Unlocking The Past



This door belongs to ‘The House of The Flying Wheel’, the former manufacturing centre for Samuel Morley’s textile empire based in Nottingham during the 1800’s.  This is one of Samuel Morley’s original and most prominent textile manufacturing plants. The 19th Century name given to the building was due to Morley’s innovative approach to technology.

In 1855, Samuel Morley inherited his fathers company I & R morley.  He proved himself to be a commercial genius, he was also a renowned social reformer and politician, he had an enduring gift for breaking barriers and developing unity across cities.  He gave large amounts of money to provide free education to the working classes and he believed in social equality.

Samuel Morley was also a committed abolitionist, he supported the black American social activist Josiah Henson during the 1850’s-1870’s by raising money and organising lectures for the formerly enslaved Henson. He also funded Henson’s book about his experience in slavery 1849.  This edition included a foreward written by Samuel Morley.


Backlit Gallery now occupies this original hosiery and textile manufacturing plant, Alfred house, Sneinton, in the eastside of Nottingham city.  Backlit is is a vibrant, community focussed gallery space, which aims to locally enhance public exposure to the arts and to bring back to life the memory and legacy of Samuel Morley.

In July Backlit Gallery are hosting the performance ‘The Iron In My Soul‘ directed by Matthew Chesney and Hannah-Rose Murray, to celebrate the lives of Josiah Henson and Samuel Morley.


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