Shell Guide photo of Milford Mill by John Piper

Mill 03 by John PiperThe BBC and Daily Telegraph have just showcased Milford – without knowing it. The Tate has been asking the public to help identify images from Britain’s past, all taken for the Shell Guides, first published in the 1930s as guidebooks to British counties.
All the photos were taken by John Piper who was also a painter, printmaker and designer of stained-glass windows and theatre sets. He was also an official World War 2 artist. For the Shell Guides, he amassed nearly 6,000 black and white photographs celebrating Britain’s countryside and architectural heritage, spanning 50 years from the 1930s to the 1980s, and covering many parts of the country, including Derbyshire.
The Tate acquired Piper’s archive in the 80s but many were not captioned; about 1,000 remain to be identified.
One of the photos published in the Daily Telegraph has the caption: ‘Mill, possibly in Derbyshire.’ It is actually Milford Mill. A ChrisW and M Siddons have already notified the Tate on their website, with ChrisW adding: ‘The main mill was demolished in the 1960s; what we would now regard as an act of vandalism, but in the days when industrial archaeology was held in low regard. However, some of the other structures and the boundary walls still survive.’
downloadAnother photo taken in Derbyshire was shown in the Telegraph: a quaint shopfront (see photo)

To view all the photographs taken in Derbyshire by John Piper, click here

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