Driving Northern Growth Through Repurposing Historic Mills

Textile mills were the original Northern Powerhouse. From the late 18th century onwards, they drove forward the industrial revolution. They triggered technical innovation, stimulated new trade and transformed the transport network. Silk, cotton and woollen production shaped the landscape, economy and communities of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Yorkshire. However, with the 20th century decline in national textile manufacturing, many of these monumental and characterful buildings face uncertain futures.

This document re-assesses the re-use potential of under-used and vacant mills, identifies their possible contribution to rebalancing the country’s economy and improving environmental sustainability, and highlights regeneration success stories since 2017.

The 2021 update is based on a more detailed technical assessment by Cushman & Wakefield.

Engines of Prosperity, new uses for old mills

The 2016 and 2017 reports feature the following key elements:

  • A review of best practice mills conversions
  • Assessments of re-use potential of under-used/vacant mills
  • Key lessons learned and recommended next steps

Read the reports

Additional Information

  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 8 (Report); 19 (technical note)


If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
Email: [email protected]