In celebration of National Mills Weekend, we’ve put together a list of the most impressive mill conversions in Yorkshire. These historic mills have been given a new lease of life as vibrant new leisure and entertainment spaces, whilst still retaining and celebrating their past.
Housed in what was once the world’s largest woollen mill, Armley Mills Industrial Museum showcases a wealth of gems located on the River Aire. Step back in time to learn about the industrial history of Leeds from manufacturing textiles and clothing, to printing, engineering and locomotives.
Given a new lease of life, Canal Mills on Brandon Street has been converted into a vibrant space for art, music and food, hosting many events all year round. They describe themselves as “a constantly evolving space for all mediums of creative output, from exhibitions, pop-up restaurants, live and electronic music events to fashion shows and theatre projects.” This weekend they are hosting ‘Grill at the Mill’ as part of Leeds Indie Food, and have a host of summer parties coming up.
One of the last remaining examples of a water-powered mill in Britain, Thwaite Mills is a full restored working mill situated on the River Aire. Nestled on an island, the area is a rich wildlife habitat with areas of water, woodland, scrub and gardens attracting many species. You can take a wander round the museum to find out all about the mills past and present.
Painstakingly converted, the impressive Dean Clough Mills in Halifax is now a space for art exhibitions, unique shops, a mix of delicious restaurants and bars, leisure facilities and flexible work areas. They also have a hotel on site, and are set to add apartments to their already fantastic conversion.
A brilliant addition to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Salts Mills provides a creative space for arts, dining and shopping, as well as independent businesses, in the beautiful town of Saltaire. They have numerous galleries, one currently showing a large David Hockney exhibition, unique independent stores, and a superb dining space.
Already a fantastic art gallery, The Hepworth in Wakefield converted Caddies Wainright Mill, a 19th century former textiles mill on the River Calder, into a contemporary art space adjacent to their main gallery. Named The Calder, the space opened in summer 2013 and has since been host to many inspiring exhibitions and events.
Amongst the many wonders at the Fountains Abbey Estate, you’ll find the Fountains Mill, built in the 12th century and one of the oldest buildings on the estate. Today the mill is an interactive exhibition where you can see historic objects discovered in the restoration, have a go at grinding some corn, and see the water wheel in action.