Explore Sunny Bank Mills throughout the ages

1829 – Beginnings

Sunny Bank Mills are founded by group of local clothiers who invest together to purchase land and build a woollen scribbling and fulling mill, known as The Farsley Club Mill. John Gaunt is appointed as one of the trustees to run the mill.

1882 - Edwin Woodhouse

Edwin Woodhouse purchases the majority shares in Sunny Bank Mills and becomes the outright owner. He greatly expands the Mills over the next three decades and commences worsted spinning and weaving.

1882 - Edwin Woodhouse

1912 – Ives and Co.

Edwin Woodhouse has no son to pass the mill on to and sells his interest to James Ives & Co. of Yeadon. The mill has a renowned reputation for producing fine worsted cloth.

1912 - Ives and Co.

1917 - William C Gaunt and World War I

William C. Gaunt, the wool tycoon, buys Sunny Bank Mills as part of a rapid expansion during the 1st World War. He now owns mills throughout the world.

1917 - William C Gaunt and World War I

1929 – Hard times

The Great Depression destroys W. C. Gaunt’s finances and all his mills fall under the control of the Inland Revenue and five leading banks. Future profits are used to pay his creditors in full.

1943 – Alfred Gaunt

Six months after W. C. Gaunt’s death, his son Alfred reaches a settlement with the banks and regains control of Sunny Bank Mills.

1943 - Alfred Gaunt

1950s & 1960s – The Mill Prospers

A period of great prosperity for the mill. It builds an export business and consolidates its reputation as one of the finest cloth producers in the world.

1975 - Changing Times

The mill reinvests in weaving and ceases its combing and spinning operations.

1975 - Changing Times

1990 – Disruption

The Gulf War disrupts trade in the mill’s most important market; sales were never to fully recover.

2008 – The end of an era

Production of fine worsted cloth ceases at Sunny Bank Mills after 180 years and eventually it moves to Huddersfield.

2010 – A new beginning

John and William Gaunt start a multi-million pound regeneration programme of Sunny Bank Mills as a Creative Space for Business with the vision of reclaiming it’s status as the biggest centre for employment in the area.

2010 - A new beginning, Sunny Bank Mills

2012 - Artistic impulses

Sunny Bank Mills Gallery hosts its first art exhibition.

2012 - Artistic impulses Sunny bank Mills Exhibition

2015 – The mill grows

A planning permission agreement is reached with Leeds City Council allowing a flexible redevelopment of the whole mill site with a variety of uses. This is a significant step in securing the future of the mills.

2015 - The mill grows site-plan

2019 - Looking to the future

The transformational Weavers’ Yard project starts, creating over 60,000 sq. ft. of open space at the heart of Sunny Bank Mills by clearing some of the disused weaving and scouring sheds. Sunny Bank Mills is now home to 75 businesses and employs over 350 people.

2019 - Looking to the future site-plan

Learn more about the mill's past, present and future...