2299-0

Upper Mill, Cromford, Derbyshire

1730 - 2000 (c.)

The photograph shows four buildings. The Upper Mill in the centre was constructed in 1771 as a timber-framed structure from coursed gritstone lined with brick. The building was originally five floors in height until the top two were destroyed by fire in 1929. An overshot waterwheel provided the power for the factory. Water was supplied via an aqueduct. The building is grade I listed.

Arkwright’s factories integrated workers and machines within a 24 hour enterprise. Writing in 1790, Viscount Torrington “saw the workers issue forth at 7 o’clock, a wonderful crowd of young people, made as familiar as eternal intercourse can make them; a new set then goes in for the night, for the mills never leave off working.” He was impressed by the scale and grandeur of the factories: “These cotton mills, seven stories high, and fill’d with inhabitants, remind me of a first rate man of war; and when they are lighted up, on a dark night, look most luminously beautiful.”

(Bruyn Andrews, C, The Torrington Diaries, vol. 2 (1935), pp. 195-196.

The other three buildings are, the Loom Shop 1776-86 (left), two cottages c. 1780 (in front of the Upper Mill) and Grace Cottage c. 1780 (right).


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