The Silk Mill (The Museum of Making)
The Silk Mill will be closed for the developments until further notice. It is expected to reopen in Spring 2021.
The Silk Mill is undergoing a transformational programme that explores themes of ‘making and social history’, drawn from Derby and the Derwent Valley’s unique and on-going heritage stories.
From the First Factory to the Museum of Making
Widely regarded as the site of the first fully mechanised factory in the world, The Silk Mill is the southern gateway to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Situated in the centre of Derby, The Silk Mill is undergoing a major redevelopment programme with an ambition to reopen in Spring 2021 as Derby Silk Mill – Museum of Making, bringing thousands of visitors to the city each year.
This concept has been developed by Derby Museums in collaboration with our audiences, volunteers and partner organisations. These partnerships have resulted in a shared ambition to create a Museum of Making that will foster a spirit of experimentation and create conditions for learning and wellbeing. It will shape the way Derby is understood and appreciated and the way in which people from all places are inspired to see themselves as the next generation of innovators, makers and creators.
The £16.4m redevelopment programme is financially supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Derby City Council and Arts Council England. However, the Museum of Making would not have been possible without the ongoing investment of ideas, time, skills and resources from our generous volunteers and partner organisations over the past 4 years. Together we have texted learning programmes, produced major family events, processed artefacts, developed new skills… even built our own furniture and displays!
This experimental approach will continue over the coming months and years where there will be regular opportunities for people to help ‘make’ the Museum of Making.
What makes it special?
- The Silk Mill of John and Thomas Lombe was one of the world’s first factories.
- The silk throwing machines in this building were based on machines studied by John Lombe in Italy – the designs of these were copied and smuggled to England in an early example of industrial espionage.
- The layout of the mills, with a large number of people in two buildings doing a number of processes, was the prototype for the modern factory and was a model for the later textile mills built for Arkwright and partners 50 years later.
What is there to see and do?
- Although much of the original mill was lost in a fire, the foundation arches of the Lombe mill can still be seen next to the river, as can the restored tower.
- Looking for a fun and quirky gift? The Silk Mill has a good offering of unusual goodies and gadgets for all your friends and family.
- The mill’s riverside location lies at the heart of Derby, close to cycle and walking routes to Darley Abbey and beyond.
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