European award for Speyside’s ‘exceptional’ Woolmill project

Knockando Woolmill
Knockando Woolmill

A SPEYSIDE WOOLMILL has won Europe’s highest Heritage honour in the 2016 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage, the Europa Nostra Awards.

The Knockando Woolmill is one of 28 laureates from 16 nations that has been recognised for their “exemplary achievements in conservation, research, dedicated service, and education, training and awareness-raising”.

Knockando was selected by expert juries from 187 applications in 36 countries throughout Europe – and now the general public will have an opportunity to vote online for the Public Choice Award from among the winners.

The Moray Woolmill was one of two UK winners in the Conservation section of the 2016 awards, the other going to Wimpole Hall’s Gothic Tower in Cambridgeshire.  They join past awards winners that include the world famous Stonehenge.

A surprised but pleased Knockando Woolmill Company Director, Jana Hutt, told insideMoray: “We are delighted with the news of the award, it was most unexpected.

“We would like to thank LDN Architects and everyone else who made the restoration of our wonderful Woolmill possible.”

Speaking of their decision to reward the Moray site, the judges panel said: “The Knockando Woolmill is special due to its continuous, unbroken production of textiles over the last 200 years.

“This is exceptional in Europe and the survival of this type of local production is rare. Though it is a decidedly local endeavour and is linked very much to its regional identity, the Woolmill’s production of high-quality textiles to a growing global market makes it an internationally significant endeavour.

“Its very survival in today’s globalised world is deserving of European, if not international, recognition.”

The jury was particularly appreciative of community involvement at the Woolmill, adding: “The community involvement, the generation of new employment opportunities and the attraction of visitors to this relatively remote region is a wonderful example of rural revitalisation and of what can be done in comparable locations throughout Europe.”

Award winners will be celebrated in a high-profile event co-hosted by EU Commissioner Navracsics and Maestro Plácido Domingo on the evening of May 24 at the historic Zarzuela Theatre in Madrid.

The ceremony will see 1000 people gathering from all over Europe – during the ceremony, the seven Grand Prix laureates, each of whom will receive €10,000, and the Public Choice Award winner, chosen from among this year’s winning projects, will be announced.

Prize winners will also show their heritage accomplishments at an Excellence Fair on the morning of May 24 at the HQ of the College of Architects of Madrid.

The public can vote now for the Public Choice award online at