Section of the OS map of Leicester, 1885Following the River Soar from Frog Island on Northgate Street to the south of the Newarke at Swan's Mill Lock, the section of the map of Leicester illustrates the concentration of industry along the waterway. In particular, note the location of textile mills or factories along the waterway (as well as, in this area, flour mills). The textile factories and mills are marked by blue boxes.
Within textile manufacture, two elastic web factories or mills were situated in this area of industrial concentration, one of which, the Bow Bridge Works, comprised one of the largest factories or mills in Leicester in the late nineteenth century: the Bow Bridge Works of Archibald Turner, elastic web manufacturer, whose grand (perhaps grandiose) factory was designed in the French Imperial style. [The accumulation of the records of Archibald Turner, including sample books, is deposited in the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland.)
In recent years, many of the industrial buildings of the waterfront - both river and Cut - have been demolished and replaced by new waterfront accommodation or converted to dwellings.
It is worth remarking also that this industrial area functioned also as a communications route, for, whilst the Cut and Navigation quickly lapsed into desuetude for transport, two railway lines ultimately converged here: the Great Central Railway station and the terminus for the Leicester-Swannington Railway, the Bow Bridge Station.
The location of the area is the western edge of the medieval borough, a few hundred yards to the west of the Roman Baths, the Jewry Wall Museum, and Vaughan College.