I’ve just spotted your organisation on the web.
I’m from Nelson but left a long time ago to go to art college.
I’ve just read an article in ‘Pendle Today, and was interested in the work you are doing in Brierfield and the exhibition you held in the old mill.
I’d like to say it’s great to see what you’re doing for the arts in the area and wish you all success. At the time I left Nelson many of the local mills were still operational but as they closed and remained empty I always thought they would be ideal places for artists studios, exhibitions, installations, etc.
In the early 80s In Coventry, together with some fellow artists, I formed a company and took over an old warehouse building in Coventry’s canal basin and made it into a centre for affordable artists studios. The surrounding derelict area in the canal basin was subsequently developed by the city council and British Waterways and became a thriving small business area as a consequence of the artists bringing new life to the area.
Our group began in 1980 and we now have some 40 artists and designers occupying the warehouse building and contributing to the creative life of the local area in Coventry. Over more than 30 years the artists here have shown that the arts and the presence of art practitioners in secure and affordable studios can be a substantial catalyst for bringing new life and business to an otherwise run down area.
This is the first time I’ve heard of an arts initiative like yours in the Nelson/Brierfield area although I still visit the Pendle Heritage Centre on return visits to Nelson and have noticed that the old mill in Higherford now has some arts and crafts studios.
I thought at first your group had taken over the old Brierfield Mill on a permanent basis for artists studios. My group got British Waterways (now Canal and River Trust) to give us a 120 year lease on the old warehouse building here which has made it possible to establish a secure and permanent arts base in the local area.
I noticed in the Pendle Today article that Joe Cooney spoke of a “masterplan for transforming this iconic building and making it a destination for the North West”. That sounds great and I wish you all well and every success.
All the best,
Chairman & Financial Director
Coventry Canal Basin Trust Ltd
Canal Basin Warehouse
Coventry CV1 4LH