The Vulcan Works building is a Grade II-listed factory building that near Guildhall Street in Northampton stands as a symbol of the shoe trade boom in the region in the 19th century. Constructed in 1875 for the engineering company Mobbs & Co., it was later transformed into a leather warehouse sometime during the shoe industry rush.
For nearly a century and a half, it has stood, practically abandoned since the shoe trade died down.
Now, the city has decided to address the issue, with a multimillion dollar plan to transform the building, and the surrounding decrepit buildings around the streets of Guildhall, Fetter and Angel, into a cultural district for the city. This plan will not only lead to the revitalization of the area, but will also result in the creation of jobs for the more creatively inclined professions, such as artists, tailors, painters and decorators Northampton, etc.
The Northampton’s borough council has already evaluated the proposal, and has decided to support it, stating that the plan will not only create new jobs for the city’s residents, but will also bring the historic infrastructure into use again, which they believe will be a good way to draw in potential visitors to the region.
The first phase of this plan involves transforming the Vulcan Works factory into a building for the appreciation of the leather industry, specifically, the factory building will be repurposed into an ‘Institute for Creative Leather Technologies’ as well as a ‘Leather Conservation Centre’. The Institute will be constructed as a part of the Northampton University, and managed by Rachel Garwood.
Following completion of the first phase, changes will also be made for the other creative industries in the region, ensuring that painters and decorators Northampton, benefit from these changes. Additionally, a three-storey building will be erected on Angel Street.
A council cabinet member, Tim Hadland, has stated that whilst approval is a step forward, there is still a lot of work involved. He hopes that the construction work for this plan will begin sometime later this year.
He adds that this endeavor would symbolize two things: the significance of leather in Northampton’s history, and the borough’s desire to set itself apart with creative industries.