The Birthplace of the Modern Factory System

Over 250 Years of Industrial Revolution

Come discover how Cromford Mills shaped the world over 250 years ago!

Nestled in the picturesque Derwent Valley, Cromford Mills was founded in 1771 by Sir Richard Arkwright in Cromford, Derbyshire.  Arkwright and his mill rose to fame as it became the birthplace of the modern factory system and the first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill in the world.

Cromford Mills celebrated 250 years of Industrial Revolution with a fantastic line up of events throughout 2021.  Joining us for a year of celebration, we also marked the 50th anniversary of the Arkwright Society and the 20th anniversary since the inscription of the Derwent Valley as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Celebrations kicked off with a summer of exciting events, including artisan markets, antiques fairs, and online talks.  A series of special event weekends highlighted some of the key themes of the history of the site.  These included a Conservation and Restoration Event, a Georgian Re-enactment weekend, and a celebration of arts and culture with outdoor theatre and art and photography competitions.

The year of celebrations culminated with the Shine a Light on Derbyshire event; a celebration of Derbyshire’s heritage and history held last autumn featuring large-scale video projections illuminating 2 of the county’s iconic buildings – Chatsworth House and Cromford Mills.  Thousands watched Derbyshire’s history unravel in breath-taking night-time shows projected onto two local landmarks as we shone a light on our stories and bring them to life in a spectacle of light and sound!

The first shows took place at Chatsworth House on 22 and 23 October 2021, and the second here at Arkwright’s Cromford Mills on 28 and 29 October.

It was wonderful to see so many of you join us for our very special anniversary year and we look forward to future celebrations of this historic site.