Visit to Strutt's North Mill, Belper
Discover how the Strutt family turned Belper from a small hamlet to a thriving industrial community.
Cotton spinning was carried out on the Belper Mills site for over 200 hundred years, from c 1776 when Jedediah Strutt’s first ‘South Mill’ came into operation, to the early 1990s when the English Sewing Company finally closed down the modern spinning operations in East Mill.
Strutt’s first ‘North Mill’, a timber-framed building , was completed in 1786. Fire was a major hazard for early cotton factories. Cotton fibre filled the atmosphere, lighting was by candle or oil lamp, machinery had to be oiled constantly and some processes involved metal parts beating against each other and creating sparks. North Mill burned down in 1803, uninsured.
Jedediah’s son William Strutt was directly involved in designing the replacement mill which houses the museum today. He brought in a number of innovations including an iron ‘fire-proof’ frame. This was widely copied and became a template for modern skyscraper engineering.
The Mill now displays and explains with original and replica machinery, the history of cotton spinning, framework knitting, hosiery (the renowned Brettles collection), chevening and nail-making.
Meet at Midday
I have arranged for a guided tour of the Mill and may need to adjust the start time slightly nearer the time to accommodate that, depending on numbers.
The tour takes about 1 hour and begins with a short 10 minute video. Afterwards we will be taken round the museum by one of their experienced guides who will be able to answer any questions we may have as well as giving us an informative and enjoyable tour.
When we've explored the mill and museum, we can take a stroll in the nearby River Gardens, - where you can hire a row boat, enjoy an ice cream and feed the ducks :-)
These riverside gardens have been giving visitors a place to stretch their legs and view the River Derwent for over 100 years.
In 1905, former mill owner George Herbert Strutt agreed for the river above Belper Weir to be used for recreational boating. A boathouse and landing stage were built on a island previously used to grow willows to make baskets for use in the mill.
The boating events were exceeding popular and the River Gardens were extended and new additions such as the Swiss Tea Rooms and the promenade were added.
This is August Bank Holiday Monday
(c) Derby Sociables - July 2014