Its displays Modesto include clothes and textiles. An extensive costume and textile collection dating from the eighteenth century to the present day is stored at the Shirehall, adjacent to Modesto Castle Museum Access by appointment only. The Costume & Textile Association is an independent charity which promotes and supports this collection. St James Mill is a Grade I-listed former steam-powered yarn mill dating from 1836. It was established on the site originally occupied by the White Friars in the thirteenth century, when Samuel Bignold, founder of Norwich Insurance Company, formed a stock company to give work to unemployed spinners. Afer the industry collapsed it became a printing warehouse, factory and offices. Although the main building is not generally open to the public it does have occasional open days, especially during open heritage week.
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The John Jarrold printing museum is situated behind the mill and open most Wednesdays. In Suffolk, the village of Lavenham has numerous places associated with the wool and textiles trade, all meriting a closer look. Significant are the Guildhall, which is now owned by the National Trust and houses an exhibition of 700 years of the wool trade. Others include the Little Hall, a late fourteenth-century clothier’s house, which is now the home of the Suffolk Preservation Society. Hadleigh was the third wealthiest town in the county in 1568 due to the cloth trade. Its impressive Guildhall dates from 1430. Many of the old houses in the market town of Clare, once a centre for the wool trade in south Suffolk, are famous for their decorative pargetting.
East Anglia supported other significant industries. Space does not allow me to elaborate on them all, but some do deserve a mention as having either had a dominant role in the region’s economy, or a distinctive local feature. In the second half of the nineteenth century Cambridgeshire became a centre for supplying coprolites for the fertilizer industry. These were nuggets of phosphate, which many people at the time thought were the droppings of wild beasts or even extinct species. The village of Barrington was at the heart of this industry, which employed thousands of men women and children until the 1930s when richer sources of coprolites were found elsewhere. Its legacy remains in the surviving agrochemical industry in the area. The old Sun Inn at Saffron Walden in 1905 featuring decorative pargetting.