Harlow Stories - Issue 1
Best Kept Secrets Parndon Mill Parndon Mill can be found nestled on the banks of the River Stort on Harlow’s outskirts. It has a history stretching back to Domesday and remained a working mill late into the twentieth century.
Its current incarnation owes its inception to the artist Sally Anderson who discovered the Mill in the late summer of 1968: “It was in a sorry state,” she says, “It looked neglected…it was wonderful!” Local photographer Roger Lee came to take photos of the first studios and, whilst there, installed lighting in the first Gallery and fixed the vital van. He was promptly given a studio and became the general manager at the Mill. He was joined by numerous other artists and tradespeople and room at the Mill was traded for goods and services. Within a few years, designers, architects and creative professionals moved in, working alongside craftspeople and fine artists, creating an almost unique atmosphere. Parndon Mill now provides workspace for artists, craftspeople, webdesigners and metalworkers (amongst others) who have the opportunity to share ideas and use their different skills to collaborate on creative work. Art for an office can be purchased or hired, commercial graphics ordered or a building or a product designed. The expertise is on-site and can be supplemented by numerous associates with complementary abilities and a high level of professional skill. As Roger says: “Every inch of Parndon Mill is occupied by someone very creative doing something amazing.
What excites Sally and I is when you see two or more disciplines working together to create something truly original.” The Gallery In 2004 work began converting the remaining floors of the Mill into new studios and a gallery was created as a centre point on the ground floor. The Gallery has since become a focus for the Mill’s resident artists and for many others from the area. It has become the hub of a community and been nicknamed the ‘Central Office of Information’. It is now front-of-house for Parndon Mill, open to the public five days a week. There is great demand for the wide variety of tuition and creative experience provided here, including drawing and painting, sculpture, ceramics and blown, fused or cast glass. Beginners are always welcome as well as those who wish to extend their skills. It hosts eight exhibitions a year, selected to be as varied as possible. These may include figurative or abstract painting, original prints, drawings and sculpture, ceramics or works from a glass artist et al. The annual exhibition of works of art in glass includes pieces by some of the most distinguished artists in the country. This year’s exhibition was sponsored by Astro Lighting www.us.astrolighting.com and focused on emerging artists, including recent college graduates and students attended workshops here at The Mill.
The Gallery has often worked with local businesses many of which have sponsored exhibitions and enjoyed the facilities of Parndon Mill. It also operates a scheme where artwork can be hired and installed in offices (and sculptures out of doors). Many of these artworks look magnificent in situ and can enhance the appearance and well be of places of work. Parndon Mill serves the local community in many ways. It is truly one of Harlow’s ‘best-kept secrets’ and we are very fortunate to have such a hub of creativity in our town. Realising that their philanthropic life’s work was as fragile as they, Sally and Roger with Pro-Bono help from Longmores Solicitors, have been successful in registering charitable status for Parndon. If you have time and a skill to share Roger would very much appreciate your help! firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more please contact us on
www.parndonmill.co.uk email@example.com parndon.mill