Blue Plaque is Unveiled at Leeds Marshall’s Mill to Honour City’s Pioneering Industrialist John Marshall
A blue plaque honouring the work of pioneering mill owner John Marshall has been unveiled today (Monday 10 September 2018) at the site of his achievements, Marshall’s Mill.
The Mill, which is the largest building on the Round Foundry Estate situated in Holbeck on Leeds’s buzzing South Bank is now home to a new generation of creative and digital innovators.
The Civic Trust plaque, marking Marshall’s contributions to the city’s textile industry, was officially unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Graham Latty, along with Martin Hamilton from the Civic Trust and Steve Hunter of Marshall’s Mill estate management team, Workman LLP.
Steve, who has managed the Marshall’s Mill and Round Foundry estate for 13 years, has been part of the Grade II listed building’s transformation into one of the most cutting-edge work spaces in the city.
Instrumental in gathering the information needed by the Civic Trust to consider the Mill for one of its prestigious plaques, he said he was delighted that the Mill had been honoured.
“It is such a magnificent building which has been the home of invention for centuries and deserves its place in history.
“But this isn’t a building stuck in the past, which is what makes it even more special. Like the rest of the Mill and Round Foundry Estate it carries its legacy forward and is now a home for 21st century innovators. Entrepreneurs who will leave their mark on the both the future the way John Marshall did during his time.”
While the plaque is on the Mill building itself, the Round Foundry Estate is all linked with John Marshall’s work.
“His success was also down in part to the invention of his employee, Matthew Murray,” Steve explained.
“It was Murray’s own design for a flax spinning machine which helped Marshall’s business grow. In 1790 his linen manufacturing business moved from its small premises in Adel, North Leeds to this purpose built mill.”
The Round Foundry was set up by Marshall as a new assembly workshop for his hugely successful steam engine, the Boulton and Watt and thanks to the quirky design of Murray’s work the area is full of character with the seven listed buildings now housing businesses including Arts Council England, Robot Food brand design agency, True North TV and Welcome to Yorkshire.
Reimagining the Mill space, it was extensively refurbished in 2001 with further refurbishment in 2011 and 2012 to create a clean, contemporary workspace. But as with the whole site, great care has been taken to preserve the architectural integrity of the site and a footprint of its former life.
And it is a fitting tribute to its founding father that the site is still at the forefront of new enterprise. A man who broke barriers, during the industrial revolution Marshall forbade corporal punishment by overseers and introduced free education for the children of his Mill workers, unheard of at the time.
In his latter days, the industrialist swapped mills for the House of Commons representing Yorkshire from 1826-1830 before giving up the seat for health reasons.
“Leeds is a city built on industry and the talent and skill of its workforce. Marshall’s Mill perfectly encapsulates all that rich history, with John Marshall as the inventive and entrepreneurial driving force and the skilled flax mill workers coming together to enhance the reputation of Leeds as a place of innovation and quality. And this fantastic building is continuing that legacy today with skilled entrepreneurs in the growing creative and digital sectors strengthening that reputation.
“We were delighted that the Lord Mayor could join us in unveiling this plaque and to Marshall’s Mill for their generous sponsorship.”