Campaign launched to save historic mill

Queen Street Mill in Briercliffe.
Queen Street Mill in Briercliffe.

Plans to save Burnley’s unique site of world heritage – Queen Street Mill Museum – have been launched by campaigners.

As revealed in the Burnley Express, Lancashire County Council has identified Queen Street Mill in Harle Syke as one of the museums it could close as part of massive cost-cutting measures.

Helmshore and Queen Street keep alive the otherwise extinct process of cotton spinning and weaving in Lancashire – once the industrial heart of this country

Petition

The mill, home to the world’s last remaining original steam-powered looms, has been described by campaigners as “an absolute cornerstone of Lancashire’s rich industrial heritage.”

Campaigners have now launched a petition to save the mill, along with the Helmshore Textile Museum, which is also under threat.

The petition, addressed to the leader of Lancashire County Council Jennifer Mein, states: “Helmshore and Queen Street Mill Museums are the last working example of Lancashire cotton spinning and weaving in the world. They welcome thousands of local people, schoolchildren and tourists each year.

“Helmshore and Queen Street keep alive the otherwise extinct process of cotton spinning and weaving in Lancashire – once the industrial heart of this country.

“In these museums you can trace the history of weaving and spinning through the displays of spinning wheels and mules and weaving looms.

“They contain original machines, which are still in working order and demonstrated on a regular basis. They are recognised by Arts Council England in their designated scheme as being of outstanding national importance.”

Burnley borough councillor and local historian Roger Frost has already added his name to those opposing the closure of the museums, and urged the county council to reconsider.

Such is their authentic nature, both mills have been the shooting locations for major films and television series over the years , including Oscar-winning “The King’s Speech”, “North and South” and Sharpe”.

Lancashire County Council has just released a raft of massive budget cuts as it seeks to save millions of pounds following cuts to central government grants.

Libraries and subsidised bus services across the borough will also be targeted.

Around 40 of the county’s 74 libraries face closure.

Highways projects and street lighting will also be targeted along with some subsidised school transport.

Up to 370 full-time jobs could also be lost in the next two years. The job losses would be in addition to the 1,100 staff who have already left the authority, having taken voluntary redundancy since January 2014.

The proposals follow the announcement in August that the council will need to save an additional £262m. by April 2020, to tackle a funding gap caused by reduced government funding and rising demand for services.

This comes on top of £152m. savings announced in the three year budget agreed in February.

The additional cuts means that between 2011 and 2020 the council will have to have delivered savings of £685m.

County Coun. Jennifer Mein said: “These are the most challenging times for local government in living memory as we face the combination of relentless central government cuts and rising demand for our services, particularly those serving vulnerable people.”

To sign the petition online visit www.change.org/p/councillor-jennifer-mein-save-lancashire-s-mill-museums.