NEWS & EVENTS
I will be adding details of the latest news and post about special events from time to time.
A new series.
Recently, inspired by my background in textiles, I began a new series about the Industrial Revolution in the Cotton Spinning Mills,. These were the first spinning mills in the World and were built in the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire. The importance of the mills is reflected in their World Heritage status. Belper Mill rebuilt in 1803-4, by William Strutt, is the earliest example of a fire proof construction.
The fictional series will be called Amber Mills, which is an Arkwright style mill on the River Amber, a tributary of the River Derwent. The first book, scheduled to be published next year, is provisionally titled Revolution - Amber Mills - A Family Saga.
Revolution, Amber Mills, A family Saga.
Work is proceeding very well on Revolution and I have thoroughly enjoyed the research I have been carrying out in my home town of Belper in Derbyshire. It was strange parking in the visitor centre for the Derwent Vallet Mills World Heritage Site, I used to live in a mill cottage that stood where the car park now is. At a guess, I'd say we were parked about where our front room used to be. Ironic really. In those days, the front room was only used for visitors!
Jedediah Strutt’s first ‘North Mill’, a timber-framed building , was completed in 1786. Fire was a major hazard for early cotton factories. Cotton fibre filled the atmosphere, lighting was by candle or oil lamp, machinery had to be oiled constantly and some processes involved metal parts beating against each other and creating sparks. North Mill burned down in 1803, uninsured.
Jedediah’s son William Strutt was directly involved in designing the replacement mill which houses the museum today. He brought in a number of innovations including an iron ‘fire-proof’ frame. This was widely copied and became a template for modern skyscraper engineering. The North Mill museum contains a fascinating glimpse of what life was like in a mill. It also details the Strutt family and their influence on the life of the mill workers, providing homes, education, food. They were huge benefacters to the town.
If you are interested in the Industrial Revolution, this site is well worth a visit. The fascinating insights it reveals into the lives of ordinary people, show that it was not all "dark satanic mills".