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.
The Morley Union is a group of local photographers, artists, designers, writers and historians who have worked together with the aim to reconnect the people of Nottingham with a forward thinking victorian philanthropist Samuel Morley.
As a member of the Morley Union I’ve enjoyed using my camera to explore Nottingham’s industrial past and to have understood more about Samuel Morley’s approach to social activism.
The finding Samuel Morley project is now coming to an end and to celebrate this the Morley Union are launching free events at Backlit Gallery, who are now launching their digitalized collection of Samuel Morley memorabilia in a visual and emotionally directed archive.
The Morley Threads digital archive was produced by Kind. It features: videos, oral histories, images and historical information online for future generations to enjoy and learn.
Would you like to go back in time and see the Morley Threads digital archive?…then please click here
Backlit gallery are also hosting a virtual reality experience called ‘The House of the Flying Wheel’, which was produced by Hotknife Digital Media Studio to allow Backlit visitors to step back in time through a reimagined setting of the original factory in the late 19th century.
This in-house concept provides the virtual reality experience by using contemporary gaming technology.
Backlit Gallery is using its premises for hosting the events and the in-house experience allowing viewers to interact with the building’s history as an old textile factory, built by renowned hosiery manufacturers I&R Morley.
In June, I was on the ‘Finding Samuel Morley Photography Project’ based at Backlit Gallery. As part of this project I went out in Nottingham with the group taking photos of old places and buildings associated with Samuel Morley, some of which had changed over time, but some of them had stayed the same. There were moments that I’ll never forget.
When I visited the old building on Newark and Manvers Street in Sneinton, once owned by I&R Morley’s, who used it as premises for their textile and hosiery factory, I cautiously descended the hard concrete stairs, which led me into a cool, dimly lit basement.