Industrial sites listed as “at risk”

Arkright's Cromford Mill
Arkright's Cromford Mill

THEY may have been some of the most significant centres of industry of their time, but two Dales mills have been deemed “at risk” in a report compiled by English Heritage.

Concern has been raised over both Haarlem Mill in Wirksworth and Cromford Mill in Cromford, which been added to the list.

More than 25 have been listed in the East Midlands, the third highest number in the country, which forms part of the largest ever research nationwide project into the condition of industrial heritage.

Anthony Streeten, English Heritage planning director for the East Midlands, said: “Britain led the way in global industrialisation and as a result we are custodians of some of the world’s most important industrial heritage in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

“As traditional manufacturing across the East Midlands’ has shrunk over the years, we have a responsibility to safeguard the visible reminders of our industrial heritage.

“Everyone has a part to play in ensuring that significant survivals from our industrial past do not fall prey to dereliction, decay and ultimately demolition.

“It is not easy to decide what we should save- or how.

“The East Midlands has contributed positively to the strong national tradition since the 1960s of local groups taking on the preservation of their distinctive industrial heritage.”

Both Haarlem Mill and Cromford Mill were built by industrial revolution entrepreneur Richard Arkwright in the late 1700s.

Haarlem Mill was the first cotton mill in the world to use a steam engine, although not to drive the machinery directly, and employed almost 200 people.

The base of the original building survives, but the upper three floors have since been rebuilt.

Cromford Mill was the first water-powered cotton spinning mill and now forms part of the World Heritage Site- Derwent Valley Mills.

Such was its success, the mill was copied across the world and today it is open to the public.

However, Sarah McLeod, director of the Arkwright Society, which now runs Cromford Mill admitted there are buildings that still need attention.

She said: “The site has been on the at risk register for some time, over 50 per cent of our buildings are derelict.

“We are desperately trying to raise funds for building 17, which is on that register.”

The project will cost in the region £5 million, and although she is confident grants will help pay for it, a shortfall of around £250,000 is expected – which she hopes can be bridged though an upcoming campaign.

“We have come so far with this project already, we can’t afford to fall at the last hurdle, she added.

“It’s a very difficult time for us given the economic climate but we have to get that building up and running.”