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Cromford Mills

Cromford Mills

In August 1771 Richard Arkwright began building Mills in Cromford. He created the world’s first successful water powered cotton spinning mill; a vital step towards full scale factory production. The mills at Cromford with their powered machinery, large workforce and factory village became models for others throughout Britain and abroad. For the Victorians who learnt so much from his example, Arkwright earned the accolade ‘Father of the Factory System’.

Richard Arkwright’s achievements are acknowledged throughout the world. In Germany (just outside Dusseldorf), at Cromford and in the United States, at Pawtucket in New England, the first mills using Arkwright’s technology have been restored and preserved as museums. In this country, where the story began, the same process is underway.

The importance of Sir Richard's achievements in Cromford and his partners developments further south was recognised in December 2001 when UNESCO inscribed a twenty four kilometre stretch of the Derwent Valley between Matlock Bath and Derby. Inscription by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site provided the ultimate confirmation of Cromford’s place in the cultural history of the world.

Problems with the water supply c 1840 imposed severe limitations on textile production at Cromford Mill and the buildings were put to other uses. These included a brewery, laundries, cheese warehousing and finally, in 1922, the production of colour pigments for paints and dyes. It is remarkable that so many of the buildings survived this use and by 1979 when the Colour Company abandoned the site, many of them were heavily contaminated with lead chromate. It was generally believed the mills had reached the end of their useful life and must be demolished.

In 1979 the Arkwright Society purchased Sir Richard Arkwright’s Cromford Mill site and began the difficult task of restoring the grade I listed buildings of this internationally important monument. The society employs it's own building team and has it's own conservation joinery workshop. The team includes trainees and young people gaining work experience. The site has a restaurant, shops, meeting rooms and an exhibition. It is open every day except Christmas Day.

The Arkwright Society,
Cromford Mill,
Mill Lane,

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tel: 01629 823256
fax: 01629 823256


Enjoy guided tours, an exhibition, refreshments and gift shops.
Opening Times: Open daily throughout the year (except Christmas Day) 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Entrance FREE Guided Tours: Adult Ł2.00 Child (under 16) Ł1.50
Concessions Ł1.50 per person
Train Station: Cromford: 5-minute walk
More Information: Evening talks and group tours by arrangement.

Part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage

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