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Historic England hopes to bring Dalton Mill 'back into beneficial use'

Friday, April 15th, 2022 1:36pm

By Chris Young, Local Democracy Reporter

A national heritage body says it is working with Bradford Council to bring a fire ravaged mill in Keighley back into beneficial use for the area.

In early March a blaze at Dalton Mill left much of the Grade II-listed building as little more than a shell.

But now Historic England says it is looking at the next steps for what remains of the mill building, and hopes at least some of the building can be retained.

It says repurposing such mills can be “key to the future” of West Yorkshire.

At lunchtime on 3rd March, fire spread through the Dalton Lane mill, leading to surrounding businesses being evacuated, streets closed and over 100 firefighters from 20 stations being called in to tackle the inferno.

Thankfully no-one was injured in the incident, although the aftermath revealed the devastating impact the fire had on the mill, which dates back to the 1860s.

Although many may not have realised it, Dalton Mill would be familiar with TV viewers across the world thanks to its use as a filming location.

Scenes from Peaky Blinders and Downton Abbey were filmed at the site. And many of the key scenes in 2016 thriller Limehouse Golem were filmed inside the mill. Such was the mill’s significance that news of the fire even made it onto American TV and film news websites.

Two weeks after the fire, Bradford Council revealed that after discussions with Historic England engineers with a specialism in historic building, the building was not in such a perilous state that it needed demolishing.

They did add that discussions of the future of the building would “take some time.”

Asked for an update on the mill this week, a spokesperson for Historic England said: “Dalton Mill in Keighley is a Grade II-listed mill which has been on the Heritage At Risk Register for a number of years.

“As a hugely significant piece of Keighley’s heritage, we are keen to use our skill and expertise at Historic England to help Bradford Council in assessing the damage caused by the fire and the next steps for Dalton Mill.

“Our specialist structural engineer is currently supporting the Council in understanding the immediate risk to the building.

“Going forward, we will continue to work with them, discussing how we can bring the mill back into sustainable and beneficial use for the local area.

“Historic mills are at the heart of West Yorkshire’s rich past and re-purposing them holds a key to its future.

“Enormous, distinctive, character-filled places, they are the original northern powerhouses, playing a fundamental role in shaping the culture, economy and fabric of the region.”

Shortly after the fire, five youths were arrested on suspicion of arson. They have all been released under investigation, pending further enquiries.

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