01 Sep '22

Mill’s arrival shatters peaceful village life

door Wim Troch
The decision for the Scheppers wool mill to be set up in Lot sounded the death knell for the farming village’s rural atmosphere.

By 1914 most of the 1.624 people working there were women, while a quarter of them were children. They were required to work hard for long hours (66 hours/week) and very low wages. No one even questioned the presence of child labour. The mill’s golden years arrived in the early 20th century, when the company succeeded in reaping major awards and earning international fame. The economic disruption that followed World War I dealt a serious blow to the business, when it had to contend with soaring raw material prices and dwindling orders. The mill went bankrupt for the first time in 1938. In common with so many places in the Rand, the traditional manufacturing industry has been replaced by jobs in the logistics and service sectors, but the industrial heritage has not been completely wiped out. Many remnants of the wool mill can still be seen in Lot.