St. Michaels church in 1994
Pleasley shown within Derbyshire
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
Pleasley listen (help·info) is a small village in between the nearby towns of Chesterfield and Mansfield, it is 8 km south east of Bolsover, Derbyshire, England and 4 km north west of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. The River Meden which forms the county boundary in this area runs through the village.
The bulk of the village is in the Derbyshire district of Bolsover, and constitutes a civil parish of the same name. The part in Nottinghamshire is in the district of Mansfield and is unparished. Pleasley is not mentioned in Domesday when it was part of Glapwell parish.
The parish church of St. Michael is built of squared sandstone and is believed to originate from the 12th century, as it includes a 12th-century chancel arch and font. There are also features from the 13th and 14th century, end evidence of significant restoration in the 19th century, when it was re-roofed in Welsh slate. A new south window was fitted in the chancel at this time. The pulpit came from Derby cathedral, and there is a second font, which carries the date 1662. The building is a grade II* listed structure. It is situated close to the River Meden which marks the county boundary and also the boundary of the ancient Sherwood Forest.
Pleasley was a mining village for over 100 years. The Stanton Ironworks Company leased the mineral rights in 1872, and work on building the shaft for Pleasley Colliery began soon afterwards. Stanton's continued to operate it until it was nationalised in 1946, after which it was run by the National Coal Board until it closed in 1983. The mine was partly demolished but during the demolition it was realized that the pit winding engines were the only pair of such engines left. The former mine is now a museum. The spoil heaps have been turned into a large nature reserve, complete with large ponds, cycle and walking tracks. Pleasley, as a whole, covers two counties, a coal mine and an old cotton mill.
The constituencies of Pleasley
The area of Pleasley itself consists of four distinct areas: Pleasley Village, Pleasley Vale, Pleasley Hill, Radmanthwaite and Upper Pleasley.
Upper Pleasley is situated at the southern end of the village, and is today the area around Terrace Lane. Terrace Lane was initially surrounded by fields, and eventually served as the back entrance to Pleasley Colliery, which is still visible today. Between 1875-1899, two rows of terraced houses were built on what is now Old Terrace. These were built for workers at the colliery. Private bungalows were built along Terrace Lane, and in the 1920s, more pit houses were built on New Terrace, and along the top of Terrace Lane.
The terraced houses on Old Terrace were demolished in the 1970s, and the land stood empty for 30 years. In the early 2000s, this land was built on and a new estate was built, with two new cul-de-sacs being built, and new houses being built along Old Terrace. In 2009, the older houses on New Terrace were demolished, and the remaining houses renovated. New homes were built in the place of the demolished houses, following the existing road layout.
Pleasley Hill consists of rows of derelict terraced houses running along the main road into Mansfield, and is strictly part of Mansfield. These have long been the subject of debate in the area, and are currently undergoing a scheme to demolish them and replace them with parkland, open spaces and residential housing.
Residents are being moved out for demolition of the properties in seven phases. These phases are expected to last until 2013, as of May 2010 phase 1 is complete and phase 2 has commenced.
Pleasley Vale is a deep, narrow valley, much of which is wooded, which has been formed by the River Meden cutting down through the underlying limestone escarpment. The Vale has been the location for industry since at least 1767, when two forges and a corn mill are known to have been operating, powered by the river. The forges were run by George Sitwell, and were called Nether and Upper forge. The engineered river channel made it a good site for further development, and a consortium of businessmen from Nottingham and drapers from Mansfield leased the vale and Pleasley Park in 1782, in order to construct water-powered cotton mills. The Upper Mill was built first, on the site of the previous corn mill, and was operational by 1785. The Lower Mill was completed seven years later at a cost of £1,190, and was much bigger. A manager's house and a row of ten houses for the workers was also completed in 1792. The mills supplied cotton to the expanding East Midland hosiery industry. One of the original three businessmen was Henry Hollins, and by the early 18th century, the mills were run by William Hollins and Co. They were the first and one of the most successful cotton producers in the East Midlands.
The Hollins family managed the mills for many years, but from the 1830s were joined by the Pagets, who introduced steam power to the mills. Fire destroyed the Upper Mill on 25 December 1840, but it was rebuilt by 1844. The Lower Mill also burnt down, and was replaced in 1847. Newer equipment fitted as part of the rebuilding enabled the mills to stay competitive. William Hollins lived at Pleasley Vale, and oversaw the expansion of the community, with the construction of more houses for the workers, the provision of public facilities including a school, wash house, and a cooperative society, and attention to leisure activities by the establishing of a Mechanics Institute, a library and a cricket club. A company farm was also established. St Chad's Chapel and the vicarage were commissioned by Charles Paget in 1876. The Chapel was opened in 1881, but was reputedly built in 1861 at Stuffynwood, Derbyshire, and later moved to its present site. It has a small bell turret at its western end, and a number of its features mimic thirteenth and fourteenth century styles. Internally, there is a brass memorial to Paget and his wife Helen Elizabeth.
From the 1890s, the mills produced Viyella, a mixture of cotton with Merino wool, which produces a soft fabric. A third mill (now called Mill 2) was built between the upper and lower mills in 1913. It was originally built as a combing shed, where the cotton fibres were straightened and aligned prior to the production of fabric, but became a mill in 1952 following the addition of a further two floors to the main building, and a three-storey extension on the side. The mills continued to flourish, employing 980 workers at the site in 1934. Transport of raw materials and finished product was provided by the Midland Railway, who opened their Tibshelf and Pleasley branch in 1883, primarily to serve Pleasley Colliery, which began production in 1878. The branch connected with other lines at Mansfield Woodhouse in the east and Alfreton in the west. Sidings and a warehouse were built below the lower mill. By 1938, the upper sidings had been built, which provided direct access to the Upper Mill and the combing shed. The railway and its sidings had both been dismantled by 1967.
The first workers houses were demolished in 1961, to be followed by the school, the baths and the Mechanics Institute. By 1987, production had moved abroad, and the mills closed. Bolsover District Council sought to buy the mill buildings in 1992, using compulsory purchase powers. They were to be converted for use as offices and by light industry. The Council obtained them for just £1.00, and secured over £1 million in funding for the first phase of restoration. The initial building tackled was the latest to be built, and Mill 2 provided 160,385 square feet (14,900 m2) of accommodation when it was completed in 1994. Phase 2 consisted of Mill 1 and the North Wing, which provided a further 130,000 square feet (12,000 m2) and was completed in 1997. Stage 3 was the refurbishment of Mill 3, which provided 408,646 square feet (37,964 m2) of space. By 1998, over £4 million had been spent of the work, and the mill buildings provided accommodation for 45 businesses employing 244 people.
- Pleasley Colliery site
- Details from listed building database (79307) . Images of England. English Heritage. Church of St Michael, Pleasley
- Philip Riden, ‘Sitwell, George (bap. 1601, d. 1667)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 2 March 2010
- "About Pleasley Colliery". Friends of Pleasley Pit. Retrieved 2011-06-10.
- Butler (1997), Section 1, 3
- Mansfield (2009), p.11
- Mansfield (2009), pp.12-13
- Details from listed building database (434655) . Images of England. English Heritage. Church of St Chad, Pleasley
- Mansfield (2009), pp.13-16
- Interpretation panel, Reception area, Mill 1. Bolsover District Council
- Ordnance Survey, 1:2500 map, 1899
- Ordnance Survey, 1:2500 map, 1938
- Ordnance Survey, 1:2500 map, 1967
- Terry Butler (1997). "Countryside Appraisal - Magnesian Limestone Ridge". Nottinghamshire County Council. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
- Mansfield (January 2009). "Pleasley Park and Vale Conservation Area". Mansfield District Council, Bolsover District Council.
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