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News from the Derwent Valley Mills

April 2021
News from the Derwent Valley Mills
News from the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site
Job Vacancies with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust have several job vacancies available, including an Assistant Shop Manager in Belper and a Barista and Retail Assistant at Black Rocks, Cromford. For more information see

Rams return to the Painting Space for finishing touches ahead of the Derby Ram Trail launch this May

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 MrASingh 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:

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).
Cromford Mills: School children zoom back in time 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

Learning at Cromford
‘Mrs Froggott’ and ‘Mrs Henstock’ at Cromford Mills




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