The rain came and went last night, but the wind stayed with us all night and has continued to blow for much of today. With a disturbed nights sleep and myself not feeling too well today, we haven’t ventured very far.
For much of the day I have continued with Mick’s Christmas present, all the individual elements are now ready to be sewn together, ends sewn in and then finished off. He still doesn’t know what it is! I’ve also had a go at knitting with double ended needles, but this needs more concentration than I could muster today. Then I had a go with a circular needle that Bridget had leant me, this was fiddly, not being able to tuck needles under my arms, but the circular bit was too long for what I wanted. So I’ll see if I can get hold of a shorter needle and see if that helps.
This afternoon we went for a little wander along the canal back the way we’d come into Lancaster. Almost straight away a building caught my eye. What is now White Cross Business Park was built in 1856 by the brothers William, Thomas, Edward and Joseph Storey. Sir Thomas Storey was knighted in 1898 and was the first Honorary Freeman of Lancaster, he was mayor four times. Storeys was founded in 1848, they produced oil cloth and table baize. By the end of the 19th Century they were one of the towns largest employers. In 1945 they started to produce PVC, becoming Europe’s leading manufacturer. They were bought out in 1977 and by 1982 the company had made huge losses resulting in the closure of White Cross Mill after 126 years on the 15 acre site which had boasted 2,200 employees in the 70’s. The site was bought by the County Council who spent fifteen years renovating it into industrial and office units.
Thomas Storey had interests in education and the social life of Lancaster. He helped extend the Mechanics Institute between 1887 and 1891 in commemoration of the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The Institute was rebuilt and then donated to the city as a technical and science school, newsroom, library, art school and gallery, it later became the Storey Institute and Museum. He wanted to give younger generations a better chance than their fathers had, so it was appropriate that his country estate later became the site of Lancaster University.
Thomas’s brother William had an interest in ship building. In 1862 he became a director of the Lune Ship Building Company, which had been formed by H.J Wilson of the White Star group.
Herbert, the oldest son of Thomas was born in 1853. He became the chairman of the Storey Company in 1913 and spent six years in the position. He continued where his father left off, donating more money to the Institute. But one of the major projects that benefited from Herbert’s generosity was the Westfield Memorial Village. Built as a memorial to the fallen from WW1 Herbert donated the estate of Westfield (sixteen acres) as a site for the development. By 1955, 78 houses and six flats had been built, the benefactors were those who’d been maimed and disabled by the war. There was a workshop so that those disabled could receive training and employment.