Two new deals have been completed at the historic Twisting building at Sunny Bank Mills, the iconic Yorkshire mill complex between Leeds and Bradford.
The Twisting, which has just undergone a £350,000 refurbishment, is now fully open and fully let.
During the past ten years Sunny Bank Mills, one of the most famous family-owned mills in Yorkshire, has been transformed into a modern office and mixed-use complex for the 21st century, creating 400 sustainable new jobs with almost 100 companies.
The two new tenants at the Twisting are shoemaker Yorkshire Sole and woodwork school Wharfedale Workshop. They join the cocktail bar Botanic Request and the Emma White Jewellery Studio, run by BBC TV’s All That Glitters star Emma White, in the Twisting. Emma will be opening her new showroom this weekend in her beautifully renovated premises.
Yorkshire Sole’s founder Dean Westmoreland, who is one of the stars of the popular BBC programme The Repair Shop, commented: “Sunny Bank Mills has been on my radar for a long time and I am absolutely delighted to have moved here. The whole atmosphere around the place is one of creativity and innovation, while also being steeped in heritage. As a shoemaker I have a love of heritage.
“When I first visited the Twisting, I was immediately taken with the fantastic light from the large windows - something essential for my craft. This, along with the space being more than four times the size of my previous shop, really got me excited.
“This was perfect for the development of my business, which specialises in bespoke shoemaking and retailing fine shoes, as well as the repair side, which has gained a reputation for high-quality work thanks in part to the Repair Shop.
“The Repair Shop originally got in touch three years ago asking if I could repair an old pair of Olympic running shoes - on TV to six million-plus viewers! What an opportunity. I said yes , thinking it was a one off, but they keep asking me back and I’m now riding this surreal world of TV work while running and growing Yorkshire Sole,
“I’m incredibly proud of the reputation built with Yorkshire Sole. The new space at the Twisting will allow us to grow further, release our own line of handmade boots and serve the people of Farsley and beyond with this ancient craft of repair and shoemaking that will, hopefully, always be in demand.”
Dean added: “Landlords John and William Gaunt have been incredible. They were genuinely interested in Yorkshire Sole and what we’re trying to achieve. They want the businesses at Sunny Bank Mills to thrive.”
Meanwhile Dean has been joined in the Twisting by Nick Thompson, who runs the popular Wharfedale Workshop, which specialises in woodwork courses for beginners and intermediates.
Nick, who has relocated from Ilkley, explained: “I had been looking for a new home for my woodwork school for some time. Once I heard there was a vacancy at Sunny Banks Mills, I jumped at it.
“The whole site has a fantastic feel which matches my hand tool woodwork ethos and the Twisting has been wonderfully renovated, with large windows, lots of light and lovely views. It has a real sense of history and character. Everyone I know told me I should move there.
“I teach hand tool woodworking to beginners and intermediates, specialising in traditional and modern woodworking skills. Courses are in the evening and weekends and we have a wonderfully diverse range of students. I know everyone will love our new premises”.
William Gaunt commented: “The regeneration of the Twisting is another piece in the jigsaw in the regeneration of Sunny Bank Mills. Now the renovation has been completed, it is ready to be a tremendously stimulating space in the heart of our mill complex.
“We are absolutely delighted that Dean and Nick have moved into the Twisting. They both practice traditional crafts which are making a welcome comeback in the 21st century. Their businesses and their ethos fit in perfectly with the character and heritage of our mill.”
John Gaunt added: “Both these deals are a resounding endorsement of our new-look Twisting building. We are very proud that all four units in the gallery were let well before the renovation was complete, with a wonderful blend of innovative experiential craft based retail, ranging from jewellery, to gin making, to shoe making to cabinet making.”
The Twisting was first renovated in 1935 following a fire.