VISITS

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Swan House

This building has been converted into flats, but it was originally built for the processing of feathers for pillow cases. Geese had been kept on the local fens for centuries, and their feathers were plucked twice a year and purified by heat in factories like this before being used to stuff the pillows of the rich.

The first feather factory on this site burned down (see below) and this building was put up in its place in 1877.

It was built by F. S. Anderson & Co., and very unusually for Victorian times this company was named after a woman. The Anderson family had been in the feather business for many years and by the time the factory was rebuilt the widowed Mrs Frances Susannah Anderson had succeeded her husband as head of the firm. In the picture below the swan has been taken down, I don’t know the reason why but it could have been just for cleaning or perhaps during World War Two for safety from bombing. The feather factory continued in use until the middle of the 20th century and was latterly run by Fogarty & Co.

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