15 Years of Innovation

By Faye Gilling

12 January 2024
3 min read

From wovens to workspaces be a part of our evolution of innovation

We’re really proud of being in business for 15 years. Many of the tenants we have worked with have grown with us and, we’re pleased that some have moved on to bigger premises through their success at Elsie Whiteley Innovation Centre.

Our history

Elsie Whiteley

The state-of-the-art mill we now know as Elsie Whiteley Innovation Centre was built in 1867, formerly known as West Grove Mill. It’s had many purposes over the years, from a steel manufacturer to worsted spinner, leather tanner to card clothing and belting; until 1973 when it became a working textile mill, manufacturing dresses and clothes under the Elsie Whiteley brand.

Elsie Whiteley was a trail blazer of the time, who started her career at the young age of 12 working as a machinist at another local mill. She started her own dressmaking businesses by the age of 27, which became so successful that by the age of 50 Elsie Whiteley’s brand manufactured from six separate mills across Halifax and sold to over 1000 retailers across the UK including John Lewis, Fenwicks and Selfridge’s as well as having its own premises on Regent Street, London.

The mill was closed in 1994, after much of the UK’s manufacturing moved off- shore and shortly after it was acquired by Calderdale Council. It was in 2009, when the mill opened again as an Innovation centre purpose-built for local businesses and professionals that specialised in digital innovation. From wovens to workspaces, the Centre continues to thrive with a diverse mix of industries calling Elsie Whiteley Innovation Centre their work home.

The Mill is now home to a range of contemporary and considered workspaces that welcome all ways of work, from meeting spaces to hot desking, virtual to private offices. 19th century industry, meets 21st century design, where original stonework and architecture complement state-of-the-art technology and modern features for a perfect blend of old and new.

Our plans

We’re reflecting on our history and heritage by celebrating our evolution from wovens to workspaces, through a series of innovative events that showcase the heritage of our centre and the talents of the people who share this corner of Calderdale that we call home.

Over coming months we’ll reveal more about the events and activities we have in store, but until then we’re asking for creatives to get in touch with us if they’d like to be involved with events focussed around the following topics:

  • Culture and heritage – exploring how cultures can combine to define heritage in a new way
  • Sustainability in Innovation – re-using materials to innovate and create, taking a future-proof approach to design and innovation
  • Creativity and innovation – exploring creative ways to innovate or new ways to innovate in the creative sector
  • Textile and fashion – fashions over the ages or fashions from different parts of the world, innovating textile design and how these processes have change over the years

If you have experience or knowledge of any of the topics above, or have something you want to pitch that is linked to this, we’d love to hear from you and hope we can collaborate throughout the year.

Please contact: marketing@regen.org.uk to express your interest

Written By:

Faye Gilling
Faye is the Marketing & Communications Lead at Halifax Opportunities Trust.