Kane Carding Co. is a name well know to many rural spinners and weavers. Owned and run by Frits and Anne Vink, the company carded wool for home spinners and craftspeople from 1969 to 1992. The original Napier Woollen Mills were established in 1901 in a steep gully on the northern side of the Napier Hill. The old brick buildings are alongside a steep and narrow road that goes by the unlikely name of Main St.

 

Most photographs can be enlarged by left-clicking.

 

This is 1911 and a 'Mahony's' dray is loaded up with with the 1st shipment of tweeds manufactured at the then 'Napier Woollen Company, Main Street, Napier. The four managers are standing in the office entrance

This is 1911 and a 'Mahony's' dray is loaded up with with the 1st shipment of tweeds manufactured at the then 'Napier Woollen Company, Main Street, Napier. The four managers are standing in the office entrance

 

This 1943 photo shows a distinct lack of males- they were all away at war!But the clickety-clack of the weaving looms making 'Homeleigh' & 'Pania of the Reef' blankets could be clearly heard  up and down Main St. all day long. The mill shut down full operations in the 1950's.

This 1943 photo shows a distinct lack of males- they were all away at war!But the clickety-clack of the weaving looms making 'Homeleigh' & 'Pania of the Reef' blankets could be clearly heard up and down Main St. all day long. The mill shut down full operations in the 1950's.

 

The historic red brick buildings (some missing now) are today still tucked away in Onepoto Gully on Napier's hill.  The mill is nestled below towering old gum trees, home for many birds filling the air with songs each day.

The historic red brick buildings (some missing now) are today still tucked away in Onepoto Gully on Napier's hill. The mill is nestled below towering old gum trees, home for many birds filling the air with songs each day.

 

In 1969, Frits Vink saw the now

In 1969, Frits Vink saw the now "Old Mill Napier", and with a dream in his heart bought the then neglected old buildings and began a lifetime's work. First making the mill home for "Kane Carding Company", a handcraft wool business, the mill then became home for Frits & his Canadian wife Anne, a weaver. Together they developed a big export business and in 1986 an Indoor Riding Arena for Anne's dressage coaching.Today it is a place for much more...

 

The original brick walls of the Carding & Spinning Rooms  with 'signage' as they were still in 1977.

The original brick walls of the Carding & Spinning Rooms with 'signage' as they were still in 1977.

 

Platt wool carding machines made in Oldham, Surrey. Photos show the cards before and after sandblasting the

Platt wool carding machines made in Oldham, Surrey. Photos show the cards before and after sandblasting the "whitewashed' buildings!

 

In 1980 Frits and Anne sandblasted the 1923

In 1980 Frits and Anne sandblasted the 1923 "Loomshed" to house the growing carding operation. Finally the building was ready for the installation of the three 'antique' 1890's Platt Carding machines!

 

The original Courtyard & brick 'Woolscour' built c 1912. Bricks were manufactured at the Brickworks around the corner in Hyderabad Road!

The original Courtyard & brick 'Woolscour' built c 1912. Bricks were manufactured at the Brickworks around the corner in Hyderabad Road!