Extracts by June Pearce a Mender and Burler at Sunny Bank Mills (between 1949-1959)
The Mill The Facelift was a major undertaking, she was old but the need to stay beautiful is something we all can connect with. Yes, she was careworn after years of neglect, but when she was young life hadn’t been easy either.
When the ‘team’ arrived suited and booted with tools of the trade ready, I was slightly anxious; was she going to be all right? Would she change much? Preparation took a while, lots of metal was used structurally to hold things in place, then slowly covered over in a blanket of white protective material and the facelift began.
Work was continuous. I watched the ‘team’ arrive daily but how the great treatment was working I could only guess. Each day I looked out at the dazzling white sheet protecting her face and wondered how long the process would be, and would I recognise her or would she look different. Silly of me I suppose, but she has been a big part of my life, in fact she has been there all my lifetime and still today I look out upon her face and see her in all moods.
I have watched the snow blur her lines. Morning mist lay softly upon her. Rain beating around leaving puddles that reflect her, and frost that sits like a snowy white cap on her sloping head. At night, she shines from lights hidden within. You never know from day to day which side of her personality you might see, or the people she draws towards her. But at last the ordeal is over. I watch the protective sheet slowly peeled back, and the structures withdrawn, the facelift uncovered.
The sun shone bright on her honey coloured structure and yes, she was young again, what a joy. All my fears dispersed, she looked beautiful, and as if to join in the celebration the evening skies danced in shades of pink and blue and my blackbird sang joyfully in the street opposite as the colours slowly merged and dissolved into night. Now hopefully she will live on for another century but fulfilling different ways of life to the one she was built for.
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