Bell Mill Visitor Centre

Client: Historic Scotland

The Category A Listed Bell Mill at Stanley Mills, dating from 1784, is the most important example of an Arkwright Mill surviving in Scotland and its use and history is made manifest in its fabric. Working on behalf of Historic Scotland for over twelve years, LDN carried out an exemplary programme of conservation work that allows the history and significance of the building to be revealed as well as providing essential accommodation necessary to its use as an industrial museum.

The new accommodation in the Mill includes education and community spaces as well as contemplative spaces and interactive exhibitions about the history of Stanley Mills and the building itself. LDN’s approach was to make minimum interventions into the historic fabric but, where necessary, to do so in a sympathetically contemporary manner, using an industrial aesthetic that expresses them clearly as new work rather than historic.

All new services, including heating, plumbing and sprinkler systems, were surface mounted on the historic fabric to prevent damage of the fabric and were carefully co-ordinated to be discrete as possible. The whole of the timber structure of the mill, which had suffered badly from wet and dry rot, was repaired using holistic techniques that avoided the need for any chemical treatments.

We worked with a wide range of specialists including an industrial archaeologist, accesses consultant, interpretive designer, rot and infestation consultant and collections conservators and met the needs of approximately twenty officers of Historic Scotland who made up the client team.

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