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Engines of Prosperity: new uses for old 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 Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire. However, with the 20th century decline in national textile manufacturing, many of these monumental and characterful buildings face uncertain futures.

Historic England engaged Cushman & Wakefield and Lathams Architects to review and develop best practice in the regeneration of textile mills. The West Yorkshire study was published on 30 June 2016 and the North West study was published on 20 November 2017.

The studies comprise 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

The reports highlight the opportunity for vacant and under-used mills in the regions to act as a stimulus for regeneration activity and to contribute to growth in the local economy.

Additional Information

  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 80 (North West full report), 2 (North West summary), 84 (West Yorkshire full report), 2 (West Yorkshire summary)

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