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Tuesday 30th July 2019
10th June 2019
Tuesday 23rd April 2019
The group discussed the forthcoming visits to Lumsdale valley and
The date for visiting Lumsdale Valley was confirmed as 7th July for
guided tour at 2.00pm for the cost of a voluntary donation to Cromford
Mills of £3 per head. Anyone wishing to take part in a car share to
contact Rose Bailey, although Lumsdale is easily accessible by the X17
service to Matlock, handy for anyone who wants to walk all the way
down the valley and catch the bus back to Chesterfield from Matlock.
The visit to Cromford Mills will take place on 24th September. It is
proposed to opt for a package consisting of a visit to “The Arkwright
Experience”, an audio visual presentation that lasts approximately half
an hour, followed by a Mill tour lasting an hour, After a break for
refreshment we would then go on a tour of Cromford village lasting
another hour. The whole package costing £12 per head. Again, anyone
wishing to take part in a car sharing arrangement contact Rose Bailey.
Times yet to be decided. We will need a minimum of 10 people for the
tours to go ahead.
Members of the History group also expressed interest in the
forthcoming tours of the Birmingham back to backs on the 8th June and
Quarry Bank Mill on the 20th July. Rose has been in touch with the NT
group who are organising these visits and will be reporting back to the History
group in due course.
Continuing our researches into the Industrial Revolution we had a
stimulating presentation on the Luddites. Increasing automation and
factory based production (of which Cromford was the first example) led
to large scale unemployment of skilled workers and their families.
This in turn led to an increase in the supply and a fall in the price of
labour, leading to lower wages as workers were rehired as deskilled
labourers in factories, if they were lucky. The alternative was
outright destitution. This led to considerable social unrest and the
appearance of machine wreckers as workers attempted to destroy the
factories and the machines that had caused the loss of their
livelihoods. (It also led to an increase in security at Cromford, as
the Mill was increasingly rebuilt to resemble a fortress). The
Luddites, the most notorious and celebrated of this breed of machine
wreckers were based in Nottingham, where Ludd was presented as being a
latter day Robin Hood, “Ludd” rhyming with “Hood”. The Luddites
flourished between 1811 and 1813. The Pentrich Revolution of 1817 was
orgnised by and ex-Luddite. The government response to the unrest was brutal,
with harsh sentences being handed out including execution and
Another aspect of the response to the Industrial Revolution came from
the Arts, with artists like Joseph Wright of Derby celebrating
industrialism with paintings like “The forge” where significantly the
scene is lit by a white hot ingot of iron. This was followed by the
work of Turner, and his celebrated painting of “The Fighting
Temeraire” a veteran British warship of the Napoleonic wars being
towed up the Thames by a steam tug. Turner’s style had a profound
influence on the French Impressionists, most notably Claude Monet, who
also celebrated technology, most notably in his paintings of steam
locomotives and railway stations. A reaction to the Industrial
Revolution could be found in the rise of the Pre-Raphaelite
Brotherhood and the Arts and Crafts movements, in the mid 19th
century, both looking back
towards an idyllic pre-industrial age. We could have gone on and on
The next meeting of the History Group will take place on Tuesday 28th May
Tuesday 26th March 2019
Our research into the Industrial Revolution continued with
contributions on the development of the railways and the key role
played by George and Robert Stevenson. These were followed by a
contribution on the canals, most especially on the practice of
“legging” the boats through the tunnels. There was also a contribution
on living conditions in the cities, which included the delicate
subjects of personal hygiene, sanitation and disease which led to some
lively reminiscences on the sometimes primitive toilet facilities
existing within living memory.
The NT Group’s forthcoming visit to Quarry Bank Mill was discussed,
with a proposal for History group members to join in on this visit,
scheduled for Saturday 20th July.
The proposal to organise a visit to Cromford was further discussed.
A critical factor in siting industry is often the availability of
power, and in the days before steam this often meant ready access to
fast running water. This was available in abundance in the steep gorge
that was Lumsdale, where there were mills tapping into this power
source as far back as the 16th century, predating Cromford by about
There are guided tours available at 2.00pm on four Sundays in the
year: 15th May, 7th July, 15th September and 27th October. No
prebooking required, just turn up.
We decided on 7th July* for a group tour. The valley is accessible by
public transport with the X17 stopping nearby. The tour takes about 90
minutes, and a voluntary donation of £3 is requested.
The steepness of the gorge makes it unsuitable for persons of limited
mobility. However, although a circular walk, it may be an option for
visitors to continue down the valley into Matlock and catch an X17 bus
back from there.
If anyone is interested in coming on this tour a car share could be
organised, in which case please contact either myself or Rose Bailey.
The date of Tuesday 24th September has been selected for our visit to
Cromford Mills. The Mills were established by Richard Arkwright for
spinning cotton in 1771 and Cromford was the first example in the
world of a modern factory based system of mass production, and for
this reason Cromford is now a World Heritage Site.
There are a number of options for guided tours, each lasting
approximately one hour each and individually priced at £4. They
Canals and Cotton Mills tour
Growing up at the Mills tour
Water, Wheels and Wealth tour
There is also a combined Mill and Village tour available lasting
approximately two hours priced at £8 per head. It may be possible to
negotiate other tour combinations if there is sufficient demand. A
minimum of ten persons per tour.
In addition there is also “The Arkwright Experience” an audio visual
presentation offered at the Visitor Centre lasting 30 minutes, which
would bring a full package tour of 2.5 hours at a total cost of £12
Some of the tours might prove demanding to members with limited
mobility: I will enquire as to whether there are any facilities (eg
wheelchairs or mobility scooters) available for use.
A range of catering options may also be laid on, ranging from a 30
minute break for hot drinks and biscuits at £2 per head to a one hour
break for a buffet lunch for £6.50 or £8 per head. Alternatively we
could just make our own arrangements: there are two very good cafes on
the site, and several others in Cromford village itself.
Some members of our group also asked about the possibility of
combining a visit to Cromford with a trip on the canal boat. This is
operated quite seperately from the Mills by the Friends of the
Cromford Canal and would need to be negotiated seperately with them.
Chartering the boat for up to 20 passengers would cost £160 for a two
hour round trip. However, it may be possible to plan the visit to the
Mills to allow free time for any members to book a trip on one of the
two daily scheduled sailings at 11am and 2pm at an additional reduced
rate cost of £8 per head.
Please contact. email@example.com For more details
Tuesday 26th February 2019
Our group had a lively discussion focusing on our current topic, the
Industrial Revolution, with contributions on working conditions in the
mills, health and safety being a low priority and virtually non
existent in the early days, with many horrific accidents. Working
hours were long and the workforce largely composed of women and
children. There were also contributions on transport, starting with
packhorses, carts, through to the development of canals and later the
railways. with a focus on the Chesterfield canal which linked
Chesterfield to the River Trent. Trips to Cromford Mill and the canal
basin there were discussed, with a possible additional trip to the
Lumsdale valley and the mills there, many of which predated the mills