Conway Mill, Belfast
The successful restoration of one of the few remaining mill sites in Belfast that is proving to be an integral part of the area's economic development.
This vast site is a 19th century flax spinning mill; its decline in the latter half of the 20th century accompanied economic depression and social unrest in Belfast. During 'The Troubles' considerable conflict took place around the Mill and as a consequence the building suffered hugely from vandalism and neglect. We advised and supported the Conway Mill Preservation Trust to secure an imaginative regeneration solution that would save this remarkable heritage site while benefiting local residents.
We supported a fundraising campaign in which the local group secured over £5m from a range of organisations, including the Department for Social Development, the International Fund for Ireland, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment and the Arts Council.
The Mill was reopened in November 2010 by the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness MP. It is fully restored and houses many local community services such as art classes for vulnerable children and small businesses including a number of creative and craft enterprises.
The building has been sensitively restored. The work kept the historic fabric intact and also created a complimentary and innovative central courtyard between the two mill buildings, enclosed by a high-level glazed roof structure.
The project has created 16 workspaces and enterprise units; it is estimated that over 100 jobs have been created and 90% of all units are occupied.
In September 2011, the project won the national Regeneration & Renewal Award for the best use of heritage in a regeneration project.