Friends of Millhouses Park Mill Buildings
Friends of Millhouses Park (FOMP) are planning to renovate their three former corn mill buildings and turn them into a community facility. Working closely with Sheffield City Council and other local groups and individuals, the group hope to refurbish the buildings to make them a real part of the already thriving park. FOMP also wish to make the buildings as environmentally friendly as possible, with the generation of renewable energy on site. Throughout the development of the buildings, FOMP will make use of local skills and once open the mill buildings will provide somewhere for local people to gain new skills. Download the full project report here.
Sheffield’s rivers once powered the early industrial revolution in the city, and up and down the River Sheaf you can see where mills enabled the making of cutlery and metalware. Since about 1940, Millhouses mill has been unused and unloved. The mill buildings have fallen into disrepair and are currently used for storage. Urgent action is required to ensure that the buildings are watertight and that they do not fall into further decline. The mill buildings have also lost their use and importance within the community, although the buildings are currently in use as local authority storage and depot. In their own words, the group are aiming to ‘Put the Mill back into Millhouses’ FOMP are currently working with a range of partners, including Sheffield City Council to develop the buildings into a mixed-use community facility, and bringing the buildings back to their former glory and creating a centre for local education, interpretation as well as sports and recreation facilities. FOMP are looking to make the most of renewable energies to help power and sustain the buildings, and create a relationship between new and old technologies.
Friends of Millhouses Park approached The Glass-House for Project Support to assist in developing a holistic vision for the mill buildings and start to build a Design Brief to support this. Leo Care of BDR was commissioned as The Glass-House independent enabler to deliver a two-session Project Support programme. This included a morning learning about the design principles of building refurbishment and how to go about developing a design brief followed by an afternoon study tour of three community buildings. The second session focused on action planning for the next steps of the project.
The Friends of Millhouses Park group are very active and organise a whole range of events throughout the year and in different parts of the park. As well as regular fundraiser and social events, FOMP has a website and a social networking presence and has had articles in the local press and parish magazine. FOMP has regular meetings which are open to all and a good relationship with Sheffield City Council. The group have started to consult the local cafe, park user groups and schools about the mill buildings and intends to hold large public events to get their input in the refurbishment of the mill buildlings. They will also have a stand at various community events in order to keep local people up to date with the project.
Project Support Outcomes
FOMP feel that the programme of support helped bring their group together and confirm that they all have an agreed set of ideas for the mill buildings. The study tour was very helpful as it allowed them to see how actual buildings are working and how ideas are put into practice. It also helped the group to learn how the perseverance of other groups, who have been through similar projects, has paid off. After the programme, the group have a whole host of technical, architectural and practical ideas to consider for their buildings and they feel that their ideas have been crystallised and a vision is starting to emerge.
Response from the Group
"It was great having a local person to work with us as obviously he had first hand knowledge of what might work for our project in terms of materials, buildings with a comparable history (as ours is a refurbishment project) and use."
"I am totally delighted with the report which reflects the opening of minds we experienced over the few days of the course."
Latest Update from the Group
The group have submitted a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the smallest of the mill buildings and await the result.
Friends of Millhouses Park
Linking a building with an open space
How The Glass-House helped
Design basics and design brief workshop
Study Tour of three relevant completed buildings
Action planning workshop
Project Support Outcomes
Understanding the realities of the design and build process
Ideas and options for the design of the building
A sense of a shared vision within the group
Project Support Dates
October 2010 - December 2010
Other Glass-House Support
Leo Care, BDR