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Over the years Long Eaton and Sawley have had a diversity of industries of a highly specialised character. In addition to its old established lace trade and railway wagon works, a variety of industries have come and gone over the years. Companies who made spring mattresses, upholstery, pencils, wire and cables, rubber and latex compounds, elastic, piano and piano actions, kitchen units, silks, art and artists accessories, motor car springing, hosiery, flexible tubing and bicycles etc.
This section is by no means exhaustive in any shape or form, but we have tried to include the most noted industries and companies that have provided work for the local inhabitants and people from the surrounding areas. Some of the most famous of Long Eaton's lace mills have been included in the list as they were built by different businessmen. For more information about lace making, see elsewhere on this site.Bridge Mills
Built by F. Perks & Sons in 1902 to specifications by the architect John Sheldon. It was the last of the multi-storey tenement factories in the town. As this building is situated on the Derby Road canal bridge, the towering chimney is one of the focal points of the town.
John Austin started in a small way by employing four boys and two girls at a small workshop in Austin's Yard in 1851. In 1856 his brother Joseph, built a substantial lace factory near the existing premises in Austin's Yard. The new factory was four storeys high and was the first tenement factory to be built in the town. John was unable to fill it with his own machines, so he let other manufacturers rent the spare standings. The Austin business prospered and in about 1884 a much larger factory was built behind the original. The core of this factory still existed until quite recently and was known as Jones and Stroud Ltd., who were a major employer in the town for a number of years. The factory was demolished at the turn of the 21st century to make way for a new retail park.
George Smith, another lace manufacturer, founded the company which built Oaklea Mills in 1902. He was born in 1850 and was the son of John Smith, a cordwainer who lived at the High Street end of Smith's Yard. When Joseph Orchard's Bank Street factory was opened in 1882, Smith moved in as a tenant until Oaklea Mills was ready. As well as chairman of the Oaklea Mill Company, Smith was a director of the Long Eaton Advertiser. He built a large house called Trentham at the end of Acton Road which after his death in 1923, became St Mary's Convent Girl's School.
West End Mills
In 1850, Samuel Claye was a coal and coke merchant and railway wagon owner in Derby. The following year he moved to Long Eaton to manufacture his own rolling stock. He bought the Manor House with its farm buildings and a house and croft on the other side of the road. Within two years he had erected buildings on both sides of the road which housed the foundry, smithy, turning shop, engine, several sheds and an office. In 1854 he built another shed on the north side, and the pattern house above the brook which ran alongside. He also built a number of houses for his workers. By 1861 the works employed nearly 200 workers and as the firm expanded during the 1860s, over 1,300 wagons at a time were produced for the Midland Railway. The firm was mechanised during the 1880s, producing 1,000 wagons a year while dealing in coal, coke, ironstone and fireclay. They also leased wagons to other merchants. Before his death, Samuel built Belfield on Main Street, which later became Southlands Home for the elderly. Samuel Claye died in 1887 at the age of 68. After his death the firm became a limited company, and a new foundry and an electricity generating plant were built. In 1937 it was sold to a rival company, Charles Roberts of Wakefield. The 19th century buildings were demolished in the 1960s. At present the site is occupied by some industrial units and the Tapper's Harker public house.
Below is a short list of various other companies who operated in the town.