The Smedley family joined the move in the Derwent Valley towards the production of finished garments, rather than just fabric and thread. The Jay became a reliable symbol of luxury underwear, and ‘Long John’s’ undoubtedly originate from these factories. The industrial revolution marked the start of the growth of branding. Think about the brands you wear today- they are often more than just a mark of ownership and quality: what do they say about your identity?
Buildings & Architecture
Masson Mill was built in 1783 next to the River Derwent to take advantage of a greater water flow. It was the first of Arkwright’s mills to use the power of the river.
Initially the mill was powered by a single waterwheel until 1801. It was then replaced by two waterwheels which continued to generate power to keep the machines working throughout the 19th century. Turbines were installed in 1928.
The mill’s overall layout is very different to Arkwright’s mills at Cromford. The entrance and staircase are centrally located leaving production floors clear for the huge cotton spinning machines.
Today, engineering and technology advances are still relevant to Masson Mill. There are now turbines using the fast flowing river Derwent to make hydroelectric power for the Valley.
Housed inside this building is a powerful steam engine which powers an enormous water pump. On open days you can still experience the heat of the boilers, smell the grease and coal, and see the power of the wave as tonnes of water are pumped up from the river.
The canal was filled with water after it drained out of the lead mines and round Arkwright’s waterwheels. As the miners dug deeper, much to Arkwright’s aggravation, they opened a new sough that bypassed the mill and the canal. In 1849 the pump house opened – and was hard at work to stop the boats grounding.
Demands on water supply created numerous disputes in the Valley- it was so much in demand. Mill owners downstream who relied on the water power from the Derwent insisted the pump was only in action from 8pm Saturday t0 8pm Sunday when their mills were shut.
Aqueduct cottage was home to a lengthsman and his family. Before Peter Nightingale was given permission to build his branch of the canal, he had to agree to separate the Leawood Cut from Cromford Canal with a lock. It was the lengthsman’s job to operate the lock, as well as maintain his section of the canal. [Read more…] about Ackerdock Cottage
At one time there was a rather grand house in Green Fairfield.
Orient Lodge stood on Hardybarn Lane, a long single track running from Waterswallows Road.
Built in 1896 for Samuel Swann Brittain and his Arabic wife Emma there are accounts of the grand house of Orient Lodge employing dairy staff, farm workers and servants.
The Brittains landscaped their estate from open farmland with formal gardens, mature trees from Ashwood Dale and overseas. There are tales of an orangery filled with exotic fruit trees, beautifully built stables for a stud farm and shippons with luxuriously tiled interiors.
However quarrying began at nearby Tunstead in 1929 and gradually expanded, moving closer to Orient Lodge.
By the mid 1930’s a family called Bingham owned the estate and had already sold part of the land to I.C.I.
Robert Bingham kept the house on until he died in 1977 before its inevitable sale to I.C.I.
All that remains now is an overgrown tree lined driveway leading to a great cliff edge to the huge Tunstead quarry.
Read more about the Brittains and the Binghams at Orient Lodge on our Buxton Museum and Art Gallery blog:
If you turn to face the low wall, you should be able to see one of the sides of Chatsworth house peering over the top. The house has gone through many changes since the first house was built on the site by Bess of Hardwick and her second husband William Cavendish in 1549. They bought the manor for a sum of £600 which in today’s money is around £165,000. The construction of the original house began in 1552, but the only surviving and complete structure from this period is the Hunting Lodge on the top of the hill.
Cavendish died 1557, and after another marriage which ended in her husband dying in 1565, Bess married for a fourth and final time to George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. When he was appointed the custodian of Mary, Queen of Scots by Elizabeth I, between the years 1569 – 1584, Chatsworth also served to keep Mary a prisoner. Her rooms on the east side of the house are still called the Queen of Scots Apartments today, even though the rooms themselves are much changed.