A day out at Cromford Mill in Derbyshire combines fun and education that everyone, old or young, is sure to enjoy. With a fascinating history, this superbly restored mill has been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO. The site is open to visitors every day throughout the year, and boasts a number of attractions and guided tours. The mill also hosts events, lectures and even its own historical festival. In recent years, the site has also branched out to include office space for sale or rent, and offers venue hire for anything from conferences to wedding receptions.
Brief History of the Mill
Cromford Mill was the first cotton-yarn milling factory in England, built by the industrial revolution entrepreneur Sir Richard Arkwright in the 18th century. During this period, the demand for cotton was high in England, which prompted Arkwright to exploit the opportunity. The mill represents a very significant part of the industrial heritage of England, and the original was used as a model for mills in Europe and the USA.
Arkwright had first started with a horse-powered mill, which was quite successful but could not quite satisfy the overwhelming demand. He needed more power to create more cotton. Innovatively, he came up with a water-powered factory, and for this he needed a reliable supply of water. His ideas landed him in Cromford, because it had a constant supply of water all year round. So, in 1772, he founded Cromford Mill, where he created a five-story building which hosted his factory. Arkwright employed 200 people from the surrounding area and further afield. Many of his workers were whole families and he was one of the first industrialists to provide his child workers with education. The mill ran day and night, and workers received just one week’s holiday per year. The mill ceased to function in the 19th century.
Cromford Mill Today
The conditions of the mill continued to deteriorate after closure, and the building was used for manufacturing other products, like dyes. By the early 1900s, the building had only two stories left. This prompted The Sir Richard Arkwright Society, founded in tribute to this pioneer of the industry, to try and restore its glory. In the 1950s it was classified as a World Heritage Site, and listed as a Grade 1 building. Today the facility has been extensively restored and is open for visitors from all walks of life. A replica of the original machinery has been placed on site to give visitors a feel of what it was like back then. There is a historical centre with a library for educational purposes, including a study centre which offers a great learning experience.
In addition, it is a perfect place for a family outing, featuring cafes, shops and exhibitions, and having guided visitors’ tours, which guarantee a wonderful experience. The site is open every day of the year, which makes it the perfect place to visit this holiday season. As a world heritage site, Cromford Mill offers visitors an unforgettable experience.