The final pieces of the jigsaw are clicking into place at Holmes Mill with the introduction of a home interiors department, a luxury cinema and a contemporary gym and health suite. Photography: Sarah Valentine
Just under four years ago James Warburton outlined his ambitious plans for the historic Holmes Mill in the heart of Clitheroe. His vision was to develop the site into a post-industrial 21st century lifestyle hub that would attract visitors from across the North West.
Fast forward to the present day and it’s hard to believe how, in such a short space of time, the hugely successful development is nearing final completion.
The new Emporium Home Interiors at Holmes Mill, featuring designer led furnishings and accessories is open and a four-screen cinema is due to open in late autumn. A 5,000 sq ft gym with three treatment rooms is also set to be launched by a local boutique gym operator, which will be the final phase of the multi-million pound project.
“When we first started work on Holmes Mill, I knew exactly what we were aiming for but I had no idea what it would take to achieve,” says James. “I am delighted with the way it’s turned out. In many ways it is much better than I could ever have imagined – but it’s been a hard slog too!”
Visitors to Emporium Home Interiors will discover all the beautiful accessories for which the Emporium has become renowned – classic furniture teamed with accessories including cushions, throws, candles, lanterns, lamps, rugs, artwork and gorgeous gifts.
Across the road at the Emporium, all the artwork and mirrors on the walls of the bar and restaurant remain for sale, as they have always been, while the ground floor which housed the interiors shop is set to open in a totally new context – watch this space!
James explains: “For our home interiors department, the space at Holmes Mill is much bigger and better so it made sense to move it across the road.”
The landmark Holmes Mill with its iconic 1830s chimney has truly been transformed. It has become centric to the town’s commercial, leisure, shopping and social activities and not least, home to Bowland Brewery, which was the first to relocate there. The brewery is next to Bowland Beer Hall, which has become an iconic venue with its record breaking 105ft-long island bar. The award-winning Beer Hall, which won national recognition from CAMRA as one of Britain’s best pubs, retains many of the original features of the textile mill. Elizabeth, a cross compound beam engine which provided power for the entire mill takes pride of place, adding a vibrant focal point.
Four years ago when plans were taking shape for the mill, James made it clear that much of the mill’s heritage would be retained: “We will be keeping and nurturing the heritage of the building. By the time it is finished it will still look like a thing of purpose that has been transformed into a thing of beauty.”
Today the building is a hive of activity, the 1823 Spinning Block Bistro Bar and Grill with its exposed brick walls and opulent lighting, serves modern British food championing local produce. Above is a 39-bedroom hotel, which perfectly complements the complex and which serves the multi-use function room next door that is used for weddings and events.
“Weddings at Holmes Mill have really taken off. In fact the Beer Hall’s been so popular it has taken us a bit by surprise,” says James.
When Bowland Food Hall opened in the 64,000 sq ft mill two years ago, it offered a whole new way of shopping. Today it continues to provide a unique shopping experience, featuring all the best produce Bowland has to offer as well as specialities from further afield. The Food Hall has also become a shining example of changing shopping trends, as James explains: “Local councils and officials from national supermarket chains have all paid us a visit to see what we are doing in Bowland Food Hall. They are realising that people are shopping differently.”
The next stage of the Holmes Mill story, the cinema, is to be run by nationally renowned Everyman which will screen all the latest releases and cult classics. The 10,000 sq ft space in what was the old weaving shed, will provide a luxury cinema experience. There will be four screens, a massive screen, a large screen and two smaller screens. Each cinema space is tiered and in typical Everyman style there will be comfortable sofa seating where visitors can sit and enjoy a glass of wine and a freshly made slice of pizza.
The transformation of this iconic building has been nothing short of remarkable. With its brewery, beer hall, bar and grill, hotel, function room, home interiors, gelateria, patisserie, office suites, cinema, gym and food hall, Holmes Mill today provides an income for more people than it did in its heyday as a textile mill – an amazing 21st century commercial achievement.
“We employ 190 people and there are a further 70 or 80 people in our office accommodation. When Holmes Mill operated as a textile mill, 200 were employed. I am thrilled with what we have created here – when the cinema and gym open, each piece of the jigsaw will have clicked into place.”
Greenacre Street, Clitheroe BB7 1EB