Spring 2015

Spring 2015
Illustration by Sophia Watts

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Happy Birthday Workshop 4 years and a lovely story from the man that built the building many years ago

Happy Birthday Workshop 4 years. We can’t even believe it. We didn’t think we would pass 2 years.

The Workshop NottinghamWhat a lovely story I learnt yesterday (31st March 2014). This old man around 11am knocks at the door and he said “I built this place. My name is Thomas William Eaton TWE” pointing at the door. He asked me to come in and we spent a good hour telling me how he built the place brick by brick and bolt by bolt.

He was working in the lace market in a building on the second floor doing all sorts of engineering but the landlord there didn’t not let him do welding so he was going secretly in the night throwing water on the wooden floors so they do not catch fire and was doing welding. It was hard work and they could not afford the rent he said so they decided all the family to get their own unit. They all scraped the bottom of the
The Workshop Nottingham
barrel and gathered £12K and bought the Unit at 247 Noel Str. It was just one ground floor unit and only 3 offices and a canteen. The rest was a yard and a garden. Hard to imagine it now.

His wife was running the canteen and serving food to the workers as well as doing the accounts. She was also washing the workers clothes and hanging them in the garden. Also his two sons were working there.

They all slowly slowly started building the building. Brick by brick, nut by nut. 25000 bricks he told me.
He told me “We were working, paying the wages, buying brinks then working, buying steel and kept on doing that”. He remembered every single bolt and every single joint that was constructed.
They didn’t not have tools at the beginning (hmmmm sounds like us) but work was coming and they started buying machines. They were making everything engineering using metal. They made almost all the lace making machines in the Notts area as well as sawing machines, industrial alarms, and much more.” If you ask around” he said “you will find all out all out fabric making machines”.
They were so in demand that started exporting lace machine to New Zealand and Australia.

The Workshop Nottingham“We built this staircase “ he said “we installed in the building 3phase and each working station with compressed air, here was my workbench. Oh I used to do welding on those tables.” He continued.
I said on this same table I do electronics , he smiled with satisfaction. “Oh and at the back there we had metal folding machines” . “We have 2 independent wood makers here come and see their new machine” I said. He followed me and smiled again.

5 years ago they all retired and eventually they closed the unit and sold it. And here we are out of necessity not being able to find a decent affordable space to do artwork projects, we got this unit on a temporary basis. The unit is too big just for us so we decided to share it with others, so The Workshop – Nottingham was born.

“My name is Thomas William Eaton what is yours?” Adam I said “good luck Adam oh here are my initials at the door TWE” pointing at the door.
The Workshop – Established April 2010.

The Workshop is a non profit unfunded self sustained organisation and from day one trying to restart and reinvent local micro production, engineering and fabrication using design, engineering, technology and business skills and knowledge. The Workshop supports artists and students, hosted many events and currently houses 7 independent businesses. The Workshop already supports and wants to grow supporting local fabrication to high street retail.

The wood makers just bought 2 machines, all the businesses in The Workshop just about started going. We want to do much more one of them is to buy machines to be used by other local makers.

The Workshop needs to grow and possibly find new premises since the current ones are sold and most likely we cannot stay. We are looking for investors that would like to support this social entrepreneurial enterprise venture.

We are so happy we met TWE. A real inspiration to keep The Workshop going. I own it to him to make it work.

Adam Spinos
Just some images of The Workshop and of the things that happened
and keep happening.....

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