THE HISTORY of a mill in Batley has been celebrated with the unveiling of a blue plaque.
As part of Batley History Group’s ambition to install new plaques across the town they revealed the first one at Blakeridge Mill this week.
The sprawling mill site, now a residential development, lies on Blakeridge Lane and was originally developed back in the 1820s by Thomas Taylor, later joined in the business by his sons James, Thomas and John.
The firm, then called JT & J Taylor Ltd, became the biggest woollen mill in the town, employing 2,000 people in its heyday.
As well as Blakeridge’s historical importance, its future is also mentioned on the plaque. Developer Richard Binks took over the premises in 2004 and is close to completing a marathon construction project which will eventually boast 370 apartments as well as a gym and swimming pool.
“This is so important to us to make this happen,” said Mr Binks. “We’re very proud of what’s happening. It’s going to kick start other investors into the town.
“I have an affinity with Batley, and we want that inward investment and to put Batley right on the map. There could be up to 800 people living here and spending money in Batley.”
The group has investigated various aspects of the town’s past for several months, with committee member Peter Connor heading a team to produce the impressive plaques.
And chairman Malcolm Haigh said: “This is a special occasion for me and the history group because we’ve talked about highlighting the history of Batley for quite some time and there’s quite a lot of history in Batley to highlight!
“It’s been absolutely marvellous that we’ve got such support from different sections of society.”
The next plaque is to be at Batley Central Methodist Church.