Hilden Mill : Urban Decay

Through the Mill, a series of thought-provoking images captures a living history of aspects of Lisburn’s industrial past. A two hundred year story ended in 2006 with the closure of Hilden Mill. All images captured with the permission of the property owner.


Photography Exhibition : Hilden Mill

‘Through the Mill’, a final chapter, offers us a unique opportunity to see the mill as it is now and a chance to imagine something of the lives of generations of mill workers. The images challenge us to consider our heritage – what has gone before, what will never return, what is our legacy, and what will become of an architectural and industrial landmark on our doorstep?

“Overall the images seem to capture the past and the present. Brickwork and tiling, bits of machinery, cog wheels and painted factory rooms, mixed with the detritus of littered newspapers, decaying décor and the weeds starting to bring new life into the abandoned spaces.” Alan Mayban.

‘This series transcends location, with its images capturing urban decay, the natural world and the minutiae of our daily routine, challenging us to consider the supposed silence of the past and our place in the present’.

The exhibition ran from :  Wed 13 Oct – Sat 23 Oct 2010 at the Island Arts Centre, Lisburn Civic Centre The Island Lisburn BT28 4RL

It was a privilege to have Peter McCauley perform at the opening night.

Lisburn Island Centre Online Gallery

About Hilden Mill

Barbour Threads Lisburn, a renowned textile company, has a rich history that dates back to the early 18th century. Founded in 1784 by John Barbour, this Northern Irish enterprise began as a linen thread manufacturer in Lisburn, County Antrim. The company quickly gained recognition for its high-quality linen threads, which were in great demand for sewing and weaving during the Industrial Revolution.

In the 19th century, Hilden Mill expanded its operations, catering to the booming textile industry in the United Kingdom and beyond. Their reputation for producing strong and durable threads made them a preferred choice among textile manufacturers. The company played a crucial role in supporting the growth of the linen industry, which was a cornerstone of Northern Ireland’s economy during this period.

As time passed, Hilden Mill adapted to changing market dynamics. They diversified their product range to include threads for various applications, such as sewing, embroidery, and industrial use. Today, Hilden Mill remains a key player in the global textile industry, producing high-quality threads that are used in diverse sectors, including fashion, upholstery, and automotive manufacturing.

Throughout its history, Hilden Mill has upheld a commitment to quality and innovation, making it a respected name in the world of textiles and a testament to the enduring legacy of craftsmanship in Northern Ireland.

Lisburn’s linen tradition dates back centuries, with the city once at the heart of Northern Ireland’s linen industry. Renowned for its high-quality linen production, Lisburn’s mills produced fabrics that graced royal courts worldwide. Today, this heritage is celebrated through museums and events, preserving the legacy of this historic trade.

Urban Decay

Urban decay photography or urban exploration photography is a genre of photography that focuses on capturing the beauty of abandoned and decaying urban environments. This style of photography seeks to document the forgotten and neglected spaces within cities, including abandoned buildings, factories, hospitals, and other structures.

Urban decay photography is not just about capturing the physical deterioration of urban environments; it also serves as a commentary on issues like urbanisation, economic decline, and the impermanence of human structures. It has gained popularity as it reveals the hidden beauty in decayed and forgotten places.

2 Comments Hilden Mill : Urban Decay

  1. James Harvey November 19, 2023 at 7:10 pm

    I stumbled across this from a Fujifilm link somewhere. I have recently crossed to Fujifilm from nearly 30 years with Canon and it has just reinvigorated my photography. I Love your photos. I was born in Lambeg near Hilden and these of the Mill are like a throwback for me. In fact I think I am right that my mum briefly worked for Barbours.

    Can I ask you the main simulation used? I’m guessing it was bleach bypass or a some variation of of it. It’s what I would use!

    1. FlixelPix November 20, 2023 at 8:42 pm

      Mostly I use some presets for Adobe Lightroom. I used to make them available via the site but it became a bit of a pain to be honest.


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