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The Built Environment

The unique character of the South Pennines results from the close interplay between its dramatic landscape and the rich built heritage of sturdy stone mills in the valleys and domestic terraces lining the hillside contours. In recent years there has been plenty of private interest in housing investment but the larger buildings such as chapels and mills have remained under threat.To counter this problem, Pennine Heritage has carried out a number of demonstration projects to encourage others to follow.

Birchcliffe Chapel described here was the Trust’s initial project.

Nutclough Mill, once the home of the Hebden Bridge Fustian Manufacturing Society Ltd, one of Europe’s foremost worker/producer co-operatives was abandoned and left to rot in the mid 1960’s. Scheduled for demolition in the 1980’s it was purchased by The Trust for £1.00 - though a further £1.2m had to be raised for its renovation and conversion to industrial units by a 1980’s job creation scheme to find work and on-the-job training for unemployed young people.

Today, the mill is fully occupied by Calrec Audio, an electronics company, not only safeguarding an important heritage building but also providing 150 local high-tech jobs.

Queen Street Mill, Burnley, following the success of the above project, Burnley Borough Council appointed The Trust as its agent to renovate and re-open Queen Street Mill as a Heritage Textile Visitor Centre. The original massive steam engine was retained and restored to power over 300 traditional Lancashire looms. A number of small workshops for rent were also created.

The completed project was eventually ‘re-opened’ by HRH Prince Charles and is today open to the public and operated by Lancashire County Council.

Clegg Hall, a Jacobean manor house dating from 1605, the former Slack Top Baptist Chapel near Heptonstall and many other smaller projects have also been carried out in partnership with others.