WHAT originally stood as a derelict old textile mill has transformed over the years into a thriving business hub – now catering to around 50 businesses within the premise.

Dan Russell, aka ‘The Big Cheese’, bought over the Atlas Works in Denton Holme in 1986 and has since transformed the unused into a hub for small businesses creating a bustling village of cultural and commercial activity.

“I bought it originally to set up my own business, Scrooge & Russell, but then we started sharing the building with many other businesses, and now, I’ve lost track of how many businesses are involved.

“There’s so much going on here that people don’t know about, especially with our four gyms, three dance schools and several music studios on offer,” he said.

News and Star: Class performing at Razzmatazz Class performing at Razzmatazz

Dan, who also teaches Goju Ryu Karate and Tai Chi within the space five times a week, said the community spirit amongst the businesses involved is incredible.

“It’s a great atmosphere, I love coming in here, everyone and all the businesses here may not have got another spot, they’re so creative and great and dealing with each other,” he said.

Of the businesses involved, there’s a diverse range of output on offer with everything from dance schools, a bar, soft play areas, packaging companies and places to grab a bite such as Carlisle’s beloved COM-FOR-T street eats.

“I’ve also got the Source here, which is a fantastic hub of the Carlisle music scene, we get so many wonderful bands playing here,” he said.

When it comes to the establishment’s involvement within Carlisle’s music scene, perhaps it’s understated.

News and Star: Jonny Foster, Lewis Bewley-Taylor and Ben Wilde from the band Hardwick Circus with Dan Russell at The Source, 2015Jonny Foster, Lewis Bewley-Taylor and Ben Wilde from the band Hardwick Circus with Dan Russell at The Source, 2015

Whether it be the vast offering of world class base guitars from producers Overwater Basses, the ventures of Dan’s own musical path with Sultans of the Source, The Source venue itself bringing many local musicians to the forefront of Carlisle’s music scene and of course, Hardwicke Circus having their own private studio inside - it wouldn't go a miss to say the building is musically inclined. 

"I think the Atlas Works has a huge significance in this area, because we get lots of people from Nelson Street coming to enjoy the music, some of whom I’ve taught in classes as kids and now I see them come back in and would hardly recognise them now,” he said.

Dan and his team will also be bringing back the Wild on the Wall family music festival this year, which will include performances from Hardwicke Circus, mylittlebrother and Chris Jagger (brother of Mick) to name a small few.

There’s really something for everyone at a historical site located within ‘the village within the city’.

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