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Listed Building record MDR10399 - Former Long Mill, East, Middle, West Mills, Engine House and Chimney, Tollhouse, Bobbin Shop and Drying Shed, off Old Lane, Derby

Type and Period (2)

  • (Georgian to Late 20th Century - 1782 AD to 1990 AD?)
  • (Georgian - 1780 AD? to 1830 AD?)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Former Long Mill, East, Middle, West Mills, Engine House and Chimney, Tollhouse, Bobbin Shop and Drying Shed, off Old Lane, Derby, established in 1782. Please note that a number of the component buildings of the complex are now grouped under one NHLE designation (DDR1709), where they had previously been protected under separate designations. The individual component buildings are: Long Mill, East Mill, Middle Mill, West Mill, Engine House and Chimney, Tollhouse, Bobbin Shop and Drying Shed. This Monument record (MDR10399) contains detail on the Long Mill only, please see linked Monument records for the other individual components, the records are seperated because of the various construction dates of parts of the complex. Long Mill, Old Lane, Darley Abbey. The first of the Evans mills, being a 17-bay brick building of five storeys with attic, aligned north to south, built originally in 1782-1783 but rebuilt and modified after a fire in 1788. Wooden windows and interior wooden floors supported on cross beams in turn supported by cruciform section cast-iron columns. All undersides of exposed timber are covered with thin iron sheets to aid fire protection. The attic space was originally used as a Sunday School. (1) Long Mill is the earliest of the mills and consists of five storeys and an attic, and seventeen bays gabled north-south. Its present form is the result of rebuilding in 1789 after a fire in December 1788, but four storeys appear to survive from the Evans' original mill of 1782. The mill is of conventional construction, but a form of fire-retardation, consisting of thin metal sheets nailed over the principal timber features, is employed throughout the building. In the early 19th century the attic served as a schoolroom for mill children. A plan of 1792 indicates that the mill was originally served by a cut from the river that ran to the east of the building. Further improvements were made in 1923, when the water-wheels were entirely replaced by turbines which drove DC electricity generators. (2) Long Mill is unusual in size, as the internal spans are about 10.6 meters, though much greater spans were achievable in the late 18th century. The typical width presumably reflects not only the size of the machines which the mills were designed to house and their lighting requirements, but also the distances which could be spanned economically by the timber (and later iron) roofs of the period. Rebuilt after the fire of 1788, the mill has iron plates nailed to the exposed surfaces of the floor beams, an arrangement that may be an original, which are examples of early fire-retarding measures involving modifications of traditionally built structures in order to minimise the surface area of exposed timber. (3) 'Long Mill, Ellison's Metal Products. Mill with carcass surviving from 1782-88, refloored and a storey added c1791 to accommodate fourth floor and schoolroom. Two-storey wings at north end added c1800. Full height brick water tower of c1800. Five storeys plus attic schoolroom. Brick building on gritstone block base with timber floors (mainly transverse beams with compartmented structure at upper levels). Gable end thermal windows (that to north is original) light the attic schoolroom space, supplemented by rooflights. Internal stairwell at north end is original (timber treads replaced in stone and concrete. Fourth floor is set back slightly above a brick string course and was rendered at one time. Early massive graduated slate roof of Burlington (Cumbrian) slate. Ceiling to ground floor replaced in the late 1930s with riveted steel girders and massive concrete slab-designed to provide air-raid shelter. Ground and first floor only in use. Upper three floors and attic not in use. All retain original wooden floors and thin sheet iron cladding to timber. (4) The former Long Mill part of the complex was surveyed in 2019, specifically recording in the attic and roof space. The location of the schoolroom used from 1789 until the 1830s was identified, in addition to the location power shaft that ran through space to drive machinery once the space was no longer in use as a schoolroom, the location of the former cupola and that the original Swithland slate roof was replaced with Welsh slate in the 19th century. (5) From the National Heritage List for England: '893/9/120 OLD LANE 13-FEB-67 DARLEY ABBEYDarley Abbey Mills (South complex) Long Mill, Middle Mill, East Mill, West Mill, Engine house and chimney, Tollhouse, Bobbin Shop and Drying Shed(Formerly listed as:OLD LANEDARLEY ABBEYDARLEY ABBEY MILLS (EAST MILL, MIDDLEMILL, LONG MILL, WEST MILL, GASSING SHED, POLISHING SHOP, DYEING SHOP, BOILER HOUSE, CHIMNEY, CANTEEN)(Formerly listed as:OLD LANEDARLEY ABBEYDARLEY ABBEY MILLS (EAST MILL, MIDDLEMILL, WEST MILL, FINISHING HOUSE, ENQUIRY OFFICE, TOLL HOUSE, COTTAGES AND OTHER BUILDINGS))(Formerly listed as:OLD LANEDARLEY ABBEY1-5COTTAGES) GV I Former manufacturing complex forming southern part of extensive multi-phase cotton textile factory, partially in use as small industrial estate at time of inspection. c.1792, continuously remodelled and enlarged between 1788 and c.1840, further altered late C19, mid and late C20. Built by the Evans family of Darley Abbey. MATERIALS. Red brick and ashlar gritstone with slate roof coverings. PLAN. Complex forms part of manufacturing complex sub-divided by Old Lane and powered originally by watercourses flowing through the site, fed by the River Derwent. It is formed by a functionally related group of buildings identified as LONG MILL, MIDDLE MILL, EAST MILL and WEST MILL. The SW corner of the complex, attached to the rear walls of Middle and East Mills is made up of accretional structures related to the development of the site comprising ENGINE HOUSE & CHIMNEY, BOBBIN SHOP,DRYING SHED and TOLLHOUSE. LONG MILL: EXTERIOR : 17 bay mill aligned north-south of 5 storeys and attic, rebuilt and enlarged following fire damage in 1788. Various patterns of timber windows, some with cast iron opening lights, beneath shallow brick arched and flat stone lintels. INTERIOR: Lower floor wooden transverse beams supported by single rank of cruciform-section cast iron columns set into detached capitals. Exposed timber surfaces and beam soffits and faces covered by thin iron sheets fixed by nails. The attic floor is supported by a matrix of wooden beams rather than transverse beams. Roof structure supported by timber queen-post trusses with cambered collar beams, the trusses and purlins protected by iron sheeting. The lower framing of a bell tower survives at the northern end of the attic floor. MIDDLE MILL: EXTERIOR: 6 bay eastwards addition to Long Mill of 5 storeys probably dating c. 1796-1801. Various patterns of timber windows, some multi-paned with cast iron opening lights, beneath shallow brick arched lintels. Wide stone framed wheel race arch below southern elevation. INTERIOR: The floors and roof were rebuilt mid C20 following a fire. Large blocked arched opening indicates position of former waterwheel. EAST MILL. EXTERIOR : 6 bay, 5 storey eastward continuation of Middle Mill but slightly wider in plan probably dating c.1818-19. Various patterns of timber windows, some with cast iron opening lights, beneath shallow brick arched lintels. INTERIOR: Fire-proof construction with cylindrical cast iron columns supporting iron beams and brick jack arches and an iron roof. Roof structure framed by iron trusses consisting of principal rafters and a cruciform section king post rising from a low collar with slender spandrel braces at the ends of the collar. WEST MILL. EXTERIOR 7 bay by 7 bay L-shaped westwards 4 storey plus attic addition to central bays of Long Mill thought to date from 1819-21. INTERIOR: Fire-proof construction with cylindrical cast iron columns supporting iron beams and brick jack arches and an iron roof. The brick jack arches run longitudinally in the link block and transversely in the return thus maintaining a single alignment of vaulting but requiring 3 round cast iron columns to each of the cast iron beams in the link, but only one to the transverse beams in the return. The top floor consists of timber joists spanning between the iron trusses; both the joists and attic-level studwork are protected by metal sheeting. Roof structure framed by iron trusses with cranked tie beams, principal rafters, purlins and two sets of cruciform-section struts, all in cast iron, together with twin wrought-iron king-rods. The shorter east-west arm (attached to Long Mill) has straight purlins and cast iron common rafters, the longer north-south arm has fish-bellied purlins and timber common rafters. ENGINE HOUSE AND CHIMNEY. EXTERIOR: 4 bay by 1 bay, single storey southward addition to Middle Mill dating to c. 1896. A double doorway with semi-circular fanlight occupies most of the southern elevation. INTERIOR: Match boarded with stop-chamfered timber roof trusses. Built to house 250hp horizontal single tandem condensing steam engine by John Musgrave & Son, Bolton. Detached circular brick built chimney with string course to cap. BOBBIN SHOP. EXTERIOR: 4 bay, single storey structure to south of East Mill dating to c.1840, original windows have iron lintels. INTERIOR: Cast iron and wrought iron roof with shaft hangers. DRYING SHED. Tall, single storey structure (formerly with slatted sides)with ventilated roof. TOLLHOUSE. EXTERIOR octagonal, single storey rendered brick structure with slated roof a single tall chimney stack late C18 or early C19. Latterly a tollhouse but probably originally a watchman's lodge guarding the entrance to the mills. HISTORY Long Mill is shown on a plan of 1782 by Benjamin Outram powered by a cut from the River Derwent and it was rebuilt in 1788 following a fire. Its late C18 cast iron columns are some of the earliest in situ and it is the earliest known example of a textile mill using metal sheeting for fire resistance. The attic was adapted c1791 for use as a school room perhaps providing the model for the noted example at North Mill Belper. The southern complex was a highly-significant water-powered site with at least four large waterwheels and latterly there were five water turbines - 2 twin and 3 single - totalling over 435 hp. Long Mill and West Mill retain significant evidence of the later phases of their complicated power transmission systems, including rope slots, shaft hatches, bearing boxes and shaft hangers. There are blocked wheel arches in the walls of Long Mill and West Mill and open arches below Middle Mill as evidence of the former waterwheels, some of which reputedly worked to c.1923. 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. Listing NGR: SK3517738550.' (6)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 2003. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology. A Gazetteer of Sites. Part VII. City of Derby.. 56-57.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Menuge, A (English Heritage). 2000. Boar's Head Mills, Darley Abbey, Derby, English Heritage Briefing Notes. HER Doc. No. 727; pp 1-2, 4, B1 and Key Plan.
  • <3> Article in serial: Menuge, A (RCHME). 1993. 'The cotton mills of the Derbyshire Derwent and its tributaries', Industrial Archaeology Reivew.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Morris, M (Mel Morris Conservation). 2004. Study to Identify Candidate Buildings for Grant Assistance and a Review of Conservation Area Boundaries, Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Gazetteer: 14-001.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Hurford, M. 2019. Long Mill, Darley Abbey Mills, Old Lane, Darley Abbey, Derby: Historic Building Recording and Archaeological Watching Brief.
  • <6> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England.



Grid reference SK 35399 38566 (point)
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

Related Monuments/Buildings (5)

Related Events/Activities (6)

  • EDR4371
  • EDR4382
  • EDR3631
  • EDR3895
  • EDR2336
  • EDR4383

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Record last edited

Aug 21 2023 2:51PM

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