Following the success of the family run Cannon mill in Bradford, in 1835 John Foster, commissioned the construction of a new mill at Black Dykes Farm near Queensbury. Foster successfully experimented with new fabrics, including the pioneering use of alpaca and mohair and re-invested profits in developing the mill site. Black Dyke Mills became a pioneering factory incorporating power looms together with its own fire service and gas works which supplied both the village and the mill. Later developments included the construction of reservoirs to provide the mill with its own water supply. Ultimately the mill evolved to become an integrated manufacturing complex where yarn was spun, woven and dyed and fine quality worsted cloth produced.
The decline of the West Yorkshire wool and textiles industries led to the eventual closure of the mill in 1989. The current owners, the Lowry Partnership, have since refurbished parts of the mill and let space to a range of tenants including a boxing gym, The Bike Mill, The Marshall's Music School, Mpika, a charity shop that raises money for an African village and Hovercart Mania, Yorkshire's first indoor electric racing track. Currently approx. 90% floorspace is let and work is underway on refurbishing vacant space to accommodate a range of new business, leisure and heritage uses.
The Black Dyke Mills Heritage Venue is a live music and community space located in the Shed Mill. The venue is run and managed entirely by volunteers, such as Richard Hall (see photograph). The venue is a showcase for top quality grass roots musicians with an extensive and varied gig programme.