‘Mill’ is a portrait of a landscape once defined by manufacturing. The steep-sided valleys of the Hebden Bridge region of the Yorkshire Pennines are built with gritstone, bounded by moor and crossed with fast-running streams. The characteristics of this landscape brought industry; textile mills sprang up and at its height around two thirds of the local population worked in textile manufacture or its related enterprises.
Two hundred years later, in 1997, the last of these mills closed its doors. Demolished, abandoned, rotting or redeveloped, their once overbearing, almost biblical presence is now spectral, intangible: mill ponds silted, chimneys rotted or shorn, cul-de-sacs of new houses squeezed into their square-shaped plots. Memories are also beginning to erode, like the remnants of mossy gritstone in the woods, piled in reminiscence of a solid stone wall. Surveying the remains of these early industrial cathedrals, ‘Mill’ considers cultural, economic and social memories of place, exploring the tensions lying within an encounter between the present and the past.