The Bocholt Textile Works consists of two sites lying within sight of each other on either side of the River Aa. The replicas of the weaving mill and old Herding spinning mill are typical for the region.
Bocholt, a textile town.
The spinning and weaving of cotton has a long tradition in Bocholt. For more than 450 years, the fibre, which had to be imported from overseas, shaped the economic life of Bocholt and the entire region. The industry boomed between 1870 and the First World War, when Bocholt had up to 80 textile companies, at times employing up to 10,000 people.
In 1984, in the middle of the structural crisis, the LWL council decided to set up a textile museum. Because an original building was not available at the time, they decided to reconstruct a typical weaving mill from the turn of the century. In 1989 the opening of the museum was celebrated on the River Aa.
In 2004, the Westphalia-Lippe Regional Council purchased the four-storey brick building of the Herding spinning mill as the second part of its textile museum. This was made possible with financial support from the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the district of Borken, the city of Bocholt and the Bocholt municipal savings bank. Conversion work began in 2009 with funds from the "Economic Stimulus Package II". Since the opening of the spinning mill in September 2011, the textile museum with its two locations has been operating under the name "TextilWerk Bocholt".
The history of the Herding "Spinn-Web"
The Herding spinning and weaving mill is a typical example of a textile factory during the thriving years in Bocholt. A hand weaving mill was the nucleus of what was for a time one of the largest textile companies in the town. It was founded in 1870 by Heinrich Schüring and his brother-in-law Max Herding.
After 1900, when it was considered worthwhile for textile works to enlarge their own spinning mill capacities during the years of high yarn prices, Max Herding junior decided to build a spinning mill adjacent to the existing weaving mill. For this purpose he chose the architectural office Sequin & Knobel in Rüti near Zurich.
The façade of the four-storey building dating back to 1907, with its representative water tower, faced the town centre in order to proclaim the ambitious new company:
With almost 600 looms and 23,600 spindles, the Herding "Spinnweb", as the locals called it, was one of the largest textile companies in Bocholt for many years.
In 1943 the part of the works facing the street was destroyed in an air raid along with the water tower. In 1949/50 it was rebuilt in sober forms without the tower. In the early 1960s the crisis set in. Because it was a worsted spinning and weaving mill, the new owners were able to continue production in a reduced form until 1973. After that, all the halls were cleared, the machines were sold and sent for scrap and the space was rented out as a warehouse.
Traces of work and modern usage
The works were converted into a museum and cultural forum in 2004 under the direction of the renowned Stuttgart architectural office ATELIER BRÜCKNER. Their aim was to clearly show the traces of the work and the 100-year history of the building. On all four floors a "dialogue" has been developed between its current use and the historical stock. Flaking layers of paint and worn concrete floors have been deliberately left untouched to contrast with modern fixtures, primarily the red steel staircase that has been inserted into a 20-metre-high rope walk, as well as clear cube-like structures to house the shop and service areas, not forgetting the catering area on the roof. The new bistro with its roof terrace is literally a “high-light” of the conversion. At night, the illuminated glass cube can be seen from far and wide. From its lofty heights visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view over the entire town. Steel bars in front of the glass facade allude to textile structures; shed roofs as skylights are a quotation from the factory architecture in the immediate vicinity.