Pleasley Vale Mills History

Pleasley Vale Mills

Pleasley Vale Mills renowned for their haunting atmosphere, surrounded by ancient woodland and steeped in history, local legends, and folklore were formally the thriving Coates Viyella factory.

Pleasley Vale Mills History

It was William Hollins and four other established businessmen who decided that Pleasley Vale was a good place for a cotton mill. The textile industry was not yet established but the partnership knew that the industry was about to grow. The Vale was rich in resources, stone, timber, and water and the river had already been dammed. There was a water wheel in place which was used to drive the bellows and steam hammer. Pleasley Vale had its own microclimate with constant humidity which was required to spin the cotton.

The grounds were excavated by the eighteenth-century archaeologist Hayman Rooke in 1786 and Roman coins were found at Stuffyn Wood Farm which belonged to the Pleasley estate. In 1962 during the development of a garage to the rear of Pleasley house, a cave was exposed, and inside were the bones of woolly rhinoceros and mammoth and other evidence of a prehistoric tribe. There has also been evidence of a Viking settlement in nearby Mansfield.

Many people who once worked at the Mills have attended the Rupert Mole tours and through their experiences they recounted, Rupert Mole has pieced together a profile of the fair but firm working conditions that were present under William Hollins’ employment. He built a Village store, school, mechanics institute, reform church, and a bath house for the employees of the Cotton Mills.

75 years ago, William Hollins the third sold Viyella to Coates to form Coates-Viyella. 25 years ago Mansfield District Council acquired the old railway track which now forms the Meden Trail.

Coates Viyella closed in 1987 and the mills fell into decline. The District of Bolsover (Council) declared the vale a conservation area. The Mills are now owned by the Bolsover District Council and are the home of many thriving businesses.

There is a rich and strong vein of history at Pleasley Mills, but there is much more to discover. The tours explore in depth the amazing history of this area. Attending one of these at Pleasley Vale Mills will certainly provide a factual, entertaining, and enlightening experience

First Broadcast: 23rd November 2004

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