Britain has a wealth of old industrial buildings that need a new purpose in this post industrial age. We rescue and transform them so they can again become a vibrant part of their community. By partnering with Ruskin Mill Trust we help create lively centres for special needs education, arts and culture, festivals, social enterprise and community.
As well as buildings we help protect the landscape, with woodlands, farms, market gardens and a fish farm that is reputed to be the oldest in the country, all looked after though holistic, biodynamic agriculture.
Within the steep, wooded valleys of the Severn escarpment, a thousand years of the wool trade has bequeathed Horsley and Nailsworth a built environment of exceptional quality, a pioneering spirit and a keen pride in design and craftsmanship.
Over the next three years they were energised by the inspirations of three men who have helped shape the lives of the Gordon family: Rudolf Steiner, John Ruskin and William Morris. By 1984 they had germinated into the Ruskin Mill Centre for Arts and Cultural Regeneration. During those early years, pupils from the nearby Cotswold Chine Special School helped to restore the mill’s water wheel. Inspired by the encounter, one Chine pupil, Jason Turner, chose to live, work and study at the Mill with the artisans working there in leather, stained glass, textiles and metal. The next year two more joined in what was soon to become the Living Earth Training Course.
The Living Earth Course combines biodynamic agriculture in a market garden with the craft curriculum sourced from the Arts and Crafts movement, the insights into human development provided by Rudolf Steiner and a commitment to responsible stewardship of the land for future generations.
This vision has remained at the heart of the Trust’s work ever since.
The expansion of the Trust
In 2000 the Trust was growing fast and chose to transfer its highly successful method from the rural idyll of Gloucestershire to the heartlands of the industrial revolution, by acquiring the old Royal Doulton glass factory in Stourbridge. A successful transition was followed five years later with the purchase of a Grade II listed cutlery factory of Sheffield that was in disrepair and needing a new lease of life. Both of these sites needed significant funds so they could be restored to fulfil their potential, and the fundraising arm of the Trust was created.
The separation of Ruskin Mill Trust
By 2010 the government was busily planning to change how it funded education in the UK and the future looked very uncertain for special needs, so a strategic decision was made to separate out the running of the colleges from the management of the property. Ruskin Mill Trust was formed and took over responsibility for the operation of the educational programmes.
Ruskin Mill Land Trust now focuses on acquiring and restoring land and property, and provides Ruskin Mill Trust with the opportunities to expand its education for young people.