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News from July to December 2021

Belper Mills
Belper Mills
News from The Derwent Valley Mills
Articles from July to December 2021
FREE Teachers Workshop: Legacy Makers: Children of the Derwent Valley

Heritage resources for schools.

Help to shape teaching resources relating to 18th and 19th century children working in cotton spinning mills and enslaved African children who cultivated cotton.

Derbyshire Environmental Studies Service and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site are supporting this Legacy Makers project. Teachers are invited to take part in a one hour online workshop on Thursday 25th November 4-5pm to help shape the future of the resources being developed.

Legacy Makers is a Heritage project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund by Bright Ideas, Nottingham. The project is developing a set of learning resources focused on the experience of children living in, or linked to, the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site during the time that the cotton spinning mills were in operation in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The resources will explore the lived experience of:

  • Children working in cotton spinning mills
  • The children of mill owners
  • Enslaved African children who cultivated the raw cotton used by the mills
  • Free African children

The resources aim to explore what freedom means and will encourage students to evaluate their own freedom.

The resources are in the development stage and we would welcome your input to discover:

  • The key messages to include
  • The challenges you might have using the resources in schools
  • The challenges of talking about enslavement and child labour

At the end of the session, we hope to:

  • Raise your awareness of the different models of child labour linked to the Derwent Valley from a historical perspective
  • Use your feedback to help shape the content of the final learning resources

To join the session on Thursday 25th November from 4-5pm please click the link below to join virtually on Microsoft Teams. Please do share amongst your teacher colleagues and networks and we look forward to seeing you then.

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 The Arkwright Society 7th Industrial Revolution Conference

The Arkwright Society returns for their 7th Industrial Revolution Conference on Saturday 13th November via Zoom. The Industrial Revolution Conference is an annual event with a diverse range of topics and expert speakers.

This year, leading academics will discuss what triggered and sustained innovation in the first Industrial Revolution, with one talk focusing on modern entrepreneurship as a point of comparison.

Our first speaker, Professor Joel Mokyr, Department of Economics, Northwestern University, Illinois and Sackler Professorial Fellow at Tel Aviv University, will talk on the ‘Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution: A Neglected Nexus’, to show how the development of applied science interacted with industrial change and expansion.

Professor Emeritus John Styles of the University of Hertfordshire will discuss ‘Re-fashioning Industrial Revolution: Fibres, Fashion and Technical Innovation in British Cotton Textiles, 1630-1780’. He will consider how the progress from hand spinning to the Arkwright water frame and beyond was shaped by the changes in fashion in the 1760s-1770s.

Dr Gill Cookson, Visiting Research Fellow, School of History at Leeds University will address Innovation in the Time of Arkwright through a contextual approach to this period. This will offer a view of how Richard Arkwright’s career might have come to move from Barber and Wigmaker to Machine Maker and Industrial Mogul.

Dr Karoline Hutkova, London School of Economics will talk to us on The English East India Company’s Silk Enterprise in Bengal, 1750-1850. She will discuss how technology transfer to the Bengal silk industry came from the same Italian silk factories that influenced the Derby Silk Mill and subsequently the ‘Silk Town’ of Macclesfield, and the effect that had on the Bengal workers.

Professor Simon Mosey, Director of the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Nottingham University will discuss ‘Building a legacy of ingenuity through entrepreneurial organisations’. This talk will help us to consider how the minds of the early innovators might have worked, by reviewing more recent innovation and entrepreneurship.

Tickets are priced at £20! Book your place today at

There will be 20 free places for students if they email Tricia Trice at from their university email – on a first come first served basis!

250 Years of Industrial Revolution at Cromford Mills

Cromford Mills celebrates 250 years of Industrial Revolution by welcoming visitors back with a fantastic line up of summer events!

Nestled in the picturesque Derwent Valley, Cromford Mills was founded in 1771 by Sir Richard Arkwright in Cromford, Derbyshire. Arkwright and his mill rose to fame as it became the birthplace of the modern factory system and the first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill in the country.

Join us in the year of celebration as we also mark the 50th anniversary of the Arkwright Society and 20th anniversary of the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stay up to date with latest developments by visiting

New offer for 2021: Discover the beautiful valley that changed the world
Cromford Mills
Cromford Mills

There’s now a new and exciting way to discover Derbyshire’s Derwent Valley. The Arkwright Society at Cromford Mills and the Belper North Mill Trust are working together to bring visitors face-to-face with the valley’s World Heritage Site and its history. Join us on an escorted tour exploring the beautiful Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site and learn how industry and nature combined to create a globally unique environment.

The Derwent Valley is an area that is rich in history thanks to the work of industrial pioneers Sir Richard Arkwright, Jedediah Strutt, the Evans family and the Lombe brothers, who transformed the valley into the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Visit key historical locations and hear stories about the people who created and transformed the Derwent Valley Mills, shaping the communities we see today.

Choose from three exciting tour options: Derwent Valley Highlights, Cromford Explorer and Belper Explorer. Each tour is tailored to give you an inspiring piece of history from the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. The tours will enable visitors to enjoy a full day’s tour by minibus, starting in either Derby or Matlock, led by experienced volunteer guides. Tours are available from June to September and they can be booked online.

The new tours have been made possible by a grant received from the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Great Place Scheme, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England. Trevor Griffin, Derwent Valley Tours Project Manager commented that, “We appreciate the support of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Great Place Scheme to help deliver such an exciting project. Our aim is to increase the visitor offer in the World Heritage Site and to spread the message about the global significance of the Derwent Valley. Derwent Valley Tours will connect site and stories across the valley.”

To find out more and book your place visit

The Ram Trail lives on!
Ram Trail
Mondriram outside Vaillant’s Customer Experience Centre, Belper © Vaillant

Following the huge success of the Derby Ram Trail this summer, Derby Museums – the trail’s principal organiser – is pleased to share news about 15 of the rams, which have remained in the public realm for people to enjoy.

The Derby Ram Trail was a spectacular free discovery trail, featuring 30 unique ram sculptures that brightened the streets of Derby between 27th May and 25th August this year.  It was brought to the city by Derby Museums, in partnership with Wild in Art, and attracted over tens of thousands of visitors during its three-month run, including Derbyshire locals and international tourists.

The 30 rams comprising the trail were auctioned off in September by Charles Hanson, raising an impressive £300,000 towards Derby Museums’ Endowment Fund and helping to secure the future of our heritage.

The rams have now travelled to their new homes across the country – the ram rambling the furthest now overlooks the town of Prestatyn in north Wales! Half are in private ownership, but there are still 15 rams the public can spot:

  1. Ramtastic and Poseidon rambled off to a Lincolnshire Wolds location set in the grounds of Nettleton Park, owned by Don Amott Parks.
  2. Rambo takes pride in looking after the iconic pepper pot building on the former site of the Derby Royal Infirmary in the Nightingale Quarter, Derby.
  3. Captain Stone was purchased by the entrepreneurs at Project D and will make guest appearances at some of their pop-up events.
  4. Secret R.A.M. and Random Access Memory welcome visitors to Tioga Limited, helping showcase their expertise in Electronics Assembly at their Head Office on Mansfield Road, Derby.
  5. Ramble sits on proud display at Custom Paintworks Derby and was bought in memory of Robin Morley who used to ramble in the Peak District with his son Scott Morley, the owner of the company.
  6. For Those About to Rock warmly welcomes visitors to Brand Outlet on Ascot Drive in Derby, and we are told is already a hit with their visitors.
  7. Pride in Derby has nestled into its new home at Derby City Council on Corporation Street and proudly shares its space with a sheepdog!
  8. Play is residing at Cosy HQ, the play factory in Fauld near Tutbury and will playfully come out on tour with Cosy Direct in support of their work with Derby Kids Camp.
  9. Group’s Customer Experience Centre in Belper, Derbyshire. Vaillant was really happy to win the ram and use it to welcome visitors and staff to their award-winning manufacturing plant.
  10. Nurse Nightingale sits proudly inside the main reception at the Royal Derby Hospital, continuing to support their work connecting art and wellbeing.
  11. Ram Gogh – Starry Night over the Dales and Herding Together to RAMp up Quality take up a temporary position at the Needles Pub in Alvaston, Derby before they move into a new pub garden area next year to welcome families and visitors alike.
  12. Keener eyed ram spotters might also see Derby Industries outside Motus Commercials when driving past their office in Mackworth.

The legacy of the trail continues, and Derby Museums is pleased to extend this by further developing the Derby Ram Trail app with local company, Bloc Digital. The company has freely donated its expertise and time to design, develop and produce the app, which is available to download for free on mobile devices.

Although the trail has finished, by the end of October when the app has been updated, visitors will still be able to navigate it using the app to locate 3D virtual images of the rams in their original positions.

Bloc Digital Director, Keith Cox, said:
“We are delighted to keep the creativity and community spirit of the Derby Ram Trail alive by harnessing digital and immersive technology in this legacy app. Visitors can continue to experience that sense of quest as they explore the city and interact with the virtual rams along the way. The app also brings the trail close to home – once the rams have been unlocked, visitors can take these Augmented Reality sculptures home to place in their own rooms or gardens.”

 Tony Butler, Executive Director of Derby Museums, said:
“It is a fantastic to hear that 15 of the rams will stay on public display as a legacy to the project and we are thrilled that Ram Trail sponsor, Bloc Digital, have continued their support with the development of the app, enabling visitors to continue to enjoy a virtual version of the trail.

 We would like to thank all of our sponsors, artists and visitors for their commitment to making the trail such a fantastic success after such a difficult time during the pandemic, and for everyone who supported us so generously, helping to raise an incredible sum for Derby Museums’ Endowment Fund.”

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