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Surveying Heritage At Risk in the Weavers’ Triangle

The Weavers’ Triangle is the modern name for an once economically-vital historic area, now recognised as one of the finest industrial landscapes in the country, on the western edge of Burnley’s town centre.  Lying either side of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, the district accommodated the town’s principal 19th century spinning mills and weaving sheds and associated warehousing and foundries.  The canal – cut through the town and in use from 1801 – provided the means of transport for both the raw materials of cotton and coal and the finished textiles; it also brought the water for the steam engines that drove the mills’ machinery.  In the second half of the 19th century, Burnley became the most important cotton-weaving town in the world, reaching its zenith in the very first years of the 20th century.  However, following the Second World War, the industry and the area fell into terminal decline.  Many mills were demolished, while the remainder mostly became derelict.

The degree of abandonment within the area and the considerable scale of dereliction and disrepair have discouraged investment in its assets for years; yet, the centrality of its location and the importance of its heritage make its regeneration of paramount importance.  Supported with funding from English Heritage, Burnley Council appointed Heritage Places to undertake urgent works’ surveys of 11 redundant Grade II* and II listed mills and associated buildings in the Weaver’s Triangle to support its enforcement processes.  Our reports identified essential urgent action that was required to make the buildings wind, weathertight and structurally secure and to safeguard their significance until such time as regenerative investment can be attracted into the area.

Client: Burnley Metropolitan Borough Council