The Lea arm of the Cromford Canal is a pleasant walk which will bring you to the John Smedley Mills, which are still in textile production today.
The cotton mill of 1783 is concealed by later buildings, yet it has survived surprisingly intact. It was planned and built by Peter Nightingale, who had financed Richard Arkwright at Cromford. Peter was the great-great uncle of Florence Nightingale. The mill was later taken over by the Smedley family, who adapted it for the production of cotton and wool yards, from which the Company’s knitters made high quality knitwear.
What makes them special?
- Of all the first generation mills in the Derwent Valley, only at Lea Bridge has there been continuous textile production.
What is there to see and do?
- Part of the John Smedley mill complex has been converted into a factory shop.
- Near the mill complex are examples of industrial housing dating back to 1783.
- From Lea Mills, you can walk along the Lea arm of the Cromford Canal to reach Leawood Pumphouse and High Peak Junction.