Hilden Mill could be lost for future generations after 'deliberate fire'

An aerial image of Hilden Mill after the fire this week.
-Credit: (Image: Michael Ferguson)

A Lisburn councillor has expressed fears a world famous city heritage site could be lost for future generations following an arson attack this week.

The Hilden Mill was abandoned in 2006 and has was again targeted in a "deliberate fire" attack on Tuesday night (May 28).

Owners of the 24-acre site, PJK Developments, had recently met with a Lisburn North elected rep who urged the company to "get a move on" with its project, mooted since 2017, for a potential social housing scheme.

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Independent cllr Gary Hynds said: “I am so very frustrated, and indeed quite emotional to once again see what can only have been a deliberate fire tonight at the Hilden Mill site.

"This is more than a building to so many of us down here in the local community, and since elected I have expressed that time and time again, including to our council officers, fellow councillors and recently the developer also.
"We need a project to move forward urgently, with some of the very important history kept, with community input and facilities alongside any development.
"I am increasingly worried that nothing will be saved and that would be a heartbreaking and absolutely criminal outcome for such world famous history right on our doorstep.
“I also wish to thank very much the fire service and police for their hard work and efforts at the site.”

Hilden Mill is one of the last remaining buildings linked to the textile industry that once flourished in Northern Ireland. Founded in 1823 by the Barbour family, the linen manufacturer employed thousands of people and exported its products all over the world.

A PSNI spokesperson said:" “Officers received and responded to a report of a fire at premises in the area shortly after 6.30pm.

"Our colleagues from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene, and extinguished the blaze, which was described as extensive. Thankfully, there were no reports of any injuries.
"Our enquiries into the incident, which we are treating as deliberate ignition, are ongoing, and we are appealing to anyone who may have any information which might assist us, to get in touch. The number to call is 101, quoting reference number 1409 of 28/05/24.”
Alternatively, you can submit a report online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/.

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