Dalton Mills in Keighley 'to be brought back into beneficial use' after devastating fire last month

Historic England says it is working with Bradford Council to bring a fire-ravaged mill “back into beneficial use for the area.”

In early March a blaze at Keighley’s Dalton Mills 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.

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

Dalton Mills fireDalton Mills fire
Dalton Mills fire

At lunchtime on March 3, 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 noone was injured in the incident, although the aftermath revealed the devastating impact the fire had on the mill, which dates back to the 1860s.

Scenes from Peaky Blinders and Downton Abbey were filmed at the site.

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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.

After initial difficulties in contacting the owner, businessman Paul Harris, the council has opened a dialogue with him about maintaining the mill.

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

Some of the complex's ancillary buildings, which were not damaged in the fire, have already been converted into offices and workspaces.

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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.

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“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.