A building which is an essential part of Hinckley's hosiery heritage and has now become a Grade 2 listed building.
Robert Atkins came to Hinckley in 1722 after serving an apprenticeship in London as a framework knitter. Until the middle of the nineteenth century the Atkins family were leading producers of hosiery using hand knitting frames. They were also active members of the Unitarian Great Meeting Chapel, built in the very year when Robert Atkins first came to Hinckley.
The three storey steam powered factory which replaced traditional hand produced hosiery production was originally built between 1875 and 1878 to the design of Goddard and Paget in an L - shaped block adjacent to the Atkins family home. In 1910 Goddard and Company extended the factory to four storeys. The building is described in the listing schedule as 'Red brick, ashlar storey bands, dentiled eaves course, regular fenestration with pivot and sash openings.' Impressive arched entrances were originally built in the factory frontage for carts which provided communication with Hinckley Railway Station.
Atkins became part of Coats Viyella in 1995 after 273 years in production and was reputedly the World's oldest hosiery firm at that time. The factory sadly ceased to operate a little over three years ago when Aspira ended production.
Author: Hugh Beavin
Written for: Hinckley Historian Magazine