Baily’s Tannery and Glove Factory, Glastonbury
To conserve, reuse and regenerate these historic industrial buildings for the benefit of the local community, in the process creating a catalyst to stimulate growth and employment by the provision of workshops and studio spaces, and to provide a learning and display facility for visitors and local residents alike.
The two Baily’s Factories were granted to BIRT by the South West Regional Development Agency in July 2011 after many years of negotiations. Along with the buildings came a responsibility to clean and re-model the millstream under the supervision of the Environment Agency, which is now completed. During these operations the opportunity was taken to install corrugated steel shoring to consolidate the foundations of the building.
The roof has been waterproofed, parts of the building have been supported by scaffolding, access doorways have been blocked and the building has been mothballed while BIRT consult with their partners towards the production of a business plan to present to potential funders.
Baily’s – a 19th century tannery, sheepskin, rug and glove manufactory – developed in the 20th century into the making of sporting goods; Henry Cooper, Mohammad Ali and Floyd Patterson wore Baily’s gloves made in Glastonbury.[i] [ii] Baily’s factories (listed Grade II) dominate Beckery Island, the industrial site of Glastonbury for over 1,000 years, which lies on the southern approach to Glastonbury’s medieval market, abbey and High Street. This industrial zone was also until recently occupied by the Morland sheepskin factory, most of whose buildings have now been demolished. Northover Mill (listed Grade II), which was Glastonbury Abbey’s fulling mill has been renovated by the Trust. The chimney showing on our logo is part of Baily’s East factory.
Since closure in the 1980s, the factories have been abandoned, slipping into dereliction and contributing to Somerset’s worst eyesore. After losing some 2,000 skilled jobs, Glastonbury has declined from prosperity into deprivation. BIRT’s mission is to reverse this trend.
Architecton, have presented plans for renovations of Baily’s with adaptations for modern use, and commissioned quantity surveyors Press and Starkey to produce costings for both buildings. They estimate that full renovation will cost just under £5,000,000. It is anticipated that the project will be carried out in 2 or 3 phases with the first phase costing up to £2,500,000 to complete.
Funding and support
Glastonbury Town Council supports BIRT through the provision of meeting space, hospitality for guests and office and secretarial facilities. BIRT has enjoyed participation and support from a wide variety of local societies and individuals too numerous to list. Somerset County Council Market Towns Regeneration Fund provided a grant of £10,000 towards re-roofing Northover Mill. The county council also supports our heritage and learning objectives through guidance and direction in applications for grants. The Architectural Heritage Fund has provided support for the creation of the business plan for Northover Mill and the Bailey’s Factories and the Heritage Lottery Fund supported the drawing up of feasibility studies by Architecton. The Somerset Levels and Moors Local Action for Rural Communities provided grants for renovation of Northover Mill. We have also had funding from anonymous private donors.
BIRT was founded in 2005 with the guidance and support of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, specifically to acquire and manage the heritage buildings on the Morland site. The membership is drawn from participants in a series of public and private meetings held since 2000.
Northover Mill is now being offered for rent as a commercial property, and we have a prospective industrial tenant for Bailey’s East, once it has been renovated.
will provide 305.8 m/sq of residential space for a caretaker and student accommodation, 1,500 m/sq. of employment space and 138 m/sq. of heritage space, for which there is a demonstrable demand. A basic business plan suggests rental income of £126,537 pa. An integral aspect of the employment space will be a business nursery, designed to nurture new businesses through mutual support, shared access to office infrastructure and personnel, and guidance and support from external business experts with expertise in various different fields.
Beckery Island Regeneration Trust (BIRT)
A not-for-profit company (Charity No. No 5518679)
Objective The Beckery Island Regeneration Trust look forward to a vibrant, sustainable economy in Glastonbury based upon a wide range of jobs – skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled – offered by business of various types – traditional and innovatory; small and large; manufacturing and service-based – housed in historic buildings in communal ownership run for the benefit of the local community.
An application is being drawn up for a grant to fund a project called ‘Sharing Heritage’, sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This project is intended to draw together information from all available sources to write the story of the Bailey’s Tanneries and Glove Factories. Everybody who worked at Bailey’s will be able to record their memories of the industry and an archive of photos, documents, tools and equipment and products will be collected to store and display in the in-house museum and visitor centre.
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