It is one of the key historic communities within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
Cromford has been a settlement for more than a thousand years. It is mentioned in the Doomsday book as Cruneford meaning ‘Crooked Ford’. Before Richard Arkwright arrived, it was a scattered community stretching from the River Derwent to the top of Cromford Hill. The main industrial activity was lead mining and smelting.
Sir Richard Arkwright built his first watered powered cotton spinning mill here in 1771, quickly followed by the second mill in 1776. Arkwright required a large workforce and built houses to attract workers to the village. North Street was built in 1776 and is the earliest example of planned industrial housing in Derbyshire. He also built the hotel and established a market.
Today you can explore the village with an audio tour hired from the Mill Shop at Cromford Mills. The tour takes in sites including North Street, the School built by Sir Richard Arkwright Junior, the water management system known locally as the ‘Bear Pit’ and the Greyhound Pond.
There are a variety of shops and galleries to peruse, including antiques, chocolates, art and gifts. The famous Scarthin Books, opposite the Greyhound Pond, has 100,000 books spread over four packed floors! There are also a range of eating establishments in the village, including the historic Greyhound Hotel built by Sir Richard Arkwright.