Pendle Enterprise and Regeneration Ltd (PEARL) | Heritage
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Heritage

Built in 1838 by Henry Tunstill alongside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Brierfield Mill was one of the first steam powered cotton spinning mills in the area.

When Henry died in 1854, his sons took over the mill and by 1879 they’d completed a large new spinning mill including a central six storey building called Middle Mill and two adjoining four storey spinning mills.

By the time of Robert Tunstill’s death in 1890, the mill clattered to the sound of 2,213 looms and 91,000 spindles.

In 1904, Brierfield Mills Ltd was formed to buy the Tunstill Brothers’ business and in 1906 another single storey weaving shed was added to the southwest side overlooking the canal to hold over 600 looms.

At its prime in 1948, the company owned 79,284 mule spindles and 13,100 ring spindles in the two spinning mills and 2,800 looms in four weaving sheds.

In 1957 Smith and Nephew Textiles Ltd bought the mill for the manufacture of surgical bandages.  It was completely modernised and in the 1960s all the original steam engines and looms were scrapped.

In 2001 Smith and Nephew merged with the German company Beiersdorf AG, trading in Brierfield under the title of BSN Medical Ltd. Brierfield Mill was the only one of its kind in the UK, weaving for the medical industry with stringent regulations.

Brierfield Mill closed in 2007 and this iconic landmark became one of English Heritage’s Listed Buildings at Risk.

It lay empty for five years, having been sold to a private organisation for possible use as a school, but it was not put into use.

Pendle Council successfully negotiated to buy the historic mill for £1.5 million in March 2012 thanks to a 100% grant from the government’s Homes and Communities Agency. The mill complex was then transferred to PEARL – Pendle Enterprise and Regeneration (Brierfield Mill) Ltd under an agreement to secure funding and refurbish the building.

For more information on Brierfield’s history the Brierfield History Trail on www.visitpendle.com