Monday, 22 April 2019

Dean Clough

Once the world's largest carpet factory, Dean Clough in Halifax is, like Salts Mill in Saltaire, a triumph not only of the Industrial Revolution but also of the entrepreneurial vision of men in more recent times. As with Salts Mill, one of those men was the late Jonathan Silver.

The carpet factory, Crossley's, opened in the mid-1800s and closed in 1983. It was then bought by Sir Ernest Hall, along with the young Jonathan Silver, who began to develop it as a business and cultural complex. The partnership between the two men did not last long as they had very different ways of working. Jonathan left and in 1987 he bought and began to develop Salts Mill with a similar vision.

(There's another connection too. In 1866 Titus Salt Jnr married Catherine Crossley, daughter of the Halifax carpet magnate, Joseph Crossley, joining the two great textile dynasties.)

Nowadays the complex of mills holds over 150 different businesses with over 4000 employees. There is a hotel, a theatre and several gallery spaces, restaurants, a gym and retail premises. It is a busy working environment and a tourist attraction, with over 60,000 visitors a year.

It has certain similarities to Salts Mill on the exterior but is not as ornate. Though larger in total area, it was in fact several different mills in its heyday. Inside it has a rough industrial vibe in parts but it is divided into much smaller spaces and feels more contemporary. It has lost the sense of a Victorian mill, which Salts Mill still proudly capitalises on.


  1. It must have been quite a sight when such a huge building was under construction.

  2. It is certainly very fine. If you think away the Victorian tower, the windows give this building a very modern look.

  3. It is good to see the old buildings reused like that!

  4. Thanks so much for the historic background, which I'd never have known. Good B&W photos, which stress the structure.