The late 19th century was when hat wearing was most popular in the UK . Men, women and children were not considered properly dressed unless they were wearing a hat of some description and that was when hat manufacture was at its peak. Stockport’s hatting industry was the biggest in the country at that time and felt hat-making started to grow and expand and develop in the Stockport area from the 17th century.
Wellington Mill, was built in 1828 by leading Manufacturer Thomas Marsland to mechanise and develop the growing cotton industry in Stockport and the Ward Brother and their hat making business occupied part of the same building from the 1890s to the 1930s.
Wellington Mill was just one of the very first fire-proofed mills, this aspect made it very expensive to build and it was only an option for the richest of factory or mill owners. The risk of fire was very high in those days but fire proofing was prohibitively expensive for most mill owners. Wellington mill was built with cast iron columns and block vaults, filled with sand. The ceiling tooth cavities were additionally full of sand. This ensured that even if a fire started in the factories it could not spread easily. 2 rows of 14 cast iron columns are on each floor of the mill as well as cast iron roof covering trusses, which are very rare. 7 stories high, Wellington Mill is just one of the tallest mills in Stockport. The 200 foot chimney , which is a well-known Stockport landmark, was added in 1860.
The expense of building the Wellington Mill is probably the reason it still stands today.
The hat making business was unfortunately deadly for many of its employees. And the expression ‘Mad Hatter ‘ or mad as a hatter arose because of this. A chemical called mercuric nitrate was used to bind the felt fibers to make the fabric suitable for hat making and the workers as well as many hatters were poisoned by the mercury in this chemical. Hat makers using the fabric which contained mercury traces were gradually poisoned. There was gradual mental deterioration leading in most cases to death . Because so many individuals operating in the hatting market were affected it led to the expression mad as a hatter.
more articles here >>
Our home page link Here >>