Derwent Valley Mills

Derwent Valley Mills

Derwent Valley Mills is a World Heritage Site along the River Derwent in Derbyshire, England, designated in December 2001. It is administered by the Derwent Valley Mills Partnership. The modern factory, or ‘mill’, system was born here in the 18th century to accommodate the new technology for spinning cotton developed by Richard Arkwright. With advancements in technology, it became possible to produce cotton continuously. The system was adopted throughout the valley, and later spread so that by 1788 there were over 200 Arkwright-type mills in Britain. Arkwright’s inventions and system of organising labour was exported to Europe and the United States.

Water-power was first introduced to England by John Lombe at his silk mill in Derby in 1719, but it was Richard Arkwright who applied water-power to the process of producing cotton in the 1770s. His patent of a water frame allowed cotton to be spun continuously and meant it could be produced by unskilled workers. Cromford Mill and Cromford was the site of Arkwright’s first mill, and his system of production and worker’s housing was copied throughout the valley. To ensure the presence of a labour force, it was necessary to construct housing for the mill workers. Thus, new settlements were established by mill owners around the mills – sometimes developing a pre-existing community – with their own amenities such as schools, chapels, and markets. Most of the housing still exists and is still in use. Along with the transport infrastructure form part of the site. A transport infrastructure was built to open new markets for the mills’ produce.

Mills and workers’ settlements were established at Belper, Darley Abbey, and Milford by Arkwright’s competitors. Arkwright-type mills were so successful that sometimes they were copied without paying royalties to Richard Arkwright. The cotton industry in the Derwent Valley went into decline in the first quarter of the 19th century as the market shifted towards Lancashire which was better position in relation to markets and raw materials. The mills and their associated buildings are well preserved and have been reused since the cotton industry declined. Many of the buildings within the World Heritage Site are also listed buildings and Scheduled Monuments. Some of the mills now contain museums and are open to the public.

Outline
Derwent Valley Mills is a World Heritage Site along the River Derwent in Derbyshire, England, designated in December 2001.

Recommended world heritage video

  1. Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey, and St. Martin’s Church

    Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey, and St. Martin’s Church

  2. Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroismo in the Azores

    Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroismo in the Azores

  3. Heritage of Mercury. Almadén and Idrija

    Heritage of Mercury. Almadén and Idrija

  1. Works of Antoni Gaudí

    Works of Antoni Gaudí

  2. Acropolis of Athens

    Acropolis of Athens

  3. Las Médulas

    Las Médulas

  1. Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin

    Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin

  2. Wieliczka Salt Mine

    Wieliczka Salt Mine

  3. Citadel, Ancient City and Fortress Buildings of Derbent

    Citadel, Ancient City and Fortress Buildings of Derbent

  1. Gough and Inaccessible Islands

    Gough and Inaccessible Islands

  2. Aranjuez Cultural Landscape

    Aranjuez Cultural Landscape

  3. Medieval City of Rhodes

    Medieval City of Rhodes

  1. Our Lady of Ljeviš

    Our Lady of Ljeviš

  2. Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay

    Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay

  3. Lugo

    Lugo

  1. Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzin, Granada

    Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzin, Granada

  2. Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow

    Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow

  3. The Wadden Sea

    The Wadden Sea

  1. Monastic Island of Reichenau

    Monastic Island of Reichenau

  2. Tower of London

    Tower of London

  3. Val d’Orcia

    Val d’Orcia

  1. City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg

    City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg

  2. The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes

    The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes

  3. Wachau Cultural Landscape

    Wachau Cultural Landscape

  1. Litomyšl Castle

    Litomyšl Castle

  2. Frontiers of the Roman Empire

    Frontiers of the Roman Empire

  3. Medieval Town of Torun

    Medieval Town of Torun

  1. Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey, and St. Martin’s Church

    Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey, and St. Martin’s Church

  2. Schokland and Surroundings

    Schokland and Surroundings

  3. Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl

    Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl

  1. Tower of Hercules

    Tower of Hercules

  2. Upper Middle Rhine Valley

    Upper Middle Rhine Valley

  3. Hanseatic City of Lübeck

    Hanseatic City of Lübeck

  1. Works of Antoni Gaudí

    Works of Antoni Gaudí

  2. Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct

    Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct

  3. Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura

    Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura

  1. Engelsberg Ironworks

    Engelsberg Ironworks

  2. Historic Centre of Évora

    Historic Centre of Évora

  3. Episcopal City of Albi

    Episcopal City of Albi

facebook comments
Comment
To the Top