The mill was built in 1797 and was used to process and spin yarn, making products such as uniforms for troops fighting in the Napoleonic wars. The flax business declined in the 1870s and eventually the mill closed in 1886. It was then converted into maltings, which traded for a nearly a century before again closing – and the mill fell into disrepair.
The site contains 18th and 19th-century buildings, including the world’s first iron-framed building – a forerunner of the skyscraper. Nine buildings on the site are listed and of international architectural, archaeological and historical significance.
The project aims to restore seven of the listed buildings and transform the site into a multi-use complex, with a range of commercial, visitor and community uses. A site master plan envisages further phases of restoration and development to incorporate the remaining buildings, following the HLF-supported project.
The project is the first and most substantive of three planned phases of works that are planned to complete the overall vision for the site.