Enderley Mills – Newcastle-under-Lyme

The exterior of Enderley Mills, c.1950s

Facility Type & Function:

A privately operated manufacturing works specialising in the production of military uniforms.

Brief History:

Enderley Mills were established by Richard Stanway in 1881 on Liverpool Road in Newcastle-under-Lyme. It was contracted by the British Government for the supply of army uniforms.

At the time of their erection the Mills were a “state of the art” facility with both high operating and safety standards being put in place. In recognition of this, and other progressive attributes as noted below, the Mills won the approval of Government Inspectors as being a model factory. No doubt this further helped them in the award of additional uniform supply contracts for the British Army.

Like most other works of the time the Mills’ machinery and banks of sewing machines were run off central drive shafts using a meriad of drive belts. However, unlike many other similar mills, the latter were all “boxed in” making for a much safer working enviroment for the Mills’ employees.

It appears that garments were produced using an early form of production line with partly finished products from one area being collected and then pushed by girls on a tramway carriages to the next phase of production.  As a final production stage each set of garments were sent to “finishers” for final completion of their details before being passed to an “old soldier” who had been purposely trained at the Government’s Clothing Factory in Pimlico, London. He acted as a final product quality control inspector before passing each garment as being fit for dispatch into the work’s stores.

Under Richard Stanway the Mills employed approximately 700 staff. Most of these were women. They were paid on “piece-work” rates. During the early 1880s the Mills’ employees typically earned from 15 to 20 shillings a week, depending on their skill levels and individual productivity.

Workers making military uniforms at Enderley Mills, 1916

As a testimony to Richard Stanway’s progressive thinking and care for his work force he furnished his Mills’ with a staff canteen capable of seating 300 workers which provided excellent meals at cost price. Additionally each worker paid a penny per week for the provision of a works’ doctor and medical surgery. The Mills also offered its employees a savings bank and reading room.  In 1883 the works even opened a creche run by a matron. Here female employees could leave their children while at work for the nominal sum of a shilling per week. This facility comprised a “cot room”, for babies, and a play room for older pre-school children. The babies cribs were connected to the Mills’ central drive shaft system from which specialised machinery gently rocked each one of them.

An aerial view of Enderley Mills, 1947

In 1883 there were plans by a group of British Army officers to register Enderley Mills as a public limited company with Richard Stanway as its managing director. However, nothing came of the project owing to Stanway’s bankruptcy in 1884. Therafter, the business was acquired by John Hammond & Company of Manchester. The Mills provided British military uniforms during both World Wars and in the post war period greatly expanded their product range by additionally making uniforms for police forces and fire brigades for both the British and overseas governments.

Decorations inside Enderley Mills to celebrate the end of the Great War, November 1918

Enderley Mills finally closed in 2000 and shortly afterwords the site was cleared for a modern housing development.

Location Details:

Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire

Associated Token, Check & Pass Issues:

Type I

Function:  Unknown (Note 1)

Material: Brass

Design: Bi-facial with a milled edge and pierced for suspension.

Shape & Size: Circular,  29.4 mm

Obverse: Raised legend around outer edge reads * ENDERLEY MILLS * NEWCASTLE STAFF within an outer raised border. In the centre field the ornate and intertwined initials RS .

Reverse:  A laurel wreath with a Staffordshire knot located in its open upper terminals. In the centre field the incusely stamped identification number 387 .

Date: 1881 to 1884 (Note 2)

Maker: Unknown

Published References:  None.


Notes:

  1. Possibly a worker’s time registration or pay identification check.
  2.  The central initials “RS” on the obverse of this check are an obvious reference to Richard Stanway who owned Enderley Mills between 1881 and 1884. It is possible that the use of these checks continued under the the Mills’s later owners, i.e.  John Hammond & Company.

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