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Key Figures

the movers and shakers
Richard Arkwright
Key Figures - Richard Arkwright

Richard Arkwright was born in Preston the son of Thomas Arkwright, a tailor. He received little formal education and his parents apprenticed him to a barber. Find out how he became one of the richest men in England, a knight of the realm, and why he is now known as the 'father of the factory system'.

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Key Figures - Richard Arkwright Junior

Sir Richard’s only son, Richard, had shared in the development of his father’s cotton spinning empire learning his trade at Cromford and running mills at Rocester, Bakewell, Cressbrook and Manchester, either for his own benefit or as part of his father’s business.

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Ditherington Flax Mill
Key Figures - Charles Woolley Bage

Charles Woolley Bage, the noted pioneer of fire-proof mill structures, originated from Darley Abbey where his family had been involved in paper manufacture for two, or perhaps three, generations.

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The Evans' mills at Darley Abbey
Key Figures - The Evans Dynasty

Of the three Derwent Valley factory masters considered here, none entered cotton spinning from a position of greater wealth than Thomas Evans, 1723-1814. He and his brothers, Edmund and George, grew up in a Bonsall family heavily involved in the lead industry.

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Lea Mills, founded by Peter Nightingale
Key Figures - Peter Nightingale

The founder of Lea cotton spinning mill came from a local family who, during the 18th century, had moved up the social ladder from being peasant farmers to prosperous lead smelting merchants and land owners.

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Jedediah Strutt
Key Figures - Jedediah Strutt

Jedediah Strutt, 1726-97, was the son of a prosperous farmer and maltster. He was born in South Normanton and moved to Findern near Derby, when he became apprenticed to a wheelwright.

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William Strutt
Key Figures - William Strutt

Jedediah's three sons divided their responsibilities in the business between them. George, who lived in Belper, managed the mills and the estate, while from their homes in Derby, William and Joseph took charge of the technical and commercial functions.

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Joseph and George Benson Strutt
Key Figures - William Strutt and his brothers

The development of the Belper and Milford mill sites and the Strutt mill in Derby owed much to William Strutt’s engineering skills and creative talents.

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The Silk Mill, Derby
Key Figures - Thomas, John & Henry Lombe

The Lombe family play a key role in the story of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, for their work to establish a Silk Mill at Derby, unlike any previous undertaking in England.

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