Islington Mill, James Street, Salford, M3 5HW – Visit Now
When Islington Mill received Grade II listed status two decades ago, laid-back visionary Bill Campbell leased a single floor. The Mill was built for cotton spinning in 1823, but partially collapsed just a year after construction. Not only did it bounce back soon after, but the newly restored version (much of which stands today) is considered an exemplary piece of 19th Century mill architecture. This try-again spirit lingers in the continual re-imagining of the Mill: as gallery, performance space, school, studio, residence.
The Salford scene as it stands is undeniably indebted in some way to the pioneering Mill
The first exhibitions took place in 1999, with Campbell acquiring freehold for the rest of the building two years later. Since then, turning the Mill into an internationally recognised arts centre has largely been an unfettered, organic and successful process. “Process” is an important concept here – the Mill’s ethos has always been one of response, development and collaboration. The building itself, and its host of itinerant creatives, foster new and unexpected things from any given project. Sounds From The Other City, an annual music festival, which grew from the mill, follows a model like no other among city festivals – nurtured, not sponsored, and curated from the ground up – a radical approach in the bleak world of Heineken-powered compounds.