The north’s historic textile mills are disappearing fast despite massive public support against demolition, Historic England said today.

Almost half across Greater Manchester alone have been lost since the 1980s, Salford has lost 66% and Bradford has seen more than 100 fires at historic mills since 2010, said a new report by the public body that champions and protects England’s historic places.

But a survey found 90% of respondents in England believe mills are an important part of the nation’s heritage, story and character.

And 85% said they do not want to see them demolished or replaced, according to the poll of 2,000 adults by YouGov for Historic England.

In Huddersfield some mills have been transformed such as Titanic Mills in Linthwaite which has been transformed into luxury flats and a spa and Globe mills in Slaithwaite which is undergoing a multi-million pound project to transform it into retail units, an artisan hall, cafe, open space and doctor’s surgery.

Huddersfield aerial pix - Titanic Mill, Linthwaite, while it was being redeveloped

Catherine Dewar, Historic England’s Planning Director in the North West said: “With their ability to accommodate wonderful homes, workplaces and cultural spaces, our historic mill buildings deserve a future and should not be destroyed.

“They helped make us who we are in the north of England and have a profound impact on the physical and cultural landscape.

“Mills have so much to offer in terms of space, character and identity.

“By shining a light on successful regeneration projects we hope to inspire others to recognise the potential of our former industrial buildings and start a conversation about their future.”

The dark “Satanic” mills made famous in William Blake’s poem Jerusalem, were the original ‘Northern Powerhouse’ making England the workshop of the world during the Industrial Revolution.

They came to define the north’s urban landscape, but hundreds have been lost forever and hundreds more stand derelict and neglected across Yorkshire.

Historic England want public support to galvanise owners and developers to see the potential historic mills can offer for conversion instead of demolition.

Its report estimates there is 1,996,597 square metres of vacant floor space in textile mills across Greater Manchester and Lancashire - equivalent to 25,000 new homes.

More information is available at