Range of buildings forming northernmost part of extensive, multi-phase cotton textile factory, partially in use as small industrial estate at time of inspection. c.1790, altered late C19 and late C20. Built by the Evans family of Darley Abbey.
MATERIALS: Red brick with slate roof coverings.
PLAN: Complex forms an L-shaped range defining the extreme north end of the site and now comprising a PREPARATION BUILDING, COTTAGE and WORKSHOP in a continuous range, with CART SHEDS comprising the return to the south.
PREPARATION BUILDING: EXTERIOR : 7 bay, 2 storey range of c.1790 aligned north-west/south-east with remains of a 3 bay return to south-west latterly converted to open cart sheds. The north-facing elevation, originally forming the northern boundary of the site has small windows, possibly later insertions. The southern elevation has a number of large arched openings on the ground floor and a brick built external stair to upper level. Irregular fenestration pattern to upper floor, most openings with multi-pane frames.
INTERIOR: 2 timber-floored to the west of the range, the remaining part of the first floor with brick jack-arches springing from massive timber beams with timber skew backs and tied by wrought iron rods. These beams are covered in plaster to provide protection against fire and are supported by tall, rounded cruciform section cast iron columns with crudely cast capitals. Roof carried on timber queen-post trusses with cambered collar beams.
HISTORY: The northern building at Darley Abbey is shown with its return range to the south on the 1811 map and likely to date to the 1790s as this accords with the other recorded examples elsewhere (see below ). The internal structure of the first floor is of great significance. This arrangement of fire-retarding construction was the earliest developed by William Strutt in his mills at Derby (1792-3), West Mill (1793-5), Belper, and The Warehouse, Milford (early 1790s); as such it was the starting point from which fire-proofing construction ( without the use of wooden components) at Ditherington Flax Mill, Shrewsbury (1797), developed. The Strutt buildings no longer survive and the building at Darley Abbey is now the only known example of this pioneer arrangement. The cast iron columns have a sectional form similar to those known to have been used in the 1790s Strutt buildings at Derby, Milford and Belper and still surviving North Mill at Belper, a rebuild of 1804.
COTTAGE AND WORKSHOP: EXTERIOR: 7 bay north-western section of the range under the same roofline and probably also dating from the 1790s. Westernmost 3 bays occupied by a dwelling and the remainder by a workshop. A variety of windows, some sash frames, the others with cast-iron frames below shallow brick arched lintels.
INTERIOR : not inspected.
CARTSHED: EXTERIOR : 3 bay eastern wall forms the return of the northern range shown on the 1811 map but the present arrangement of open cart shed is later.
This complex of structures forms part of the textile manufacturing site at Darley Abbey which traded under the name of Boars Head Mills. The complex as an entity is exceptional in its completeness of survival, and displays important aspects of the development of fire-proofing technology for textile factories. The site forms part of the closely related network of pioneer textile manufacturing sites in the Derwent Valley; Thomas Evans was an associate of Richard Arkwright of Cromford and the Evans family was related by marriage to the Strutt family who had mills in Belper, Milford and Derby. Darley Abbey sits alongside these settlements in terms of both historic and architectural significance. The mill complex retains all of its major early buildings as well as the C19 additions many of which are distinguished by the use of iron roofs. Source. English Heritage Architectural Investigation Report NBR 33050
Preparation Building, Cottage,Workshop and cart sheds to north of site (Formerly listed as: OLD LANE Darley Abbey Mills (East Mill, Middle Mill, Long Mill, West Mill, Gassing Shed, Plishing Shop, Dyeing Shop, Boiler House, Chimney, Canteen)) (Formerly listed as: OLD LANE 1-5 Cottages) (Formerly listed as: OLD LANE Darley Abbey Mills (East Mill, Middle Mill, West Mill, Finishing House, Enquiry Office, Toll House, Cottages and Other Buildings))