New Loom House, 101 Back Church Lane

1889-90 former Browne and Eagle wool warehouse converted to offices 1991

Foot-boards at the Back Church Lane wool warehouses
Contributed by eric on Nov. 1, 2016

Memories of Eric Shorter, b. 1936

Many of the great warehouses around Aldgate and the river had sets of double opening doors aligned up their frontages, and with a wall-mounted crane at the top somewhere. Of the warehouses that survive in Aldgate at 2016, some still have these. Beneath each pair of doors was a wide board that could be swung down and out to form a sloping foot-board at about 20 degrees to the horizontal, and which was kept in check by chains either side. The purpose of this was that an operator could use the crane to grab a bale of wool from inside the building, and this could then be swung out to be lowered to carts waiting below. By placing one foot on the foot-board, the operator was better placed to lean out and look down to see where his load was going, and to signal to the cart personnel beneath him. As a child I saw this happen often: a health & safety nightmare! Another sound that has never left me is that of the hooks biting into a bale as they were lifted. In recent times I have visited a warehouse in Back Church Lane being used by a modern business, introduced myself, and asked to see one of these sets of doors from the inside. I met a chap who turned out to be interested in the history of the area, and we exchanged knowledge, and I obtained some early pictures of solid- tyred vehicles used for moving bales of wool.

Loom House in 1950
Contributed by eric on Jan. 15, 2017

I walked past the Gowers Walk side of thisĀ building as a child at weekends in the 1950s. The brickwork was intact, but a bit dowdy and dirty. At that time it was occupied by and used by Browne & Eagle, who used it for assessing bales of wool, and storing them. It is said that the wool was of high quality, and some was Merino. Strong hearsay has it that a lad who lived in Gower's Walk before my time used to scale the drainpipes on this building, stand on the roof a bit, and then come down. He was described as 'a broth of a boy' by his scoutmaster.

Browne & Eagle in Loom House
Contributed by eric

New Loom House
Contributed by Derek Kendall

Working Inside Loom House
Contributed by eric