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Name:Castle Soap Works, The Callis
HER Ref:MLE20904
Parish:Ashby-de-la-Zouch, North West Leicestershire, Leicestershire
Grid Reference:SK 3562 1702
Map:Coming soon

Monument Types

  • SOAP FACTORY (Late Post-medieval to Modern - 1890 AD? to 2014 AD?)


The soap works is shown on the 1904 OS map as the 'Castle Soap Works', the original buildings were constructed in the 1890s. The factory built at The Callis was apparently state of the art. They also took over the old Glue and Leather factory here. In 2011 when it closed it was known as the Standard Soap Co. Ltd.

Additional Information

<1> Hillier, Kenneth, 1984, The book of Ashby de la Zouch, p95 (Bibliographic reference). SLE626.

"In 1892 a new company was formed, which purchased the business of the late Hydroleine Company of Leicester, and transferred it to Leicester… Due to rapid progress, the Company erected a larger factory in the Callis, 'fitted with every modern and labour-saving appliance that experience can suggest. It is lit with Electricity, and to facilitate communication between the two factories a private Telephone Service has been inaugurated'. (The Callis building was burned down on 12 April, 1979). By 1904 they had taken over the Ashby Glue and Leather Works (Bindley's?)... In 1911 C H Parsons and Brothers Ltd took over, manufacturing, amongst other commodities, the famous brand of soap, 'The Witch'. Loubett and Company ran the firm for just a year, before they went into liquidation in 1923, and for the next ten years Ashby Soaps Ltd, renamed in 1928 The Standard Soap Company Ltd, tried to make the business a success. However, in 1933 they went into voluntary liquidation and were purchased by British Glues and Chemicals Ltd. In the 1950s products such as 'Personality Perfumed Soap Petals' re-established the firm's profitability, with exports worldwide. In 1968 the company Company was bought by Croda International Ltd, an international chemical group."

<2> Lane, A & Savage S A, 2013, Archaeological desk-based assessment and historic building survey, former Soap Factory, The Callis, Ashby-de-la-Zouch (Unpublished document). SLE4233.

The Castle Soap Works appear on the 1903 OS map, indicating a construction date in the 1890s for the original buildings, which were concentrated in the south-west corner of the current plot. The earliest plan probably dates from between 1910-20 (a note on the back of the plan gives the name CH Parsons Ltd, the company that owned the Soap Works from at least 1915). The plan shows the footprint of the original late C19th buildings. Further plans date from 1958, 1966, 1974 and the 1980s. Construction on the soapworks site continued into the 1990s - by this time the only surviving part of the early C19th soapwork buildings was part of Building L.

A Level 2 building survey was carried out in July/August 2013. The oldest soapworks building was Building L, which survived due to its use as an electricity substation. The other buildings on the site belong to the C20th soap factory, forming a mixed accumulation of structures spanning the period from the 1920s to the 1990s. Broadly speaking, the southwestern part of the site was occupied by administrative buildings (Buildings A and B – which also incorporated engineering workshops and stores, Canteen, First Aid Station and laboratories), while the manufacturing process began with raw chemicals stored at the southeast part of the site (Buildings J and I), which were made into materials (in Buildings H and I) which could be stored (Building B ground floor) and then feed the production lines which occupied the central part of the site, (Buildings C, D and F) before being packaged and stored in a warehouse at the northern part of the site (Building E).


<1>Bibliographic reference: Hillier, Kenneth. 1984. The book of Ashby de la Zouch. p95.
<2>Unpublished document: Lane, A & Savage S A. 2013. Archaeological desk-based assessment and historic building survey, former Soap Factory, The Callis, Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

Associated Finds

    None recorded


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