Listed Building: HAARLEM MILL (1335116)

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Grade II*
Authority Historic England
Volume/Map/Item 812, 5, 57
Date assigned Tuesday, January 23, 1973
Date last amended Monday, November 30, 2009


Cotton spinning mill, 1777-80, with later work, erected by the industrialist Richard Arkwright. MATERIALS: Ashlar and coursed rubble stonework to first floor sill level, with red brick above and a slate-covered roof. PLAN: Rectangular in plan, seven window bays in length and three wide. EXTERIOR: Four storeys high with a gabled roof. The ground and first floor sills are continuous forming a string. The window openings have flat stone heads at ground-floor level with brick heads of similar form above. The windows of the upper floor have raised sill levels. Above the second floor window head level, the brickwork in part changes form and is laid in English bond. The window openings of the east elevation have C20 stone lintels in the brickwork above ground-floor level of C20 date. Beneath, within the stonework, the main entrance is positioned in the central bay. Above, at the upper floor level, there is a blocked taking in door with the word HAARLEM painted on the brickwork beneath. A projecting closet or upright shaft block occupies the first bay on the left of the south elevation, adjacent to which is a mid C20, metal, fire escape stair; the doorways for which have been created by enlarging window openings. A short, square, brick chimney, supported by C20 metal strap work, rises above the eaves, occupying the fourth bay from the left. This is a wider bay across the building than the remainder, with wider window openings on both the south and north elevations in both the brick and stone walling. At the base of the chimney, and adjoining the left end of the south elevation, is a single-storey rectangular block constructed of modern blockwork but erected in part upon the surviving lower courses of the early engine house. At the west end is an area of ashlar masonry associated with the location of the waterwheel and wheel pit, both now lost. At the right corner of the west elevation is a metal bearing housing within a larger, earlier opening, the location of which relates to the position of the former upright drive shaft within the mill at this corner. INTERIOR: Open floors, stone flagged at ground floor level and timber above, carried by substantial timber bridging beams, some strengthened by tension rods. At the east end, an C18 timber stair case, with some repair, provides access through the floors and at second-floor level an C18, two panel door survives off the landing. Evidence of early offices adjacent to the east end entrance door. At the south west corner, door openings provide access to an attached closet or vertical shaft block, now lacking any joinery; access at the upper floor is blocked. In the same corner, bearing housings and, at the lowest level, pad stones provide evidence for the location of the upright drive shaft. On the second floor the bridging beams have empty mortices on the underside where posts formerly engaged, close to the walls, with additional evidence on their faces of support for line shafting. At first-floor level there is evidence of some fire damage at the south west corner. On the south side the chimney stack is expressed internally at all floors. The roof is supported by an C18 pegged, kingpost roof with princess posts, of light scantling carrying two ranks of purlins. The posts are throughbolted to the ties. Arabic numeral marks apparent on one truss. On the north side, an area covered by the mill pond until the mid C20, there is a large car park and a modern industrial building which is attached to the north side of the mill by a narrow modern link. Neither the link nor the modern building are of special interest. East of the mill is a stone bridge and paved spill way which carries the course of the River Ecclesbourne. HISTORY: During the C18, the establishment of the newly powered textile industry in the Midlands caused a dramatic reversal of the region's economy, from one of marginal agricultural subsistence to one of industrial prosperity. In 1769 Richard Arkwright patented a cotton spinning frame which combined for the first time the stages of spinning and winding-on into one mechanical process. In the same year he erected a horse-powered mill in Nottingham and two years later a water-powered mill at Cromford in Derbyshire. The patent on Arkwright's water frame lapsed in 1785. Many entrepreneurs, realising the opportunities in utilising the newly released cotton-spinning technology, invested in the building of cotton factories in substantial numbers. Early steam engines were used to supplement existing power arrangements, and at sites where water supply was amply available they remained a secondary system. Nevertheless, this arrangement was the precursor of driving machinery directly by steam power, a development which precipitated the enormous expansion in Britain's industrial economy. Haarlem Mill stands on the modest River Ecclesbourne and is only 17m x 8m, typical of early factories. Richard Arkwright leased the site in 1777 with the intention of building a water-powered mill, and in the same month enquired about a Boulton and Watt steam engine. The mill was built by 1780 when he opted to install an engine said to have been made locally by Joseph Thompson. As the first use of steam power to directly drive machinery was not until 1786, it is likely that it was a water pumping engine, not unusual in C18 mines. The present list description suggests that the stone-built, lower floor of the mill is a survivor from an earlier mill. While this may conceivably be the case, there is no firm evidence. The incorporation of the chimney as an original feature of the mill's design implies that the steam engine was not an after thought but was a planned part of the mill's power system, designed to maintain supply to the water wheel by returning spent water from the tailrace up to the mill reservoir. Although water power supported by a steam pump is documented in early textile factories from the 1780s onwards, notably in the silk and cotton districts of Cheshire, the installation at Haarlem Mill is a very early application, if not the earliest. Haarlem Mill was sold in 1792 and the Thompson engine was replaced In 1814, when it was advertised as being 'in excellent repair'. The conversion for tape weaving in 1815 is said to have been by Maddley Hackett and Riley, smallware manufacturers of Derby, and the name Haarlem Mill was acquired, after a works in Derby of a similar name. Silk weaving was carried on in part of the site in the 1820s and it subsequently passed through several hands until it was purchased by the Wheatcroft family, local tape manufacturers, in 1858. Around this time the mill manager was Samuel Evans, uncle of the novelist George Eliot (1819 -1880), who is said to have based the characters Adam Bede and Dinah Morris, in her novel 'Adam Bede'(1859), on her uncle and aunt, and used Haarlem Mill as the inspiration for the mill in 'The Mill on the Floss'(1860). The Wheatcrofts were still the owners in 1906, when a Crossley Gas engine was planned to be installed. Drawings for the new engine held at the National Monuments Record Centre show that a water wheel still existed at that time, as did a beam engine located in the old steam engine house. The new gas engine resulted in the removal of both of them, and the in-filling of the wheel pit. In the C19 tension rods were introduced to bolster the structure and these were supplemented in the C20 with metal strapwork. In the early C20 the window heads inthe brickwork of the east elevation were replaced with the current stone lintels and small pane windows were replaced with the two over two current frames. The mill pond, which formerly extended close to the north side of the mill, has been pushed much further northwards to make room for the mid C20 building which is linked to the north-west corner of the mill, and the car park. SOURCES: Menuge A., The Cotton Mills of the Derbyshire Derwent in Industrial Archaeology Review Vol. XVI, No.1, Autumn 1993 Calladine A., Fricker J. East Cheshire Textile Mills, RCHME, 1993 Falconer, K. Haarlem Mill, Old Building, unpublished report, RCHME 1988, NMR No. 076957 REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: Haarlem Mill is designated at Grade 11* for the following principal reasons: The mill was built between 1777 and 1780, before the expiration of Richard Arkwright's patent on his cotton spinning machinery, and as such is very early in the development of factory buildings; The mill is a very early, if not the earliest example of a factory designed to house a steam engine for the application of steam power in the context of cotton spinning; The mill was erected by Richard Arkwright, an outstanding figure nationally and internationally in the Industrial Revolution; The novelist George Eliot, is said to have based the characters Adam Bede and Dinah Morris in her novel 'Adam Bede' on her uncle, the Haarlem Mill manager, and his wife, and to have used Haarlem Mill as the inspiration for the mill in 'The Mill on the Floss'.

External Links (1)

Sources (1)

  • Unpublished document: Cobbold, T (ARS Ltd). 2016. An Archaeological Attendance at Haarlem Mill and Warehouse, Wirksworth.



Grid reference SK 28382 52613 (point)
Map sheet SK25SE

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Jul 7 2020 11:59AM

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