The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded £746,000 to rejuvenate the Grade II listed Islington Mill in Salford, Greater Manchester.

Speaking at the Built Environment Networking Mills Development Conference, David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund hailed Islington Mill Arts Club, for their innovative project – ‘Threading the Heritage of Islington Mill: The Living Story’ – to bring a new lease of life to the buildings originally built for cotton spinning in 1823.

Islington Mill is already a well-established hub for arts and culture and a valued community asset for Salford and beyond and is a shining example of how the fortunes of derelict and underused mills can be turned around.

The new funding will allow for urgent repairs to the fabric of the buildings, salvaging the mill from further deterioration and safeguarding its future in time for its 200th anniversary in 2023. The capital works will ensure that the artist studios can continue to breed creativity and that derelict areas will be rejuvenated to make even more space available for artists and businesses and grow the emerging talent network the mill is home to, whilst also enhancing its financial viability.

While the capital works are key to ensuring Islington Mill’s future, the project will also host a wide range of events and activities for visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the Grade II listed site’s heritage and showcase it to new audiences.

Throughout its history, the Mill has been a venue that stands for social change and entrepreneurialism, and through the creation of their new Living Story, Islington Mill will explore three key themes, the 200 year story of industrial and social heritage associated with the site, the story of the people and products associated with the site and the relationship between clothing and identity explored through the site’s history.

David Renwick, Director of England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Across the UK there is an abundance of mills, and our funding is incredibly important for those that hold significant heritage for the nation and stories about people and communities that continue to inspire us all today. We’re delighted to have awarded funding to safeguard the future of Islington Mill and ensure that this example of one of our industrial relics – just some of the remnants of the giant industrial complex that once covered the North of England – can continue to thrive as a sustainable business and community hub.”

As well as the grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project has received money from Arts Council England, Salford City Council and over £500,000 raised by Islington Mill itself through its communities of friends and supporters in an artist-led fundraising campaign.

Bill Campbell, Director and Founder of Islington Mill, said: “Islington Mill has been a home for creative entrepreneurs for 200 years. This award signals our collective intent that the building, and its surrounds, will continue to host creativity for the next 200 years. 2020 is the year we begin to deliver our collective legacy by establishing Salford as a destination for creative practitioners and thinkers, and a Cultural Land Trust leader in the UK.”

Maurice Carlin, artist and Director at Islington Mill added: “Islington Mill is sustained by, and thrives off, the collective energy, ideas and opportunities brought by artists. I am one of many artists who made artworks to raise funds for the Mill. Together we raised over £100,000 which is a phenomenal achievement by any standards. This latest funding success will secure a long future for the finest surviving heritage building of its kind in the region, in perpetuity for generations more artists to come, guarding against the developing gentrification that has occurred in other urban centres and ensuring artists have affordable studio space and a creative atmosphere in Salford in which to flourish.”


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