Working waterwheels harness the power of the River Derwent at Arkwright Mills in Cromford, demonstrating the driving force behind the Industrial Revolution. Built in 1771 by Sir Richard Arkwright, the world’s first successful water-powered cotton-spinning mill now enjoys Grade 1 listed building status as an industrial museum and visitor centre. Photo: Dave Layzell.
Derbyshire’s Derwent Valley is recognised world-wide as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
The innovative waterwheels which powered silk and cotton mills along this idyllic stretch of the River Derwent created mass-production techniques which shaped the modern world.
Though many of these once-essential historic buildings have survived and thrived as museums and tourist spots, others have fallen into disrepair and face an uncertain future.
Overgrowth and rust take root on the impressive architecture of Belper North Mill. Rebuilt in 1804 after a fire destroyed the original, William Strutt’s revolutionary iron-framed building is thought to be one of the oldest surviving examples of a fire-proof structure. It was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2001. Photo: Dave Layzell
Standing as a testament to engineering ingenuity, the Middleton Top Engine House was one of eight steam-powered winch systems on the High Peak rail line. Still contained within are its two 20 horsepower beam engines, which pulled freight trains more than 700 yards distance and 253 feet in altitude up a one-in-eight incline. Photo: Dave Layzell
A bright future could be on the horizon for Derby’s Great Northern Railway warehouse at Friar Gate Goods Yard. The Victorian Society recognised it as one of the nation’s top ten endangered buildings in 2017, and it hopes that redevelopment will breathe new life into this piece of Derbyshire’s industrial history. Photo: Dave Layzell