Our visit to Gigg Mill

On 28th September, we visited Gigg Mill in Nailsworth as part of our topic – Industry: work, rest and play in and around Avening. We visited the Black Country Museum last week and it was really interesting to learn about the industry in that area around the Victorian era. However, we wanted to know a bit more about the industry in our local area back then, so a visit to a mill was an obvious choice!

Instead of going by coach, I decided (much to the delight of the Owls!) that it would be really useful to walk to the mill. This allowed us to really get an insight into how it would’ve felt and what it would’ve been like for the adults (and children!) having to walk to work during the Victorian era. We all had coats and wellies to make sure we didn’t get wet or too muddy. This was a bit of a luxury though, as we know that people wouldn’t have had this kind of protective clothing during the Victoria era! Here are a few pictures of our journey:

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When we arrived (and after we’d had a rest!), we were shown into the mill where there was a variety of machinery – both wooden and metal. Robin and Jane, our Stroud Textile Trust volunteers, showed us 2 of the main jobs workers would’ve done in the Victorian era: spinning and weaving.


First we were shown a basic wooden loom and we were allowed to have a go on it. Some children were moving the levers, some were ‘passing the baton’ and one was ‘beating’. The others in the group would shout the numbers needed for the pattern and the children would get to work on the process.

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First we were shown how the wool would have been sheared off in the Victorian era – it wasn’t anywhere near as quick or as easy as the electric clipped we have today! We then looked at how the wool would be brushed to become straight fibres ready to spin. The process is called carding and it was great for getting rid of knots! We then had a go at hand-spinning a piece of wool. Some of us were better than others! Then we moved on to wooden spindles, which would work by sending the spin up through the wool and ended up with the wool being tightly spun. Finally, we all had a go on the spinning wheel, the next development in wool spinning. This was tricky to get the hang of, but much easier and quicker than a spindle.

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Finally, we had a look at some of the developments made in weaving during the industrial revolution. We first looks at a larger wooden loom, this time with a shuttle taking the weft back and forth instead of a person (much cheaper!). Then we looked at the power loom – a huge metal loom! It was about 10 times faster than the previous loom and very noisy! We learnt that the workers would’ve had to lip read and even went deaf due to the noise level! This one was powered by electricity, but we learnt that it would’ve originally been powered by water or steam.

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We had a really interesting trip and learnt lots about our local industry!


One Response to “Our visit to Gigg Mill”

  1. Mrs Rushton Says:

    You have obviously had another brilliant trip today. I am now looking forward to seeing how you demonstrate your learning in your topic work back at school!

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