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A panoramic photo of Atkins Building gallery space
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Then and Now - Atkins Building

A photographic exhibition documenting the journey from Victorian Hosiery Factory to the mixed use creative and business centre it is today. The focus of the exhibition will be the building's transformation from working factory to derelict industrial site to the modern mixed use it has today.

This exhibition is part of Heritage Open Days 2020 and also celebrates Atkins Building 10th Birthday as a business and creative hub. 

The images in this exhibition were kindly provided by Hinckley & District Museum, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council,Hinckley Times and participants in the Atkins Building's project Fully Fashioned Memories 

Featured Artworks
A photo of 'Atkins Building, Lower Bond Street façade ' by Hinckley & District Museum

Atkins Building, Lower Bond Street façade

By Hinckley & District Museum

The Atkins factory is thought to be the oldest surviving knitting firm in the world and the origins of the Atkins Firm can be traced back to 1722 with Robert Atkins (1702-1768) son of a yeoman farmer from Newbold-on-Avon.

A photo of 'Atkins Factory interior, unknown date' by Hinckley & District Museum

Atkins Factory interior, unknown date

By Hinckley & District Museum

Robert was apprenticed to a Brother of the Framework Knitters of London and after finishing his apprenticeship moved to Hinckley to manufacture hosiery under his own name. In 1740 Robert was joined by his nephew also named Robert, together they would have taken on apprentices, purchased raw materials and sold the finished products.

A photo of 'Atkins Building façade, Upper Bond Street view' by Hinckley & District Museum

Atkins Building façade, Upper Bond Street view

By Hinckley & District Museum

The five Atkins brothers John, Thomas, George, Hugh, Arthur and their mother Elizabeth Atkins shaped the building we see today. The factory was built in two stages with the original L shaped block built between 1875 and 1877 designed by the Architects Goddard and Paget of Leicester.

A photo of '1911 Advert' by Hinckley & District Museum

1911 Advert

By Hinckley & District Museum

In 1910 the second stage was completed with another floor added to the building

A photo of 'Circular Knit room c1949' by Hinckley & District Museum

Circular Knit room c1949

By Hinckley & District Museum

The final accounts “for the erection of new warehouses and premises” are at Hinckley and District Museum dated 20th July 1877 and the building contractors were John and William Harold of Hinckley at a final cost of £4837!

A photo of 'Reading Machines, a type of knitting machine in use at Atkins factory' by Hinckley & District Museum

Reading Machines, a type of knitting machine in use at Atkins factory

By Hinckley & District Museum
A photo of 'Dye house, unknown year' by Hinckley & District Museum

Dye house, unknown year

By Hinckley & District Museum
A photo of 'Dispatch room c1957' by Hinckley & District Museum

Dispatch room c1957

By Hinckley & District Museum

In 1950 Atkins became a Public Limited company and created another of it's successful brand name of the day “Lucky Charm “stockings.

A photo of 'Yarn Store, unknown year' by Hinckley & District Museum

Yarn Store, unknown year

By Hinckley & District Museum
A photo of 'Fully Fashioned Heeling machines' by Hinckley & District Museum

Fully Fashioned Heeling machines

By Hinckley & District Museum

Employees working the fine gauge on fully fashioned heeling machines

A photo of 'Atkins Factory Employee Car Park' by Brian Simpson via the Fully Fashioned Memories Project

Atkins Factory Employee Car Park

By Brian Simpson via the Fully Fashioned Memories Project

In 1953 Atkins factory had over 1,250 employees and created the car park opposite to accommodate the increasing amount cars used by the firm and its employees.

A photo of 'View of Atkins factory from Hinckley Great Meeting Chapel ' by Hinckley & District Museum

View of Atkins factory from Hinckley Great Meeting Chapel

By Hinckley & District Museum

In the 1960s and 1970s saw an impressive display of industrial expansion by the Atkins Family, this was aided by the opening of the M69 motorway in 1979.

A photo of 'Atkins Factory entrance in 1972 ' by Hinckley & District Museum

Atkins Factory entrance in 1972

By Hinckley & District Museum

Atkins factory's success was further bolstered when Princess Margaret opened the 1972 warehouse and office extension.

A photo of 'Atkins Factory 1972' by Hinckley & District Museum

Atkins Factory 1972

By Hinckley & District Museum

Atkins factory employees gathering for the Royal Visit

A photo of 'Royal Visit at Atkins factory 1972' by Hinckley & District Museum

Royal Visit at Atkins factory 1972

By Hinckley & District Museum

Left to Right Mr G Tamsey, Mrs D Emery, Mr D Styles, Princess Margaret and Mr J S Atkins presenting a gift of stockings to the Royal visitor

A photo of 'Computer assisted circular hose machine' by Hinckley & District Museum

Computer assisted circular hose machine

By Hinckley & District Museum

In the 1980 and 1990s new machinery and technology was utilised in the manufacturing of stockings, tights and other garments

A photo of 'New manufacture process infrastructure being installed at Atkins factory ' by Hinckley & District Museum

New manufacture process infrastructure being installed at Atkins factory

By Hinckley & District Museum

25,000 gallon tank installation in June 1986

A photo of 'A spectrophotometer used for hosiery colour matching' by James Atkins via the Fully Fashioned Memories Project

A spectrophotometer used for hosiery colour matching

By James Atkins via the Fully Fashioned Memories Project

James Atkins colour matching in 1994

A photo of 'Dyehouse Office 1994' by James Atkins via the Fully Fashioned Memories Project

Dyehouse Office 1994

By James Atkins via the Fully Fashioned Memories Project

James Atkins working in the dye house office

A photo of 'Last day sweep up' by Lillian Mills via the Fully Fashioned Memories Project

Last day sweep up

By Lillian Mills via the Fully Fashioned Memories Project

In 1995 the final Managing Director of the Atkins family Tom Atkins retired

A photo of 'Last Day Cake' by Sue Aston via the Fully Fashioned Memories Project

Last Day Cake

By Sue Aston via the Fully Fashioned Memories Project

Atkins factory passed into the ownership of Coats Viyella who continued to manufacture until 2002.

A photo of 'Atkins Factory site in June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins Factory site in June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council purchased the site in 2008 and began the refurbishment.

A photo of 'Atkins Factory site in June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins Factory site in June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Even though manufacture had only stopped six years ago, large parts of the site had been unused for a lot longer.

A photo of 'Press clipping from June 2008' by Hinckley Times (newspaper)

Press clipping from June 2008

By Hinckley Times (newspaper)

The refurbishment of the Atkins Factory site was a joint project between Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council and NWHC now known as North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC)

A photo of 'Atkins Factory site in June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins Factory site in June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

The various factory extensions were demolished but the Victorian factory was retained and restored.

A photo of 'Atkins Factory site in June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins Factory site in June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Factory extensions being demolished

A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory interior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory interior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory exterior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory exterior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins factory exterior June 2008' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins factory exterior June 2008

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins Building - Open Day' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins Building - Open Day

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins Building opened on 28 September 2010 and is now mixed use business and creative centre with serviced offices, studios, meeting rooms and Atkins Gallery. The refurbished Atkins Building is celebrating it's 10th birthday in 2020!

A photo of 'Atkins Building today' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins Building today

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

View of Atkins Building from rear courtyard.

A photo of 'Atkins Building today' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins Building today

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Original factory goods in entrance now a entrance for building users

A photo of 'Atkins Building today' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins Building today

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
A photo of 'Atkins Building today' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins Building today

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

The factory paint was removed from the brick work and restored to their original condition.

A photo of 'Atkins Building today' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins Building today

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

One of the offices at Atkins Building used by the local business community

A photo of 'Atkins Building roof and internal rafters' by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Atkins Building roof and internal rafters

By Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

The original wooden rafters and beams also had the factory paint removed and restored to their original condition.

A photo of 'Thank you!' by Heritage Open Days

Thank you!

By Heritage Open Days

Thank you for viewing this online exhibition part of Heritage Open Days 2020 Visit https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting to find other Heritage Open Days events

  • © 2020 Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council