MSO10842 - Dulverton Laundry, Dulverton (Building)


Dulverton Laundry was a crepe factory. It dates to the late 18th/ early 19th century, and was partly refenestrated in the mid to late 20th Century.

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Type and Period (8)

Protected Status

Full Description

Dulverton Laundry was a crepe factory. It dates to the late 18th/ early 19th century, and was partly refenestrated in the mid to late 20th century. [1] It was commended by Pevsner as a good example of an early industrial building. [2] The mill was used for a multitude of functions - it was a woollen mill, then silk and crepe mill and a laundry. [3] The leat from the River Barle powered Warden & Co's 'Crape' Mill in the 1830s. The crepe mill gave work to as many as 70 people at times. The mill is a three storey building, supported by six vertical blocks of masonry running from ground to roof. After the crepe manufacture, the building was used to manufacture lace, and when that ended it was used as a joinery, turning out doors and window frames. It became a laundry in the early 1900s. Once modern machinery was added in 1935, the waterwheel was cut up and disposed of. [5] Some of the buildings used for the lace and crepe mill were erected in 1814. The millwheel was removed in the 1930s during modernisation. [6] Dulverton Laundry started as a grist mill, before it was converted to a woollen mill. It went on to produce crepe material, then, in around 1840, on to weaving silk and making lace. The use of the building then changed to a wood joiner's factory, then a laundry. [8] The building was visited in February 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 4. [10] Henry Smith, owner of a large silk manufacturing family business with factories in London and Taunton, built a crepe factory in the 1820s. Crepe was a fashionable black clock, made by applying gum to silk during dyeing. The building reflected some of the latest principles of factory design in the 1820s and now houses the Dulverton Laundry. Its stone pier and panel construction provided a high level of natural light and an external wheelhouse, supplied by the town leat, enabled an efficient layout of machinery. An inventory of 1859 suggests that the ground floor housed 11 power looms, with up to 70 workers. By the 1870s silk was no longer made at Dulverton and the building was converted to a laundry in the 1890s. The building stopped using water power in 1935 but the leat still provides a source of water for the business. In more recent times, the collapse of a section of Dulverton Weir caused water levels in the leat to fall so that the Laundry was unable to extract water, necessitating its reconstruction in 1993. [11] The structure was subject to a historic building assessment in November 2018. [12] Built accross the watercourse this early 19th century mill of 3 storeys and 5 bays has a hipped slate roof of low pitch. The rubble stone piers are separated by panels with windows to their full width, and each storey has windows of 4 lights in the central panel, flanked by 6 light windows in the outer panels, all with wooden lintels. The mill is a single bay in width with a single vertical end panel with 4 light windows. The building which may have been used as a laundry is situated on the leat with a small pond on the north side and a tailrace fed directly into the former corn mill. [1,5,13-16] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [17] The building is mentioned in the 2019 Conservation Area Appraisal for Dulverton. [18] The building is mentioned in a publication on the industrial archaeology of Somerset. [19]

Sources/Archives (19)

  • <1> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . District of West Somerset, 36th List., 4 August 1986.
  • <2> Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1958. The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Penguin Books.
  • <3> Monograph: Page, W. (editor). 1911. The Victoria History of the County of Somerset. Archibald Constable and Company, Limited (London). 2. P.422.
  • <4> Monograph: Aston, M. and Leech, R.. 1977. Historic Towns in Somerset. Committee for Rescue Archaeology in Avon, Gloucestershire and Somerset. Survey Number 2. P.43.
  • <5> Monograph: Binding, H. + Bonham-Carter, V.. 1986. Old Dulverton and Around: Dulverton - Bury - Brushford - Exebridge. The Exmoor Press. P.28, 38, 39, 41, Photo.
  • <6> Article in monograph: Gathercole, C.. 2003. English Heritage Extensive Urban Survey: An Archaeological Assessment of Dulverton. The Somerset Urban Archaeological Survey. English Heritage. P.13, 15.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Fisher, J.. c.2003. Dulverton Conservation Area Appraisal. p5, 8, 13-15, 17, Photo.
  • <8> Monograph: Dulverton and District Civic Society. 2002. The Book of Dulverton, Brushford, Bury and Exebridge. Halsgrove. P.19, 27.
  • <9> Monograph: Siraut, M.. 2009. Exmoor: The Making of an English Upland. Phillimore & Co. Ltd. 1st Edition. P.120, 122, 147, Photograph.
  • <10> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <11> Report: Riley, H.. 2015. Dulverton Town Weir, Exmoor: Historical research, recording and assessment.
  • <12> Report: Watts, M.. 2018. Dulverton Laundry, Dulverton, Somerset: Historic building assessment for Exmoor National Park Authority. Martin Watts.
  • <13> Monograph: Atkinson, M.. 1997. Exmoor's Industrial Archaeology. Exmoor Books. p134.
  • <14> Monograph: Warren, D.. 1996. Somerset's Industrial Heritage: A guide and gazetteer. Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society. 8. p57.
  • <15> Collection: Williams, M. and Davies, J.O.. 2006-2014. Volume: South-West Mills.
  • <16> Archive: RCHME. 1988-2001. South West Textile Mills Project.
  • <17> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1305722, Updated 11 April 2022.
  • <18> Report: Pratt, N. and Thurlow, T.. 2019. Dulverton Conservation Area: appraisal document. Exmoor National Park Authority. p 5, 45, Figure 50.
  • <19> Monograph: Daniel, P. (Ed.). 2019. A guide to the industrial archaeology of Somerset. Association for Industrial Archaeology. 2nd Edition. p 68, W14.3.

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (4): 1648/15/71
  • Local Heritage List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 92 NW90
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1305722
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 31402
  • South West Textile Mills Project number: 476



Grid reference Centred SS 9127 2776 (37m by 28m) Estimated from sources
Map sheet SS92NW

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Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Oct 11 2022 12:57PM


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