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The Millgate Conservation Society

The Millgate " Parish" Map
(Now on display in the Holy Trinity Community Centre, Boundary Road: Available for view by arrangement)


In this Map you will see extracts from the story of Millgate through the centuries. The Map has been produced to commemorate twenty years of revival in the area led by the Millgate Conservation Society. From a time in the early 1970's when Millgate was largely derelict and decaying we have gradually laid the foundations for a thriving, robust community.
The Map was made during Summer 1997 by four professional artists assisted by members of the community. Sue Lawty, an internationally renowned weaver, led the design work and Sarah Lawrence, embroiderer, oversaw the creation of the Map with Andrew Wynne, batik artist, and Elaine Guilding, calligrapher.
The shape of the streets and the river has guided the shape of the Map. The dark colours towards the centre of the Map emphasise the heavily industrialised and populated nature of Millgate. Colours fade towards the edges to indicate the raw materials which have influenced the development of the area,
Robert Kiddey was a well known local artist and sculptor during the early part of this century. He lived in the area and had a studio in King Street. The bricklayer which underpins the design of the Map is taken from one of his plaques set into the wall at Newark & Sherwood College, This image symbolises tne cevelopment and regeneration of Mitigate.
At the top of the Map, the shape of the castle curtain wall and at the bottom the shape of the Queen's Sconce civil war earthwork locates Mitigate in the town. A north point has been included because Newark has been known as the 'Key to the North for many centuries.
The Saxon South Bar into Newark is shown at the top of Millgate. At this time Millgate housed all the dirty and smelly industries and was outside the town walls. The image has been taken from a drawing of the remains of the North Bar, By the time of the Civil War Millgate was inside the town's defensive earthworks, The shape of these are shown towards the bottom of the Map behind the Spring House pub. In Saxon times the Millgate area was home to a burial ground. Archaeological digs have uncovered a number of artefacts including the burial urn shown by the side of the civil war earthworks.
The slaughterhouse image is taken from a mural in a building that has been converted into tearooms. The red stripe at the top is a reminder that during the late 1970's and early 1980's pioneering conservationists stru—led to get mortgages for properties in the area because it had been 'red-lined' by Building societies. This meant that the properties did not conform to the accepted view of suitable homes and the Societies would not lend money on them.
The influence of the River on the development of industries can be seen in the presence of warehouses, brewery, boat yard, mills and tannery. The sixteenth century flood mill on the left hand edge of the Map is used as the Conservation Society's logo.
An intricate pattern of streets developed to house the local workers. The most humble of these were built in the gardens of properties fronting onto Mitigate and were known as 'yards'. Many of the yard names survive today although the yards were demolished as insanitary in the I 950s.
You will recognise many of the buildings shown in the Map by walking around Mitigate. Sadly we no longer have the 15th century 'Dutch' houses, so called because of their Flemish gables. These were replaced by the government building which has been used as a tax office and benefit office. Also lost is the Gothic style Catholic church where General Sikorski, the former Polish Prime Minister and leader of the patriotic forces during world war two, was laid in state.
We wanted our Map to include references to modern day as well as historic activity and so we show the garden to Gordon House with its trellis and climbing frame complete with young adventurer. Twenty years ago it would have been difficult to imagine this sort of homely image relating to Millgate.
During the Victorian period Millgate became a centre for -he malting industry. Pierced tiles allowed hot air to roast the barley laid on top of them. Women were employed in the maltkilns in the first world war and they are shown holding their forks and spades in an image taken from a photograph. Underneath this image is an embroidered pattern taken from a malting floor tile.
Trent Brewery had extensive brick vaulted cellars which still remain under properties in Lenton Terrace, The pattern of the arches has been recreated in batik work.
Two thousand years ago Millgate was buitt by the Romans as part of the Fosse Way between Leicester and Lincoln. Roman coins make this link wtth the past. The original line of the road lies under Mitigate field and was superceded by the line of the Via Regia. A sixteenth century royal carriage is shown progressing along what is now the line of the road.
Scales  linen factory at the entrance to Millgate on Famdon Road is famous for its Newark Smock. The fields surrounding the factory were used as drying and bleaching grounds. A piece of smocking shows this connection.
Mitigate is an outstanding conservation area which means that it has national significance. In the I 970s the foundations of the historic buildings were being damaged by vibration from passing traffic. The Society campaigned vigorously for a bypass to carry through traffic. We were all delighted when the relief road was opened in 1990 and Mitigate was subsequently de-trunked.
Many parts of the Map have been created in layers of fabric to reflect the layers of history that typify the character of the Mitigate area. The random patches at the top and bottom of the design are timeless geometric shapes that can be read as mosaic pieces, setts, cobbles or street patterns.
As a Conservation Society we have produced this textile with the intention of it being available for forthcoming generations. To help to ensure that this happens, only robust and natural fabrics have been used in its construction and it has been displayed in accordance with advice from a textile conservator.
Sue Pickles September 1997