East Midlands Industrial Archaeology Conference

EMIAC 95: Keeping One in Suspenders! - 6th October 2018

What is EMIAC?

EMIAC, East Midlands Industrial Archaeology Conference, comprises societies from across the East Midlands region. In addition to NIAG, the other members are (see the Links page for contact details):

  • Derbyshire Archaeology Society
  • Leicestershire Industrial History Society
  • North-East Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology Society
  • Railway & Canal Historical Society - East Midlands Group
  • Society for Lincolnshire History & Archaeology

Each of the societies takes it in turn to organise a Heritage Day in their locality.

Heritage Days are held twice a year and are open to anyone with an interest in IA or related historical subjects. The first meeting was held in 1970 with the idea of enabling industrial archaeologists in the East Midlands to get together in different locations to consider topics of mutual interest. No formal organisation exists; the secretaries from each of the organisations meet on a regular basis.


Notes of recent events can be found on the EMIACs Past page.


Cooling towers at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station

The Old Grammar School, Market Harborough.


Image courtesy of Leicestershire Industrial History Society.

Conference Programme

The next Heritage Day is being organised by Leicestershire Industrial History Society and will be held on Saturday 6th October 2018 in Market Harborough.

The conference programme is:

09:00 Registration and coffee

09:30 Welcome

09:35 Market Harborough: The industries of a market town.

10:30 The Symington Brothers 'From Soup to Suspenders'

11:15 Break

11:45 Rebuilding the Old Grammar School

12:45 EMIAC Business Meeting

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Foxton Lock and the Harborough Arm

14:45 Afternoon tours:

either 1. A walking tour round the centre of Market Harborough to view various industrial buildings. The walk is approximately 2 miles and lasts about 1½ hours.

or     2. Foxton Locks. Drive approx. 5 miles to Foxton locks car park in own car (car park charges apply) to view locks, former incline plane and museum (entrance fee not included). The lock gates have recently been replaced and this is an opportunity to see the restoration.

or     3. Visit the Market Harborough Museum located in the Old Symington Corset factory (within walking distance). The museum celebrates Market Harborough’s long history as a centre of trade and industry in the heart of the Welland Valley at the crossroads between Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. It also houses the famous Hallaton Treasure, one of the most important iron age discoveries in Britain. Admission to the Museum is free.

16:30 Close of conference.

Cost of event: £15.00.

Click here for the booking form.

First mentioned in the 12th Century with its name derived from Haver Burgh (oat hill), it could be described as a medieval new town with a wide High Street and wide open town square to contain the regular markets and The Old Grammar School (1614) which has become a symbol of the town. During the English Civil War the town was plundered by Prince Rupert and in 1645 Charles I made the town his headquarters before the Battle of Naseby.

As the road system improved with the introduction of turnpiking, the town prospered as an important horse-interchange point and many coaching inns were established. Twenty six coaches a day and many wagons passed through the Angel Hotel alone and, in its heyday, there was accommodation for 90 horses, more than any other place in Leicestershire. The town was linked to the canal network in 1809 and by 1850 the railway from Rugby had opened, followed by connections to main towns in the East Midlands.

Our EMIAC day will look at the industries which flourished in Market Harborough, the restoration of The Old Grammar School and the canal system which linked the town before the railways to the rest of Britain.