Mills of the North
Textile mills are fundamental to the history, culture and landscape of the North of England. From Bolton to Blackburn, Bradford to Leeds, they were the workshop of the world. Sadly, the North’s historic mills are rapidly being lost.
45% of Greater Manchester’s historic mills have been destroyed since the 1980s and there have been over 100 fires at historic mills in Bradford alone since 2010.
But we know that people care. A YouGov poll tells us that 90% of adults believe mills are an important part of England’s heritage, story and character.
What future for historic mills?
Hundreds of mills across Lancashire, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire stand empty, underused and neglected. But they could be powerhouses for growth in the 21st century. The vacant space they contain could accommodate around 52,000 new homes or host 280,000 new jobs.
Successful conversions prove that mills can have new and exciting uses. Houses, offices, shops, restaurants, art galleries and even an NHS outpatients’ department are among many imaginative re-uses.
These mills are ours. Those that still stand, stand for our history and our future. We believe they can inspire us, house us and employ us once more.
How we support industrial heritage
- Read our reports about new uses for old mills in West Yorkshire and the North West
- Read our survey findings about Greater Manchester's surviving mills
- Read our blogs about inspiring mill conversions in West Yorkshire and the North West
- See more on our work to save Industrial Heritage at Risk
- Find out how heritage can support delivery of the Northern Powerhouse
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Historic England calls for industrial mill buildings to be at the centre of regeneration
Also of interest...
According to our research, listed industrial buildings are more at risk than almost any other kind of heritage.
Historic England is calling for mill buildings to be converted to new uses. Read this and other local heritage stories in the Yorkshire region.
Heritage at Risk 2018 is now launched. Read about this and other local heritage news across the North West region.
Guest contributors debate how heritage can strengthen the delivery of the Northern Powerhouse objectives.