Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Mills 2

Back in the industrial wasteland, north of Leicester city centre, there is the huge Corah Factory. Nathanial Corah started his hosiery business in the 19th century and took advantage of government contracts to expand the business. Corah provided knitted goods for soldiers in both world wars. It was the first firm to contract with Marks & Spencer in the 1920s to provide knitwear. At its heyday in 1969, Corah employed almost seven thousand workers. The main factory was close to St Margaret’s church and an image of the church became Corah’s registered trademark.

The building is partially dilapidated, but small companies still occupy units in the complex.

Self storage units and fe home furniture (?) still occupy some parts of the Corah building.

In this part of the city you can find Watling Street. This is not the historic Roman road between Dover and Wroxeter, passing over the River Thames at London, and forming the county border between Warwickshire and Leicestershire; it leads to Abbey Footbridge over the Grand Union Canal.

The view north from the crossroads of Friday Street and Watling Street
Factory chimneys on the banks of the Grand Union Canal
The ladder, bottom left, is partly submerged in the water of the Grand Union Canal. Perhaps this is an emergency escape route from the metal door, top right, via the iron stairs.
On Frog Island, there is a white door, with a central knob and a notice to beware of the dog. There is a stained glass light above the knocker.
Further down the street, there is Slater Primary School. The gothic arches bring to mind the factory on Canning Place (see last week’s TDs). The fanlights of two small circles and a larger circle enclosing a Star of David are interesting. I have no idea why one door is scarlet, the other grey.
The Farben Works on Slater Street dates from 1914, housed a worsted spinning and dyeing company. The derelict site to the left is now rough ground used as a car park, but in 1867 a factory in the Italianate style stood here. Attempts to preserve the building failed when it burned down in 2005.
Boarded up Farben Works
Stayfree Music has taken over this factory. The doors are black and dull.
The River Soar joins the Grand Union Canal by Echo. According to Ovid, Echo was a nymph who fell in love with Narcissus, who, in turn, fell in love with his reflection.
This door is concealed by the mural of a fox in the forest. Leicester City Football Club is called the Foxes and there is a tradition of foxhunting in the shire.

By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.

7 replies on “Thursday Doors Mills 2”

Many years ago, when my children were young, I did a canal trip along the Grand Union Canal. It was one of our most memorable family holidays. The weather was warm, the waterside pubs a treat and the children enjoyed helping to steer the boat. My job was to open and close the lock gates – I was very fit and brown by the end of the week. We went through the industrial area of Birmingham, and waved to the factory workers enjoying their lunch or a smoke break on the banks of the canal. The trip was England at its best.


What a wonderful tour. I love old mill buildings and canals. Your photos are a treat, especially the reflections and the ones near the water. I really like the smokestack but my favorite is the one at the top showing the brick detail. I love the almost duplicate pattern at the top of the columns between the windows. Thanks gif sharing the photos and history with us for Thursday Doors.


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