Industrial Buildings and Features
World Heritage Site Listing
The Derwent Valley, with Derby at is head has a unique and valuable place in world history. It was in Derby in the early 18th century that John and Thomas Lombe established arguably the first factory which utilised a common power source and organised the workers around this - The Silk Mill. This led to Arkwright establishing his mills at Cromford and Masson some years later and to numerous other developments along the Derwent Valley, such as at Darley Abbey and at Belper.
In 2001 the importance of the area as the birthplace of the factory system and its pivotal role in the industrial revolution of the 19th century, was officially recognised when it was granted World Heritage Status.
A detailed description of the area and its inscription can be found at Derwent Valley Mills
The lovely area now known as Cathedral Green on the banks of the river did not always look as it does now. Throughout much of the 20th century it was actually the site of a huge electric power station. Originally built in 1893 and extended in 1921 it occupied the site of the old Devonshire Hospital Alms Houses which had been built in 1778. A photo of the site can be found at the Britatin from Above website. The noisy and dirty coal fired power station survived until 1971 - 2 when it was finally demolished. All that remains now is a large electricity sub-station at the side of the Silk mill and it is this that can be seen in the pictures below.
This was one of the later mills to be erected along the Markeaton Brook, being erected in 1912 by the firm of Moore, Eady & Murcott. They specialised in the making of high quality knitwear, something new to the town at the time. The company managed to survive until the 1970s.
Happily the building found another role – as the home of the universities arts department and survives in this role to the present day.
Banks & Son Mill
Bath Street Mill
This imposing Industrial building was originally a silk mill, founded around 1848 by George Holme. It was extended to its current impressive size in 1868 and, at one time, it had its own railway sidings – the Friargate line running right next to the building.
George Holmes' firm survived until about 1920 and the building was then let to a succession of different businesses. Although, technically protected by its inclusion in the World Heritage Site, the building has lain empty for some time now and its future is uncertain.
**Tragically, on 16th June 2009 this beautiful 150 year old building was totally destroyed by fire. Details can be found at the Derby Evening Telegraph website
The Maltings, Manchester Street
Brook Street and Front Street
Listed Grade II*
Rykneld Mill forms probably the most complete surviving range of 19th century industrial buildings in the city.
Built as a silk mill for Thomas Bridgett by Frost and Peet, construction began in 1808 and was further extended in 1817 and 1825 as well as late 19th century additions.
The site consists of three principal structures. The first of these is the South Mill (above)which is the tallest at 8 stories with pedimented parapets at either end. This former ribbon mill was built using the fireproof construction techniques pioneered by William Strutt and may be the earliest fireproof silk mill in England.
The North Mill is a former throwing mill with the middle structure being a former weaving mill. (see photo below)
As well as these buildings the site also retains the engine house building, boiler house and chimney base. On Front street can be seen the original counting house, managers house and what was once the Pheasant Public House.
Tape Mill, Markeaton Brook (Demolished)
Boars Head Mills (Darley Abbey Mills)
Although Cromford Mill is obviously some distance from Derby, it is a fundamental part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site and so I felt that it should be included within this section of the website.
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The Roundhouse in Derby is the world’s first and oldest surviving railway roundhouse. Built in 1839 as part of a complex of buildings which included the engine shed and carriage shop (both of which also survive) it was used for the repair of Midland Railway Steam trains. It had a huge turntable in the centre enabling the trains to be turned around.
It was constructed in 1839 in a joint project by four rival rail companies including Midland Counties Railway, the Birmingham & Derby Junction Railwayand the North Midland Railway, for whom George Stephenson and his son Robert were engineers. The Stephenson’s, along with acclaimed railway architect Francis Thompson were responsible for its design and construction at a cost of £62000.
Built of brick, the building actually has 16 equal sides and the interior contains a colonnade of 16 cast iron columns which support an incredibly elaborate roofing system.
Despite being damaged by German bombing in WWII the Roundhouse continued repairing trains until the late 1950s. It was then put to other uses before finally being closed in the last decades of the 20th century.
Over the years many ideas were put forward for the buildings future but none came to anything and the building was allowed to decay, subjected to vandalism and the elements. However in 2007 Derby College acquired the site and embarked on a £48 million project to turn it into their new engineering campus. Opened by Princess Anne on 6th Oct 2010 the Grade 2* building now looks fantastic with many original features surviving.
Toursof the building can be arranged from the Roundhouse Events website
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A scrap metal works on Great Northern Road
I have no information about this unusual building on Pelham Street. I discovered it while out walking and have not yet been able to discover its history. If Anyone has any information I would be very grateful to hear it. Please email me