Following a report by Historic England into the demolition of mills in Greater Manchester, more are calling for Mill buildings to be preserved
After the report found that Salford has lost more than 60 per cent of its mills, Islington Mill in Salford has joined calls to preserve and restore mill buildings.
Islington Mill in Salford, is an example of an old mill building that has been re-purposed rather than demolished. The collection of 18th and 19th century buildings, which was originally built for cotton spinning in 1823, today acts as a cultural space, with many artists working in the mill.
Greg Thorpe, a fundraiser at Islington Mill said “I think that Salford and Manchester can draw on their industrial heritage to make for creative and artistic cities.
“There is no real difference between making cotton here as to making art here, I think that mills should remain places of productivity and creativity, the best way to celebrate your industrial heritage is to keep these buildings in use.
“Even Mills that are renovated into apartments, while that means the building survives, it also means that the buildings are essentially closed off to most of the population. Whereas here at Islington Mill we have events all year round, and anyone can come and rent a studio here”
“It really still belongs to the people of Salford, and I think that should be true for every mill building and historical building.”
WATCH: Greg Thorpe explains why he agrees with Historic England’s recommendation that Mills should not be demolished.
Historic England are calling for mills to be renovated and given new leases of life, rather than being torn down.
Charles Smith, Principal Adviser for Heritage at Risk for Historic England North West, outlined Historic England’s arguments for the preservation of mills saying “Firstly we know that people care, 85% of the public according to a YouGov pol think that mills shouldn’t be demolished and that they should be retained.
“Mills are absolutely fundamental to the culture, identity and landscape of much of the North West, particularly in Greater Manchester. There very much at the heart of communities, so its really important that these mills continue to play a part in peoples lives in the 21st century.
WATCH: Charles Smith outlines Mills that have been successfully renovated in Greater Manchester
To find out more about the University of Salfords report, you can read an in-depth summary here: https://content.historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/historic-textile-mills-greater-manchester/greater-manchester-textile-mills-survey-exec-summary.pdf/