Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Wheels and revolutions

The wheels of change have spun at Belper North Mill for many years. From the Strutt's family spinning business through to the twentieth century amalgamation of cotton thread manufacturers as the English Sewing Cotton Company. There are ghosts of water wheels and computer controlled sluice gates to be seen on site. Water power, steam power and people power all turning together to build an industrial revolution with a worldwide influence. In the last twenty years Belper North Mill and the Derwent Valley Mills have been turning those wheels of change in a different way. UNESCO has recognised the importance of the Derwent Valley as a World Heritage Site. Dedicated volunteers and enthusiasts have researched and championed the history, the buildings, the machinery and the archaeological evidence. Belper North Mill celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year. What an achievement! Funding streams have developed in those decades, with Heritage Lottery and more recently Arts Council England getting involved in supporting heritage and museums. Local authority and other support is part of the picture of survival too. But right at the centre of this turning wheel are the volunteers. They keep it all running, as the millworkers did when the mills were first built. We are always looking for people to join us. We especially need people who are happy to dedicate a morning or an afternoon to welcome our visitors during our open season. If you think you can help, please get in touch.

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