Dawes Twine Works in West Coker, Somerset is a heritage site for industrial archeology, preserving the story, buildings and artefacts of the twine-making industry. It is Britain’s only surviving Victorian twineworks with its original working machinery. Saved from total collapse and now restored by local volunteers for everyone to enjoy. I was made very welcome on my visit and the refreshments were excellent!
Now run by the Coker Rope & Sail Trust and CIO, this fascinating site is open Monthly, every fourth Saturday.
The website for the village of West Coker contains a wealth of information about the works’ history as well as current activities and events.
I visited in late June 2022 with my cameras from the early 1900s:
A 1900 full-plate Thornton Pickard Imperial using sheet film (1st picture on the left)
A 1910, half-plate Thomas Sanderson using vintage (1950s) glass plates (1st picture on the right)
A 1904, 3D-Stereoscopic Blair Hawkeye No3 using sheet film (2nd picture)
Photographically, the day was challenging. Being a bright sunny day scenes inside the sheds were high contrast. Dark interiors and very bright windows/doorways.
In fact the interiors were so dark it was hard to see clearly to focus properly using the ground glass screens of the plate cameras. On my next visit I will come with an LED floodlight for focussing.
It was great to have the engines running to be able to capture their motion with the long exposures needed for such dark conditions.
This 3D Stereoscopic pair of images (cross-view) shows the main engine.
Built by Alexander Shanks & Sons Ltd (Arbroath & London) in 1927.
More images can be seen here.