILC, whose students have diverse learning needs, including Asperger’s syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and Down’s syndrome.

Syndrome. They will really benefit from this project – and so will we, ”said Rachel.

“Where possible, the Farsley community and students of West SILC will be invited to experience the rich heritage of the Archives in person. The equipment and training facilitated by this grant will give us the tools to create and maintain workshops for years to come. With digital entry and increased website access, a whole new audience can and will be reached ”,

As part of the Weaving the Web program, Tom Jackson, Freelance Photographer and Senior Lecturer in Digital Media at Leeds University, will develop an exciting dossier of

the objects of the Archive through 360 photography.

It will also create workshops for West SILC students and the local community, as well as a dynamic interactive inventory of archival objects available on the Sunny Bank Mills website.

John Gaunt said, “We are delighted to be recognized by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in what will be a transformational project for the Sunny Bank Mills Archives. The grant

will allow archives to invest in equipment and skills to make them accessible online not only to the community from which they originate, but to all corners of the community at large who wish

“We look forward to working with students at the West Specialist Inclusive Learning Center and Split Pixel web designers who will help us truly understand what accessible means. This

is such exciting news, ”he added.

The Sunny Bank Mills Archives, of national significance, consist of: fabric records, including over 300 custodial books containing thousands of textile cutouts; 60,000 lengths of fabric; 8,000

fabric designs; 5,000 wool dye recipe cards; 100 ledgers and cash books bound in leather; looms; photographs and memorabilia and a library of books related to the factory.

When a spinning mill closes, the textile files are generally thrown in the dumpster. As a result, unfortunately 99% of West Yorkshire’s textile archives have been lost. The Gaunt family, however, was

insisting that the heritage of Sunny Bank Mills must be preserved for future generations. So when the mill closed in 2008, all of the mill’s records were carefully put aside.

William Gaunt added: “It is important to John and I that the archives have a secure future beyond our lives for generations to come, so the National Lottery Heritage Grant means a

a lot for us. The management, restoration, conservation, preservation, use and promotion of the archives here is absolutely crucial.

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