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Restoring our industrial identity

Courtesy of

Recently we discussed the regeneration of Leed's industrial heritage at our March forum and will be turning our attention to the creative use of Victorian mills at our next event in June at Burlington House, London.

The Victorian Society has Temple Mill (above) in Marshall Street, South Bank, Leeds, on its endangered list. Completed in 1843 to the design of Egyptologist, Joseph Bonomi based on the ancient temple at Edfu, it is a grade one listed former flax mill covering two acres and known at the time as 'the single largest room in the world'. Decorated with lotus columns, snake motifs and hieroglyphs, it also had sheep grazing on a grass roof, the turf acting as a complex, innovative system of environmental control. It is hoped that Burberry will take it over turning it into a £50 million weaving facility by 2019 producing the famous trench coat.

Leeds City Council has welcomed the plan to bring textiles manufacturing back into the city and students are now completing their first year in a new fashion department at Leeds Beckett University, where emphasis is placed on traditional skills as well as design innovation making graduates highly employable.

The university end of year fashion show in May is being held in the car park of the new 24,000 square meter John Lewis store at the Hammerson £165 million development, Victoria Gate. Acme Architects designed the car park exterior with 228 twisted metal panels, while the crisscross pattern of polished and acid-etched concrete takes its inspiration from the woven cloth pattern of the Victorian mills.

A beauty spa is being used within the store to attract customers as the new MD of John Lewis, Paula Nickolds says, 'customer experience' is the key to the future of the department store.

Courtesy of John Lewis. com

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