A decidedly cooler day today, with no sign of the sun at all.
We spent the morning following the “Leek Architectural Trail” (a free leaflet available from the Tourist Information office found on the first floor of the Nicholson Institute).
Leek changed dramatically in the late 18th and 19th centuries from a sleepy market town to a centre of silk weaving and several large mills were built to cater for this rapidly expanding localised industry which gained national fame for its embroideries, buttons, ribbons and sewing silks and as a result the population multiplied.
Through the Arts & Crafts movement, the town attracted artists and designers and the trail guides you to twenty notable buildings around the town centre which reveal the richness of their Victorian influence, particularly father and son architects, the Sugdens, who were friends with William Morris.
We also saw other well-designed houses of all shapes and sizes suggesting that the general populace also benefitted from the wealth that the silk industry brought to the town. Many of the mills stand empty today, but are still in excellent condition and we hope these can be preserved somehow.
It really is a lovely unspoilt market town with so much to enjoy. We’re glad we made the effort to walk from the canal into town.
After lunch we left Leek and motored back to Endon, seeing only two moving boats on the way. Tonight we’re spending a quiet evening in.