Midland Mills was built in 1793 by John Jubb as a flax mill and was later to become one of the most influential machinery works in the textile industry.
Midland Mills: Past
John Jubb built his mill in 1793 and sold his business and his mill in the early 1800′s. Taking advantage of the flax mills springing up in the area the new owner diversified into the manufacture of textile machinery and began supplying to both local and national mills including the famous mills of Leeds entrepreneur Benjamin Gott.
The company changed hands again a few years later when the owners moved to premises on Meadow Lane selling the Midland Mills site to the Drabble brothers who were in the employment of John Marshall at the same time as Matthew Murray. The Drabble brothers continued to manufacture textile machinery and also patented designs for cart axles until a fued between the two brothers saw the firm declared bankrupt in 1812. Taylor and Wordsworth, two employees of the Drabble brothers, bought the site in 1812 and established Taylor, Wordsworth & Co.
By the early 1850′s both Taylor and Wordsworth had passed away but the company continued to trade under the same name and the management of Whiteheld. It was Whiteheld who worked tirelessly to manufacture the noble comb machine: the worlds first combing machine for worsted fabric and possibly the most important machine in the manufacture of textiles. Worsted woollen fabric was used to make high end wool suits and the long fibres were previously combed by hand by thousands of factory workers. The noble comb machine revolutionised the worsted textile industry and was distributed world wide.
In the 1930s’s Platts tookover the factory making them the largest textile machinery manufacturer in the UK. Unfortunately 50 years later recession hit and the decline of manufacturing in the UK impacted heavily on the factory forcing it to cease trading in 1981. Midland Mills was the last survivor of the textile industry in Leeds.
Midland Mills: Present
Since its closure in 1981 Midland Mills has been under multiple occupancies mainly centred around light industrial work. The site is still occupied and used for light industrial work and talks are underway with the current owner to ensure that Holbeck Urban Village can retain the extraordinary legacy of Midland Mills.
Midland Mills: Future
New proposals for Midland Mills involve redeveloping the building to provide contemporary office space with a striking 7,500sq ft glass atrium covering part of the building that dates back as far as the early 1800s.
The proposals for the 1.9 hectare site were developed by Leeds based Architecture 2B and include 21,400 sq ft of refurbished office space and a further 2,600 sq ft of new build office space. It is proposed that this will be complemented by 15 residential flats made up of eight 1-bedroom apartments and seven 2-bedroom apartments.