Music and arts venue opens at restored former mill building

A derelict mill building has been restored and converted into an entertainment venue.

The Old Woollen, part of the Sunny Bank Mills complex in Farsley, now hosts an eclectic mix of music, comedy, theatre and the spoken word.

Upcoming acts include music journalist and DJ Mark Radcliffe, Sunderland post-punk band The Futureheads and comedian Arthur Smith.

There have also been recent appearances by national treasure Gyles Brandreth, historian and television personality Lucy Worsley and 1990s hit machine Space.

The Old Woollen is run by William and John Gaunt, owners of Sunny Bank Mills, in conjunction with Yorkshire events company Trouble At Mill.

William Gaunt said: “Bringing the Old Woollen back to life has been a true labour of love. The building has been completely derelict for 50 years and had fallen into an advanced state of dilapidation. So far we have spent £150,000 on bringing back a section of the ground floor into use.

“We have ambitious plans to redevelop the whole building, once funds have been secured. We have intentionally left the Old Woollen in a state of ‘arrested decay’ which gives the audience a direct connection with the past.

“We have been absolutely delighted with the acts we have been able to book so far and the reaction to them.

“It has been a great success story and maintains the mill’s proud connection with the arts, as both Yorkshire Television’s Emmerdale and Heartbeat were filmed here, and we have a thriving art gallery on site too.”

Dick Bonham, a director of Trouble At Mill, said: “We are the company behind the popular Farsley venue The Constitutional and it made perfect sense to join forces with Sunny Bank Mills to launch a new collaborative space, The Old Woollen.

“We’re delighted to be coming home to Sunny Bank Mills. We started the Trouble At Mill journey with a series of pop-up events at the Mill, which featured a whole range of great shows and acts.

“The team there have always been incredibly supportive, and we’re thrilled that they’ve decided to work with us to re-purpose and re-energise The Old Woollen.

“Working together we know it will have an incredible vibe, with some brilliant acts.”

Bonham is also a director of the production company LittleMighty, whose offices are now based at Sunny Bank Mills.

He added: “Sunny Bank is a fabulous base from which to launch our tours across the country. As it’s grown and developed over the past few years, it’s become a real creative hub, with lots of interesting artists and companies.

“That’s a really nurturing and energising environment to be working in.”

The Old Woollen was one of the first mill buildings at Sunny Bank, dating back to 1830.