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News from DVM January to June 2021

Jan to June 2021
Museum of Making
Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill
News from DVM January to August 2021
Job Opportunity at Derby City Council:
Full-time Conservation Officer

Derby City Council are looking for a highly skilled conservation professional to become part of their motivated team which works with a wealth of heritage assets including the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, Registered Parks and Gardens, approximately 400 statutory listed buildings, 16 conservation areas and a local list.  For more details see Derby City Council’s website here.

Celebrating the Arts Weekend

As part of our Celebrating the Arts Weekend on 21st-22nd August, we are inviting photographic and artistic interpretations of the beautiful and atmospheric Cromford Mills and the nearby Canal Wharf, Meadows, village and Cromford Church, as a nod to our special 250th anniversary year.

Two competitions are taking place over the weekend.

Art Competition

Artists are invited to join us for the whole day of Saturday 21st August at Cromford Mills and surrounding areas, in a pro-loco style event to work on artwork on-site, with the opportunity to win art materials vouchers. Artists must register for the art competition by 15th August and judging of the artworks will take place on Sunday 22nd August.

Photography Competition

Amateur photographers are invited to produce photographs of Cromford Mills and the surrounding areas with the opportunity to win a cash prize. Photographs can be print or digital and need to be submitted in advance. Photographers must register for the photography competition by 15th August and judging of the photographs will take place on Saturday 21st August.

All work will be displayed in a week-long pop-up gallery at Cromford Mills.

For further details and registrations, please email

Heage Windmill seeks Trustees

Heage Windmill Society (a registered charity) is seeking imaginative and forward-thinking individuals to serve as Trustees on its Board. The charity, which is responsible for the operation and upkeep of this iconic building, is looking for people with the skills and vision to progress the organisation.

Applications would be welcomed from a wide range of backgrounds including the areas of Health and Safety, and Education. Prior knowledge of mills and milling is not required.

If you fell you could help us and wish to apply, please email the secretary, Meg Tarlton, at outlining what you feel you can contribute to the future success of the mill. She will provide you with further details about the role. Closing date will be Friday 23rd July 2021.

Great British Car Journey motors into Derbyshire

Born from an idea spawned by a 32-year-old Austin Maestro, and after four years in the making, the UK’s newest visitor attraction Great British Car Journey has opened its doors.

Making the once ordinary extraordinary, the Great British Car Journey is packed with British marques and models that dominated the roads for nearly a century.

Motors fixed in our memories, like the Morris Minor, Ford Capri, and everything before, after and in between, are cars that are now so rare that you’re more likely to see a £150,000 supercar on today’s roads.

More than 130 vehicles now fill a former wire works factory on the banks of the River Derwent in Ambergate, Derbyshire. Find out more:

Grant success for Medical Museum projects with links to the Derwent Valley Mills

Medical artefacts – some with links to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site – can now be properly catalogued, conserved and rehoused, thanks to a grant to the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton (UHDB).

The £98,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund will enable the public to engage with the hospitals’ medical archive, including items relating to Florence Nightingale, and to the Strutt family, who built the mills at Belper and Milford, and part-funded Richard Arkwright’s first water-powered cotton mill at Cromford, William Strutt designed the original Derby Infirmary in 1819.

The World Heritage Site Partnership hopes the project will ultimately help researchers to better understand the work of the Strutt family in transforming medical provision in Derby, as they had transformed the factories and farms further up the Derwent Valley.

The project is being managed by Air Arts, UHDB’s arts charity, and officially starts in September.

Derby Riverboat

Launching onto the River Derwent in 2021

The Derby Riverboat will be launched on the river Derwent in 2021 by the Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust. After the launch, the riverboat service will run each year between Spring and Autumn taking 12 passengers at a time on regular trips up and down the river.

Passengers will board the boat at Exeter Bridge before setting off on a 45 minute return trip up the river to Darley Abbey. An electric lift will allow passengers in wheelchairs to use boat. Initially there will only be one boarding/disembarking point but this may be expanded in subsequent years.

Customers using the boat will be able to listen to an audio commentary on the way up the river which is crammed with facts about Derby’s fascinating history and its exciting plans for the future. There will be on board refreshments and educational entertainment for children of all ages.

Over a years’ worth of design work has gone into the boat and great attention has been made to making the boat as environmentally friendly as possible. The boat’s propulsion system is fully electric with the batteries being partially charged using on board solar panels. The Trust hopes that this will inspire local people to adopt electric vehicles and encourage local boat owners to convert to zero emission propulsion.

The Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust aim to improve the customer offering year after year adding new features each season.

For more information, including videos, an e-brochure and volunteering with the project see


New Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill to welcome first visitors from Friday 21st May
Museum of Making
Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill

The new Museum of Making in Derby is delighted to announce it will be throwing open its doors to its first visitors from Friday 21 May 2021. After much planning and anticipation, this brand new museum, on the site of what is widely regarded as the world’s first modern factory, is excited to be able to welcome visitors to this new destination.

The Museum of Making is being developed and will be operated by Derby Museums with thanks to major grant funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and Derby City Council. Significant support has also been received from Rolls Royce and a range of charitable trusts and foundations.

As well as its opening date, the Museum also announced a wider programme of events and activities that arts, cultural and city-wide organisations have been collaborating on to help celebrate 300 years of creativity and making across the region. Called ‘300’ – to mark the momentous anniversary of the first modern factory – events across the county will be linking into the making theme.

Tony Butler, Executive Director of Derby Museums Trust said:

“We are delighted we are going to be able to welcome people to the fantastic new Museum of Making from Friday 21 May. Whilst there are the usual caveats around possible changes to Government guidelines, we hope that this date will be fixed, and we can’t wait to get people through our doors and see what they make of Derby’s brand new museum.”

“We are also really pleased that the museum has been able to collaborate with organisations and institutions across the city and more widely to bring everyone together to create an amazing programme of activities and events. These activities will help us to celebrate 300 years of making, as well looking to the future to inspire the creativity and innovation that made Derby an early centre of the Industrial Revolution 300 years ago.”

 Anne Jenkins, Director, England Midlands & East, National Lottery Heritage Fund said:
“It is wonderful that, thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to support Derby Museums in transforming what is widely regarded as the world’s first modern factory into an inclusive, 21st Century heritage destination. At the start of this journey, Derby Silk Mill was a sleeping giant, under-appreciated and at risk.”

“Now, the new Museum of Making is an exemplar cultural attraction that local people can be proud of, a magnet for visitors and a driver for city centre regeneration. Visitors will be enticed to learn more about Derby’s rich industrial heritage, as the museum sits proudly at the gateway to the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

Sajeeda Rose, Chief Executive, D2N2 LEP, said:
“The Museum of Making will be a world-class attraction, supporting the re-generation and growth of Derby city centre, and a must-visit destination for those in the East Midlands and beyond. We hope it will inspire the next generation of ‘makers’ and our collective ambitions to rebuild and grow our economy.”

Peter Knott, Midlands Area Director for Arts Council England, said:
“We are delighted to be investing in the new Museum of Making and hope visitors will get a real sense of the history and importance of industry to Derby as they explore the site.”

“We are proud to champion the role creativity plays in bringing history to life and hope the museum inspires local and international visitors to explore Derby’s heritage in a creative way for many years to come.”

Entry is free to the new Museum of Making (with the exception of some temporary exhibitions) but, due to Covid restrictions, visitors will need to book in advance. Booking will be open from 10am on Tuesday 4 May.

To find out more and to plan your visit to the Museum of Making, visit

Scarthin Books

We are so pleased that Guardian readers have named Scarthin Books in Cromford as one of the 12 best independent UK bookshops. To read more see: The Guardian website article here.

Heage Windmill  Society – can you help lead us into the future?
Heage Windmill
Heage Windmill

Heage Windmill Society is seeking a new Chair of Trustees. We are an entirely voluntary organisation which has developed over 20 years following the restoration of the windmill. We are a registered charity and all volunteers give their time freely. A major tourist attraction in the East Midlands, we are highly rated by our visitors achieving Hall of Fame and Traveller’s Choice status on Trip Advisor.

A detailed knowledge of windmills is not essential but some experience of chairing meetings, volunteering for charities, running a small business or similar would be advantageous. Are you looking for a new challenge?

If this post interests you, please check out our website at then contact us at for more information.

Rams return to the Painting Space for finishing touches ahead of the Derby Ram Trail launch this May
Derby Ram Trail
Two sneak peeks of the designs the public will see as part of Derby Ram Trail this summer. ‘Ramble’ by Caroline Coates (L) and ‘Railway Communities’ by Holly Aspinall (R)

The unique world-class sculpture trail will take place from 27th May to 22nd August 2021.

Excitement for this summer’s must-see Derby Ram Trail is building, as the last of the 30 five-foot ram sculptures – which will form Derby’s spectacular new city-wide free sculpture trail – have returned to the Painting Space at the Derbion Centre (formerly intu Derby) for their final touches.

Local artists have been working hard over the last two months to uniquely decorate each ram, each of which is sponsored by a local business, making the Ram Trail deeply rooted to Derby. The night before the trail starts, all 30 rams will be herded outside and installed overnight, so the city wakes up to this fantastic free, family-friendly walking trail. The Derby Ram Trail will then decorate the city’s streets from 27th May to 22nd August 2021.

With their bold prints and eye-catching colours, each bespoke ram will be on display outside key city landmarks, such as the new Museum of Making, The Council House and Derby Cathedral, attracting both local residents and visitors from far and wide. The flock of rams will showcase a huge range of artistic talent, with all forms of arts, from illustration to graffiti, being celebrated. In addition, a free app ‘Derby Ram Trail’, which will be downloadable from the App Store and Google Play, will allow all who wish to take part in Derby Ram Trail create their own bespoke trail around the city. A free map will also be available to help navigate the trail.

Tony Butler, Executive Director, Derby Museums says: “The Ram Trail is all about making art publicly accessible, offering something truly unique to all who visit Derby this summer. Walking, cycling – or even jogging – around the Ram Trail will be a fantastic way to discover (and re-discover after lockdown) Derby in a way that’s never been seen before. Be ready for eye-catching colours, dramatic designs and magnificent murals, which sets the stage for a ‘Ramtastic’ summer.”

28 different artists have been busy bringing each ram to life, transforming their 2D designs onto the 3D sculpture. Midlands based Mr A Singh is known for using mixed media techniques and vivid colour in his work, which often nods towards nature’s beauty and the patterns found within the natural world, and self-taught local artist Sarita Gnaniah focuses on mindfulness, aiming to bring out the healing power of art to her creations.

Once Derby Ram Trail has finished in August, all 30 rams will be brought together again for the ‘Ram-union’, before they’re auctioned off on 9th September to raise money for Derby Museums’ Endowment Fund, helping to secure the future of Derby Museums. All funds raised through the trail will be doubled with match funding from the National Lottery Heritage Endowment Fund.

The Derby Ram Trail is being led by Derby Museums in partnership with Wild in Art, a leading creative producer of spectacular free public art who has been bringing accessible art to cities across the world, from Sydney to São Paulo, since 2008.

Charlie Langhorne, Co-founder and Managing Director of Wild in Art says: “The Derby Ram Trail will be the first of our spectacular sculpture trails to take place after lockdown, making it even more unique. We are looking forward to welcoming people back to Derby, and to see the city’s streets full of art, colour and excitement after what has been a really difficult year for many.”

 Derby’s fibreglass ram sculptures are based on the mythical Derby Ram from an 18th century song, which, according to legend, was ten yards high with enormous horns and a huge flowing fleece. The song tells of people travelling from corners of the country to see the huge ram, something which Derby Museums and Wild in Art hope to echo from May – August in this modern-day trail.

To find out more about the Derby Ram Trail, visit:

Cromford Mills zoom
Mrs Froggott and Mrs Henstock at Cromford Mills

On Thursday 11th February, year 5s at St Joseph’s Catholic Voluntary Academy in Derby logged in to an online class with a difference. They were meeting Mrs Froggott and Mrs Henstock, two 18th century mill workers from Sir Richard Arkwright’s mills at Cromford. ‘Why did you start working in the mill?’ and ‘how much do you get paid?’ were just a few of the excellent questions the pupils asked, as they quizzed the workers all about their daily lives. They also found out about the carrots Mrs Froggott grows in her garden, her difficulties with getting to work on time, and how Mrs Henstock has moved up through the ranks in the picking room!

‘[The staff] were brilliant and really encouraged the children to engage with the learning throughout the week’ said Harriet Madeley, class teacher at St Joseph’s. ‘We wanted the children to learn about the history of their local area, as we were aware they hadn’t heard of the mills and didn’t know about [their] importance. The children really enjoyed meeting the mill workers and said it helped them to realise how lucky they are – it was hard to work in the mills. [They] really enjoyed the videos too – they complemented our research activities brilliantly and supported children whose reading skills may have led to them not gaining a full understanding – which is vital when children are learning from home.’

Armed with their new knowledge, the class wrote pieces of persuasive writing, creating slogans and convincing people to come and work at Cromford Mills: ‘So come and join us. What are you weaving for? Cromford Mills: producing, providing, and progressing.’

The session was a trial run for The Arkwright Society’s new remote offer for schools, ‘Ask the Mill Workers’, which is now available to all primary schools to book. For £30, it includes a one-hour zoom session for up to two classes, plus the use of a loans box for 2 weeks. The loans box is filled with activities for pupils to have a go at once they are back in the classroom, such as costumes to try on, cotton to card, and weaving sticks. It complements local history studies for Derbyshire schools, as well as topics that cover textiles and the Industrial Revolution.

The team have also produced a set of accompanying ‘Meet the Mill Worker’ videos, which are free to watch on YouTube. These explore the day to day lives of Mrs Froggott and Mrs Henstock, both at work in the mills and at home in the village of Cromford. There are also downloadable craft and history resources available on the Cromford Mills website.

Hannah Steggles, Head of Heritage at Cromford Mills, said: ‘We have really missed having school groups visit during the pandemic, so we are delighted to be able to offer this new way for schools to engage with the history of our site. Heritage sites offer a unique brand of learning experience, where children can visualise and engage with the past, then connect it to the present. It’s brilliant that our costumed interpreters can bridge the distance via technology and still bring the past to life for these children.’

For more information, or to book a session, please visit or email Eleanor at

Cromford Mills Announce Leading British Artist
Leading British artist
Hetain Patel

Cromford Mills announce it will be partnering with leading British artist Hetain Patel in the latest round of the Arts&Heritage initiative Meeting Point.

Arts&Heritage is a contemporary arts agency with a reputation for its innovative approach to forging relationships between artists and heritage sites. Cromford Mills is one of four sites across the Midlands taking part in this round of their Arts Council England-funded Meeting Point programme, all of whom will partner with artists to create new artworks.

Stephanie Allen, Executive Director at Arts&Heritage, said: “Despite the ongoing challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, Meeting Point has continued at pace and we’re delighted to have worked with the participating museums to select the five artists that will join us on the programme.

“Each artist put forward an ambitious and creative proposal that sparked the imagination of the four Meeting Point museums, and it will be exciting to see how they work together to reimagine the museum’s stories and present them in an entirely new way.

“As well as producing great art, Meeting Point is also a learning programme; an opportunity for museum professionals to learn how to work collaboratively with artists and each other, and incorporate more contemporary art within their own programming.”

Hannah Steggles, Head of Heritage at Cromford Mills, said ‘We are thrilled to have this opportunity to develop skills in commissioning new contemporary art, and we look forward to working with Hetain Patel immensely. The heritage of our site is a complex one, and we are excited for Hetain to commemorate the forgotten stories of those connected to the mill’s history. We hope the medium of art will allow our audience to experience our heritage in a new way, and we look forward to the fresh perspectives that working on this project will bring to us all.’

Hetain Patel works in multiple media, and often asks big questions in his work around culture, identity and freedom. He is the winner of the Film London Jarman Award 2019, and has been selected to take part in British Art Show 9, touring the country in 2021 and 2022.

Of his selection for the Meeting Point programme at Cromford Mills, he said: “I’m delighted to have been selected for this Meeting Point commission, and look forward to working with the lovely team at Cromford Mills. I’m excited to be working with the site’s rich history and rethinking how we commemorate the forgotten people responsible for the success of Cromford Mills and the cotton industry, locally and globally.”

Over the next year, Hetain will work with museum staff, volunteers and the local community to develop his ideas, before creating a response that will be displayed at the mill, for visitors to enjoy and engage with.

Since 2016, Meeting Point has worked with 25 museums and more than 50 museum professionals to create 25 new artworks and deliver over 100 workshops.

Arts&Heritage is funded by Arts Council England.

For more information about Meeting Point and Arts&Heritage, visit

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