Last updated 04/05/2004
Prior to 1905 Leek’s drinkers could sample
"King's Gold Medal Ales" at the Globe Inn, part of an old, two storey,
stone house which once stood on the West side of St. Edward's Street just below
the junction with the Sheep Market. The inn (number 24) was sited between a
grocer's shop and what was, in 1892, the shop of Thomas Shallcross. Access to
the yard behind the Globe was via the old carriage entrance a little further
down St. Edward Street.
The Globe's life was relatively short
as inns go for when it was demolished at the turn of this century it had been an
inn for only about 75 years. Prior to that time, it had been the home a
succession of Leek silkmen. At the rear of the inn stood a building, described
in 1891 as a warehouse, which had been used as a shade or a silk mill for more
than 100 years. In 1905/6, " the Globe Inn and Globe Yard were swept
away to make room for High Street"  or so it was thought.
Figure 1 The Globe
Inn, Leek about 1900
Whilst researching the history of a
Leek silk firm the author noticed similarities in the buildings shown on 19th
century and modern maps of Leek in the area where the former Globe Inn is said
to have stood. A visit to the area suggested that the site in question had not
been completely cleared when High Street was created. Further research revealed
that behind the mock Tudor and green tile facade of the travel agent's shop at
number 7 High Street stand the remains of the building which once stood in the
yard of the Globe Inn. This article outlines the history of this site and of the
"shade in the Globe Yard".
the building in the Globe Yard was sometimes called a shade it was also often
described as a workshop or silk factory. It is, therefore, necessary to
distinguish between these two types of premises before considering the history
of the site. It should, however, be noted that this distinction is
perhaps only applicable in the Leek-Macclesfield area since elsewhere the word
shade is often synonymous with workshop, e.g. in cotton mills weaving was often
carried out in single story "weaving sheds".
the context of this paper, the term silk factory is perhaps, better known and
more easily defined than that of the shade. At its simplest the term describes a
building or buildings where silk goods, cloth, shawls, handkerchiefs, narrow
wares etc. are manufactured. The processes carried out would, generally, include
weaving and/or braiding. Such factories might also include a shade in situations
where a manufacturer was carrying out all the processes needed to produce
finished goods from the raw materials on one site. Even in the 18th
century, such factories would generally have been industrial establishments
operated by partnerships as proper manufacturing companies in the modern sense
of the word.
(or sheds) were, generally, places where the specific preparatory operations of
twisting and or throwing of silk and /or other fibres such as mohair, were
carried out. These operations are the silk industry's equivalent of cotton
spinning. Twisting is used for
threads which needed some but not high strength such as weaver's weft and
involves the twisting of the thread (or two or three threads laid together, i.e.
doubled) upon itself. Throwing is
the process used to make the stronger threads required for the weaver's warp
which forms the length of a woven piece. Thrown silk consists of two or more
threads that are first separately twisted in one direction and then twisted
together in the opposite direction. The tightness of the twist and the number of
threads twisted together depends on the purpose for which the thread is required
. Shades can thus be viewed as the silk industry equivalent of the
cotton-spinning mill. In contrast to silk factories many of Leek’s early
shades were small one man semi-domestic businesses carried on either in the
homes of the individuals concerned or (later) in rented workrooms e.g. one or
more floors of a multi-storey mill.
part of researches into the Badnall family of Leek, the author attempted to
locate property that this family’s silk firm had once owned. One such property was the silk factory in the Globe Inn yard.
In a document drawn up when Messrs Badnall and Fynney dissolved their
partnership in 1808, the workshop behind what was then Badnall’s house on
Spout Street was described as "a new building where the barn used to
be" but how new it then was is uncertain. The brick and tile building
comprised three storeys above a ground floor, basement and "capacious
cellaring". Strictly speaking, it was not, then, a "shade"
but a "silk warehouse and factory"[3 ] .
regards the interior, there was (in 1827) a "taking in room" on
the ground floor where silk and other goods were weighed in and next to this
the counting house (or accounts office) containing a magnificent, 84
drawer, mahogany counter some 17 feet 6 inches long.
Part of the ground floor was used for manufacturing processes for it
contained a silk room and a further room where the silk received its final
gloss. The manager’s office and the warehouse, with its stock of coloured
silks, galloons, Petersham, lace, sewing silk, ribbons, silk buttons and thread
occupied the floor above. Weaving was carried out on the third floor for it was
there that handkerchief looms and the ribbon or "Dutch" looms,
on which Badnall, Spilsbury & Cruso’s "everlasting ribbons,
galloons and ferretts" were woven, were installed.
The rooms on the top (attic) floor were described as "lumber
rooms" . The buildings,
valued at £900 when assessed for fire insurance purposes in 1816, were much
less valuable than the stock and machinery which were insured for £3000 in 1809
first built, access to the shade was either via a carriage entrance from St. Edward Street or via a gate from
the back yard into a lane running towards Field House and the Friends Meeting
House on Overton Bank. The carriage entrance gave into a large paved yard within
which were sited (in 1827)" a brewhouse, a poultry house, coach house
with harness room over, coal pen, piggeries and a three stall stable with loft
over". To the West and probably south west of the shade or silk factory
there was a large walled garden "well stocked with fruit trees"
which seems to have been converted into a bowling green by 1833 .
task of locating the site of the former Badnall property was relatively easy.
The deed of conveyance drawn up between Robert, William Henry and Miss Mary
Gaunt and Mr Richard Turnock of Leek, surgeon, in 1869  describes the
property conveyed as “ all that large building or silk factory lately used
as a warehouse and workshop situate in a yard leading out
Figure 2 Badnall property sold in 1827 including the Spout Street silk
of Spout Street called the Globe Yard .......which silk factory
was formerly in the occupation of Messrs Badnall, Spilsbury and Cruso..” and thus clearly identifies it on the
Leek 1838" published in volume 2 of M.H.Miller's “Olde Leeke” in
1900. Examination of the latter
clearly shows a large building lying behind the Globe Inn with its main axis
parallel to what was is now St. Edwards Street . Further confirmation is provided by the plan attached to the sales
catalogue issued when the Badnall property was sold in 1827 (see Figure 2).
This then was the building described as “the shade in the Globe Yard”
in an indenture of 1828  which was occupied by John Ball, silk twister, in
outlines of the shade or silk factory are very clearly delineated on the second
edition 25" Ordinance Survey map of 1889 or better still, on the 1:500 map
of 1879 -see Figure 3. Comparison of these with the outlines of buildings shown
at the intersection of High Street with the Sheep Market and St. Edwards Street
on a modern map (Figure 5) suggested that Number 7 High Street stands where the
shade in the Globe Yard stood.
Figure 3 View of the
Globe Inn site in the Sheep Market, Leek (1870s)
To confirm that a major portion of the silk factory had survived, the author visited Leek and examined the building for evidence as to its age and origins. No detailed measurements were made but the basement of the building was inspected. Figure 4 shows the existing building.