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The Heart of the Mill

There really isn’t much left in the Hilden Mill. Many of the ceilings have disintegrated and hang precariously from rotten beams. Paint flakes from damp walls and ivy pours from broken windows.

Yet as I wander around the old mill I suddenly discover the untouched, a coffee table littered with magazines dated from 2005, a cardigan clad chair sat lonely as if the factory was evacuated in an instant.

A number of offices still contain filing cabinets emptied only by vandals and the nosey. Given it is four years since Barbour  Threads closed it makes you wonder what it was like in the weeks and months just after it ceased functioning.

The Office

Most of the wooden floors have been removed. Bangor slates remain only on the buildings too high for casual visitors to risk reaching. Many of the walls feature ceramic tiles that reflect what little light that passes through broken the windows and doors.

Tiled Walls
In one area a desk features family photo frames, calculators, faded post-it notes and drawers filled with coloured attachments apparently used to stop the thread from tangling.

The Drawers

Despite the odd pocket of life the majority of the site lies deceased, slowly falling down while it quietly waits to be regenerated and revived. The Mill has been in existence  since before 1800 and strangely it is the oldest of the buildings that appeared to be the most solid with stunning brick work, clearly built with patience and accuracy.


From a personal point of view I completed a design project in the Mill during the mid 1990s and although I visited the site on about a dozen occasions I was unable to recognise the mill in its current  state of demise.

The Lift

The site closed in 2006 and even after four years the white walls appear pure, glowing in the airy light of glass roofed corridors. Most the walls were painted either teal or navy to the mid-point with the remainder of the walls and ceilings being pure white.

The Corridor

I expected a completely clear site void of any evidence it was a working mill yet racks of thread, spools, and gears still litter the large factory floors.


The cardigan hanging over the seat in what appeared to be a makeshift factory coffee area is certainly the eeriest of discoveries. If you recognise it I am sorry to say  you have just missed your chance to recover it.

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Tags: , , Last modified: November 1, 2013