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Corah & Sons, Leicester - August 2015

WildBoyz

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History

“Let this be our motto so God will prosper our efforts: Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving God. In prosperity let us not forget Merciesâ€.

Edwin Corah and John Harris Cooper.

The reputed company, Corah, was founded by Nathaniel Corah inside the Globe Inn on Silver Street in Leicester. It operated from 1815 through to 1999. Originally, Corah produced garments on a knitting frame on his farm, however, the original business model which stemmed from this embryonic occupation sought to purchase already-completed stockings, to then sell them elsewhere at a profit. The factory would become the first in Leicester to be built and designed for steam operation, around a central beam engine; although before that the initial place of operations was opened in 1824 and it remained there on Union Street up until 1845. During this time, Corah’s three sons – John, Thomas and William – were taken into partnership and the company became known as Nathaniel Corah & Sons.

By 1855, the company had once again been renamed; this time to Thomas Corah & Sons, and during this time it had over 2000 knitting frames. It was, subsequently, one of the largest hosiery firms in England at the time. The company continued to prosper over the next ten years and by 1865 the premises were once again deemed too small to cater for the scale of manufacture. The company relocated to a larger site later that same year, which was close to both the River Soar and the Great Central Railway; a location which had obvious transportation benefits. This was the factory that would be powered by a large steam powered beam engine. Accordingly, by the early 1870s, the firm was able to expand its product range considerably, and as a result they began to produce a range of football and rugby jerseys, alongside a range of men and women’s garments.

Corah was the first company to develop a relationship with Marks & Spencer. One of the main advantages of this association allowed Marks & Spencer to reduce costs by cutting out wholesalers. Working alongside each other also meant that both companies could work together closely to produce products of a higher quality. This relationship was, however, risky for Corah since there was a risk that they would be blacklisted by the Wholesale Textile Association (WTA). In an attempt to avoid this, Corah referred to Marks & Spencer in its accounts only in coded terms. Nonetheless, as predicted, the WTA became aware of the partnership and it removed Corah’s name from the list of approved suppliers. Nonetheless, soon after, many other manufacturers also began to deal with retailers directly, and so the impact of being blacklisted was limited.

By the 1960s, Corah employed over 6,000 employees, making it one of the largest manufacturing companies in England at the time. Unfortunately, however, the recessions through both the 1970s and 80s caused the UK hosiery industry to fall into severe financial difficulties. In the aftermath, Corah and other UK companies were challenged by relentless financial complications, changing styles of clothing and foreign competition. Corah finally lost its final link with the founding family in 1989 and later that same year it was sold to an Australian company where it was then broken up after the buyer crashed itself. Sadly, by the late 1900s, the entire Corah enterprise had ceased all of its operations. Today, some parts of the monumental factory are still used by small scale hosiery manufacturers, and a small number of other businesses, however, much of the remaining site is completely derelict and deteriorating rapidly.

Our Version of Events

“You can’t come to Leicester and not take a look at Corah†said an excited KM_Punk. “What the fuck’s Corah†we replied, with rather clueless expressions on our faces. A little taken aback, Punk was having none of it, and with that we set off, through Leicester’s rush-hour traffic, towards the legendary former textile manufacturer. After surviving yet another journey in ‘The Car’, we wasted no time, and immediately set about trying to find a way inside the mammoth-sized building. That description is no exaggeration either, the place is fucking enormous. Several minutes later though, despite its size, we were all sniffing the stale mustiness; ready to tackle the beast. Sadly, as we’d been warned prior to entering, the place is very trashed indeed; however, if you look hard enough, and risk venturing into the shadowy depths of Corah, little pieces of the past begin to surface. Since Corah has such an extensive and important past (inasmuch as a few days later even an Officer of The Law recommended that we paid the place a little visit), I’m thankful that Punk took the time to bring it to our attention. On the whole, we had a good wander: we grabbed plenty of shots, soaked up some decent views from the rooftop and even managed to test Punk’s climbing capabilities in our attempt to grab a quick peek at the reception area which had, up to that point, been inaccessible. Above all, however, we left feeling much more educated about Leicester’s past.

Explored with Ford Mayhem, Soul and KM_Punk.

1: Corah & Sons



2: The Stairwell



3: The Textiles Room



4: Strange Décor



5: The Rooftop



6: The City of Leicester



7: Corah Sign



8: The Cages



9: Old Paperwork



10: The Burnt Office



11: Danger of Overheating



12: Tapes and Records



13: Another Way to the Roof



14: Looking Over Corah & Sons



15: Inside the First Bridge



16: Dirty



17: The Second Bridge



18: The 'Mystical' Looking Door



19: Crucial Office Supplies



20: Official Documentation



21: Back on the Roof



22: WildBoyz Meet the Punk



23: Textiles Machine



24: Ironing Boards and Surfaces



25: Looking Back at Corah



26: Clothes, Tags and Zippers



27: The Main Entrance Doors



28: Main Reception and Receptionist



29: The Vender




 

The_Raw

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For the first 4 shots my heart was starting to sink a bit but there's still some decent bits worth a look after that :D

 

WildBoyz

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For the first 4 shots my heart was starting to sink a bit but there's still some decent bits worth a look after that :D
Mine too when we first managed to get inside, but things improved :D

 

hamtagger

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Geez this place has taken a real battering but you've picked out some cool little bits and pieces, liking that red door :)

 

WildBoyz

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Geez this place has taken a real battering but you've picked out some cool little bits and pieces, liking that red door :)
Thanks mate. Yeah. Someone's even managed to tear out one of the lift things that would have made the lift work. It's just lying on the roof now. It's fucking heavy too!

 

skeleton key

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The place is defo on the trashed side but you've work the place really well and come away with some very cool shots.

Nice work and good to see (y)

 

degenerate

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It's certainly very colourful with all that graffiti! Nice pictures though :D

 

jones-y-gog

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Despite the battering you got some cool shots there, nice one!

 

WildBoyz

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The place is defo on the trashed side but you've work the place really well and come away with some very cool shots.Nice work and good to see (y)
Real shame considering its history too - another great part of our history that is slowing disappearing.

 
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