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Richard Arkwrights first cotton mill in Cromford, Derbyshire

The Peak District covers much of Derbyshire and parts of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. There are numerous interesting towns such as Ashbourne, Bakewell, Buxton, Leek, Matlock and Wirksworth, plus many enchanting villages

Arkwright's Mill, Cromford

historic interest
Sir Richard Arkwright
Sir Richard Arkwright
Cromford Mill was Sir Richard Arkwright's first and most important cotton mill, at which he pioneered the development of his water frame spinning machine and revolutionised the manufacture of cloth, thereby laying one of the cornerstones of the Industrial Revolution.

Arkwright began his career in the Nottingham area, but in 1771 he and his partners moved to Derbyshire to take advantage of the potential water-power available from the streams and rivers there. Cromford was chosen and the water from Bonsall Brook and Cromford Sough (a lead-mine drain) were utilised. A disadvantage of Cromford was poor communications and it was not until the opening of the Cromford Canal in 1793 that Arkwright had a cheap and easy way of transporting both raw materials and finished goods to and from the site.

The first mill here was built in 1771 and a further one added in 1776. Arkwright developed further patents and the mills were extended until 1791, when they reached their greatest extent. By 1840 the mill was out of date and had been overtaken by the steam-powered mills in Lancashire and the Masson Mill upstream. The second mill was burnt down in 1890 and only the original mill survives, along with some secondary buildings such as the Counting House.

The building was derelict when the Arkwright Society acquired it in 1979 and approximately 3 million has been spent restoring it, a process which is still ongoing. The mill is now part of the Derwent Valley World Heritage site - the valley has an unrivalled collection of early cotton mills.

For more information about Richard Arkwright see

Richard Arkwright
0 - Richard Arkwright
Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK299570 Click here for Google Maps

See location on

How to get there

By Road:
The mill lies just off the A6 Derby-Matlock road at Cromford. Coming from Derby, turn right at the traffic lights towards Cromford Station. There is a small free car park opposite the mill.

By Bus: the 141 bus from Matlock passes the gate of the mill. The Trans-Peak Derby-Manchester buses pass along the A6 within 200m of the mill, stopping on the main road.

By Train: regular trains running between Derby and Matlock stop at Cromford Station - a walk of about 500m from the mill.
When is it open?

The mill is open 9.00am - 5.00pm every day of the year except Christmas Day. Mill tours run daily at 11am, 1pm and 2.30pm
What does it cost?

Visiting the mill site itself is free but there is a charge for car parking.

Tours are charged separately as follows:

Mill Tour - Adults £3.50/ Children and Concessions £2.50

Village Tour - Adults £3.00/ Children and Concessions £2.50

Combined Tour - Adults £5.00/ Concessions £4.00

Pre-booked Group and School Tour Charges - £2.50 per person plus a Guide fee of

Mill Tour £10.00, Village Tour £15.00, Combined Tour £20.00

Entrance to the mill yard is free and this houses a range of small shops and a cafe. Contact 01629 823256 for times and groups.

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary. See this link for more information on prices and opening


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