Major Cromford Mills project up for top gong

The Duke of Gloucester helped open Building 17 in June.

The Duke of Gloucester helped open Building 17 in June.

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The recent restoration of part of Cromford Mills has been shortlisted for one of the UK’s most prestigious heritage awards.

The £6.7million project to transform the largest mill building on the site is one of four finalists in a category at the Historic England Heritage Angel Awards 2016.

The Arkwright Society took ownership of the complex of Grade I-listed buildings in the early 1980s and began fundraising to bring the site back to its former glory with the aim of reinstating it as a place of public use.

The project to restore huge Building 17 began in 2009 and in June it was officially opened by the Duke of Gloucester.

Cromford Creative, which occupies the four upper floors of the building, comprises 17 flexible office units.

The new state-of-the-art Gateway tourist information hub is housed on the ground floor of the building.

There, visitors can find out what to see and do at each of the 17 designated sites within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

The restoration project has resulted in the creation of a number of new jobs.

Speaking of being shortlisted for the prestigious Best Rescue of a Heritage Site award, Sarah McLeod, chief executive of the Arkwright Society, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that the hard work and dedication shown by the Arkwright Society to bring such an amazing piece of our local heritage back to life has been recognised with a nomination for an Angel award.

“Building 17 at Cromford Mills is one of the most culturally important buildings in the region.

“Preserving the rich history of Cromford is of upmost importance to us and we will continue to strive to protect this significant heritage 
site.”

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, added: “This year’s shortlist shows that heritage angels come in many guises and all are dedicated to saving and sharing our spectacular historic environment.”

The Arkwright Society is an educational charity devoted to the rescue of industrial heritage buildings in Cromford.

The restoration of Building 17 represents the first phase of a £50million regeneration and restoration masterplan for the wider Cromford Mills site.

The major funding partner is the Heritage Lottery Fund with a grant of £4m.