Lancashire County Council has agreed to continue to invest in the future of two of the most important industrial heritage sites in the country – Queen Street Mill in Burnley and Helmshore Mills Textile Museum in Rossendale.
At its cabinet meeting today (Thursday 11 July) additional funding was agreed, whilst the partnership led by the county council and the National Trust continues to explore options.
Ways in which the mills can generate income and minimise costs while also conserving the buildings and collections, and providing public benefit are also being considered by the partnership.
Grade I listed Queen Street Mill, which was featured in The King’s Speech and earlier this year in Mike Leigh’s Peterloo, is the last surviving steam powered weaving mill in the world.
Helmshore Mills, made up of Higher Mill and Whitaker’s Mill, are the only mills to still have their original working machinery in situ, with visitors able to see how raw wool and cotton were transformed into yarn ready for cloth to be woven more than a century ago.
The county council and the National Trust currently have a memorandum of understanding to work together to find solutions for the future of the mills, which were reopened to the public by the council after a short period of closure.
This will enable potential operators or partners, including local community groups and businesses, to understand how they can be part of the future of the mills.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “I’m pleased that the extra funding has been agreed. We want people to be able to enjoy and appreciate their immense cultural and historical significance. They are nationally significant assets and are a crucial part of Lancashire’s heritage and Britain’s industrial revolution.
“We will continue to explore all options to safeguard their long-term futures.”
More information about the museums is available at www.lancashire.gov.uk/museums.