The Ongoing Tale of Donisthorpe Mill, Leicester

Back in August, I wrote a blog post about one thing I had learnt from the Manufacturing Pasts project so far: that if we don’t capture history now, we will lose it. One thing I was referring to was the number of older manufacturing buildings which are lost due to wear and tear, having fallen into disuse, or even fire. My blog post referred to Leicester’s Donisthorpe Mill building.

I would also define ‘capturing history now’ as necessarily capturing it digitally. I would go so far as to say that unless our capture is born digital, or is immediately digitised, its impact will be so limited as to be almost worthless. Hence, it is worthwhile to digitise existing archives, as we are doing in Manufacturing Pasts, as well as creating new archives that are ‘born digital’. Perhaps there are archivists and historians who will disagree with me; if so, please leave a comment as I would like to hear an opposing view.

The Donisthorpe Mill on Bath Lane suffered a fire on 23rd July 2012. But just recently, the building was purchased by Leicester City Council in a bid to preserve it. You can read the article here.

One of our artefacts in MyLeicestershire History is a collage of 5 articles from the Leicester Mercury about Donisthorpe Mill. Below is a snippet of one of these articles.

From Leicester Mercury, 1971. Now available on MyLeicestershire History http://myleicestershire.org.uk

Donisthorpe and Company was founded in 1739. But in 1220 there had been an monestary sited on that spot, belonging to the Black Friars of the Order of St Dominic, explaining why the building is often referred to as Friars Mills.

Another article available in MyLeicestershire History informs that Donisthorpe and Company moved to a new location in Braunstone, Leicester, in 1983. I am assuming the building was not properly used since then. If I am wrong about this and you have more facts, please leave a comment!

Donisthorpe Mill, October 2009. Photo by Colin Hyde.

I’m sure I am not alone in saying I look forward with interest to see what the future holds for this significant historical building in Leicester.

Terese Bird, Learning Technologist, University of Leicester

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One Response

  1. i worked here for about a year between 1985 and 1986.i have great memories of the place but on night shift the place was very spooky and many people over the years including me had “experiences”..so sad to see the place gone..made alot of friends there too

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