Derwent Valley Mills Through Time

Derwent Valley Mills Through Time - book coverA new book of photographs reveals some fascinating old photos of  Milford & Makeney. In Derwent Valley Mills Through Time, Adrian Farmer – Heritage Co-ordinator for Derwent Valley Mills -traces some of the many ways in which the Derwent Valley Mills have changed and developed over the last century.

There are 11 old photos of Milford & Makeney including Hopping Hill, allotments by the Derwent taken from Bank Buildings, Sunny Hill, the Old Harvey Farm (now the Strutt Arms), the Holly Bush, and Makeney Hall Stables, converted into garages for Herbert Strutt’s collection of motor cars.

Milford Market Place










One particularly fascinating photograph – a  pre-First World War postcard (above) – shows a large crowd gathered, thought to be for a political speech, in the area where Sunny Hill meets the Chevin Road.  The postcard describes it as ‘Milford Market Place.’  At the time, the house in the background was provided for the incumbent schoolmistress.

Mill 02A second photo (above) shows the Strutt mills by the Derwent.  The last owners – English Sewing Ltd – demolished this main mill in 1964.  Derbyshire Life magazine claimed at the time that ‘it has served a useful purpose but has no place in the modern scheme of things. No tears will be shed over its departure.  Its preservation is of no importance.’  This is the kind of comment that would provoke outrage were it written today.  If it had been preserved, it would have been of immense importance in the World Heritage Site, as these mills were innovative when built: they included three phases of fireproofing, one of the factors that inspired the eventual building of skyscrapers.

There are many other revealing photos and information in this book.  It’s available from Belper Book Shop, Strutt’s North Mill Visitor Centre, Cromford Mills and Scarthin Books) in softback, priced at £14.99


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