Arkwright Society shortlisted for prestigious national heritage award

Published Tue, Sep 20th 2016

The Arkwright Society’s recent restoration of Sir Richard Arkwright’s historic Grade I listed ‘Building 17’ at Cromford Mills has been shortlisted for one of the UK’s most prestigious heritage awards.

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The Arkwright Society’s recent restoration of Sir Richard Arkwright’s historic Grade I listed ‘Building 17’ at Cromford Mills has been shortlisted for one of the UK’s most prestigious heritage awards.
The project to transform the former mill building into the £6.7m Cromford Creative managed workspace scheme and Gateway Centre is one of four finalists in the category ‘Best Rescue of a Heritage Site’ at the Historic England Heritage Angel Awards 2016.
The Angel Awards were founded by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber in 2001 to celebrate the efforts of individuals and local groups all over the country who have put hours of hard work and dedication into saving derelict or damaged historic landmarks and bringing them back to life. Supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, the awards recognise those who champion their local heritage, sharing and practicing forgotten craft skills.  
The Arkwright Society took ownership of the complex of Grade I listed buildings on the derelict and abandoned Cromford Mills site 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 building 17, the largest mill building on the site, began in earnest in 2009 and in June 2016 the building was officially opened by HRH The Duke of Gloucester.
Cromford Creative, which occupies the four upper floors of the building, comprises 17 flexible office units spread over 8,000 ft2.
The new state-of-the-art Gateway tourist information hub is housed on the ground floor of the building. Visitors can find out what to see and do at each of the 17 designated sites within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site and receive a personal welcome from Sir Richard Arkwright himself, via the new ‘Arkwright Experience’ attraction.
The restoration project has resulted in the creation of a number of new jobs and has continued the sense of entrepreneurialism, innovation and creativity which so characterised Arkwright’s Mills in the 1700s.
Judges George Clarke and Emma Bridgewater, historians Bettany Hughes and David Olusoga and the Dean of Westminster, John Hall will now select an overall winner in each award category.  The public can also vote for the Angel they’d most like to win the 2016 Historic England Followers’ and Telegraph readers’ Favourite Award by visiting
The winners will be announced at the Historic England Angel Awards ceremony which is taking place at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End on 31 October.
The award categories have been expanded this year to celebrate the efforts of those who go to extraordinary lengths to protect, save and share their local heritage. They now include accolades for Best Research Project, Best Community Action Project, Best Contribution to a Heritage Project by Young People and Outstanding Contribution to Heritage, as well as Best Rescue of a Heritage Site, which the Arkwright Society has been nominated for.
Speaking of being shortlisted for this prestigious 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.
“Being at the heart of the Industrial Revolution, ‘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 impressive young people among those we are celebrating this year show that our historic places speak to all generations and that anyone can get involved in protecting and championing our heritage.”
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 stunning £50m regeneration and restoration masterplan for Cromford Mills which will see Cromford Mills transform into a multi-use sustainable heritage, cultural, tourism, and hospitality business destination.
The major funding partner is the Heritage Lottery Fund with a grant of £4 million. The European Regional Development Fund provided a grant of £1 million towards the Cromford Creative element of the project. The AIM Biffa Award National Heritage Landmarks Partnership Scheme is the major funding partner for the ‘Arkwright Experience’.
The other main funding partners for the overall project to transform the building, that was previously on Historic England’s at-risk register, are The Monument Trust, the Architectural Heritage Fund, The Garfield Weston Foundation, J P Getty Jr Charitable Trust, Headley Trust, Sylvia Waddilove Foundation, and The Wolfson Foundation.

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Arkwright Society shortlisted for prestigious national heritage award
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