Why was the Derwent Valley chosen?
The primary importance and value of the Derwent Valley Mills relates to developments in technology in the 18th century that introduced the mechanically powered factory system within the textile industry.
The inscribed site meets the test of authenticity in design, materials, workmanship, setting and the distinctive character of its industrial landscape components.
At its meeting in Helsinki on 16 December 2001, the World Heritage Committee inscribed the Derwent Valley Mills on the basis of two criteria. These are:
UNESCO SELECTION CRITERIA
The site must exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town planning or landscape design.
The site must be an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history.
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
The Derwent Valley saw the birth of the factory system, when new types of building were erected to house the new technology for spinning cotton developed by Richard Arkwright.
In the Derwent Valley for the first time there was large-scale industrial production in a hitherto rural landscape. The need to provide housing and other facilities for workers and managers resulted in the creation of an exceptional industrial landscape that has retained its qualities over two centuries.