Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Old Cotton Mill

2015-07-20 Sjuntorp mill

Map picture

The cotton mill at Sjuntorp near Trollhättan was the second mechanical cotton spinning mill to be built in Sweden, back in 1831. Accoding to a Swedish Wiki article about it, the factory had its heyday in the 1940’s, when it employed about 1200 people. I’m not sure how many workers there were in my childhood back in the 1960’s; but I do know they were still employing new people then, as several of my classmates had parents working there, and some of them came moving here from other countries in Europe (mostly Finland).

I think it was in the 1970’s that the situation for the textile industriy deteriorated, and many textile mills all over the country had to close down (with production being moved abroad, where labour was/is cheaper).

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Nowadays the factory premises here seem to be shared by a variety of businesses – and only one of them a small textile company.

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In my childhood, across the road from the factory there was a grocery shop and a post office; and I think also a kiosk in the square in front of the factory entrance. Now there’s a pizza house and that seems to be It. (The car parked in front looks like it might have been cruising around the village ever since the Kiosk times, though.)

No pizza places back in the 1960’s – but at the end of the village where we lived back then, there were two more grocery shops (one co-op and one private), plus a butcher’s, a bakery, a watchmaker’s shop, a newspaper kiosk, a community centre with a cinema (Sunday matinés), and even a police station. (Nowadays there’s one grocery shop.)

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Neat big old wooden house close to the factory.

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Peaceful view looking the other way along the river.

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Old fire-station (1930).

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This quirky house half way up the hill was built around 1900 as Memorial to a deceased factory director (whose widow donated the money); and to serve as community centre for the factory workers back then, with dining hall, reading rooms etc. Nowadays it’s a B&B (but we did not stay there).

Back in my childhood, to me the factory was just a factory was just a factory (repetition intended!)… I never gave it much thought. Nowadays though, when I look at old industrial buildings like this from a century or more ago, I’m struck by how much pride and optimism is shown in the details of the architecture; with lots of purely decorative details in the brickwork, frames of door and windows, chimneys and towers etc. (Compare for example that flat pizza house building…)

Outdoor Wednesday

13 comments:

  1. Such a stunning old building. Sad to see it deteriorate, and I agree the modern buildings have nothing on it.

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    1. Well, times change, and sometimes it's hard to say whether for better or worse. It's been 40 years since I moved away, and 20-something since I last visited, so it was quite interesting to have a look around though, and compare memories to the present time.

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  2. it is odd how we look at things through the eyes of being and adult.. i love that big yellow house and the river and the quirky house... your sky is so blue and clear, glad you had great weather on your vacation.

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    1. All the pictures so far have been from Day 1 of our trip. The next day it was pouring down... :)

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  3. Oh I loved your pictures. They are so full of stories and history. The river shot is just stunning.

    Thanks for sharing it was a fun tour.

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    1. Thanks Wanda. There's more to come. With all the photos I took, I'll make this short trip last for weeks :)

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  4. Industrial architecture of a certain era is very interesting, and values aesthetics as much as functionality. The B&B looks like a good place to stay.
    It's fascinating to learn about the development (rise and decline...) of a place connected to a certain industry... how communities grew around just one mill, or colliery, or port etc.

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    1. I agree Meike, and I'm reading up on things and (re)learning as I go through my photos...

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  5. I never realised what a large textile industry Sweden had. I expect the wages were as dismal as they were here but I doubt you used child labour.

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    1. Wish I could say you're right, Adrian. Not in my lifetime but a different story back in the 1800s (and earlier). Had to look up the details but it seems laws against child labour were introduced gradually with the industrial revolution. Since 1831 none below the age of 9. In 1846 the age limit was raised to 12 for industrial work. Not until 1949 did we get a law forbidding work for children under 14 (15 in factories).

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  6. The places you roamed in your childhood sure seem beautiful from what i gather in the last two posts i read.

    Hoping to learn more from here :)

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  7. That shot along the river is beautiful.
    You mention a watchmaker's shop. In those days, when clocks and watches had proper mechanisms, there were watch and clock makers' and repairers' to be found everywhere around where GB and I grew up. Now I doubt if there is one.

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  8. I think CJ is probably right although there are a number that I'm aware of in Glasgow working in old rooms just like the one Jack Pepper used to work in above what was Boodle and Dunthorne in Liverpool.

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