HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO visited Cromford Mills for a tour of the new £6.7m Cromford Creative managed workspace scheme and Gateway information hub, a new visitor gateway to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
On arrival at Cromford Mills, the Duke was escorted from his car by Cadet Warrant Officer Damien Simpson, before being welcomed by children from Cromford Primary school who were dressed in period costume.
He was met by Arkwright Society chief executive Sarah McLeod, chairman David Williams, before being escorted to review the ground-breaking restoration work to bring Building 17 back into public use.
He was then introduced to contractors and architects for the scheme, along with members of staff and tenants, before unveiling a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion.
Commenting on the visit, Sarah McLeod, chief executive of the Arkwright Society, said:
“Being at the heart of the Industrial Revolution, ‘Building 17’ at Cromford Creative is one of the most culturally important buildings in the region and we are proud to have welcomed HRH The Duke of Gloucester to see the fabulous restoration work that has been carried out.
“The restored Building 17 will continue the sense of entrepreneurialism, innovation and creativity that characterised Arkwright’s mills and we look forward to showcasing the results of the restoration project which was the culmination of years of hard work by so many people.”
Cromford Creative represents the first phase of a stunning £50m regeneration and restoration masterplan for Cromford Mills by the Arkwright Society. This will transform Cromford Mills into a multi-use sustainable heritage, cultural, tourism and hospitality business and enterprise destination.
Cromford Creative, which opened in March, has introduced a viable new use for Sir Richard Arkwright’s ‘Building 17’, one of the historic Grade I listed buildings at Cromford Mills. The scheme, which occupies the four upper floors of the building, comprises 17 flexible office units spread over 8,000 ft2.
The new state-of-the-art Gateway information hub is housed on the ground floor of the building. Visitors can find out what is available at each of the 17 designated sites within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Visitors also receive a personal welcome from Sir Richard Arkwright himself, via the new ‘Arkwright Experience’ attraction.
The projects were made possible by funds raised by the Arkwright Society, a charity devoted to restoring historic buildings in Cromford.
The major funding partner is the Heritage Lottery Fund with a grant of £4 million. The European Regional Development Fund provided a grant of £1 million towards the Cromford Creative element of the project. The AIM Biffa Award National Heritage Landmarks Partnership Scheme is the major funding partner for the ‘Arkwright Experience’.
The other main funding partners for the overall project to transform the building, which was previously on Historic England’s at-risk register, are The Monument Trust, the Architectural Heritage Fund, The Garfield Weston Foundation, J P Getty Jr Charitable Trust, Headley Trust, Sylvia Waddilove Foundation, and The Wolfson Foundation.
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