Skip to main content

Listed Building record MDR10401 - East Mill, Darley Abbey Mills, off Old Lane, Derby

Type and Period (2)

  • (Georgian to Mid 20th Century - 1818 AD? to 1960 AD?)
  • (Mid 20th Century to 21st Century - 1960 AD? to 2050 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • World Heritage Site

Full Description

East Mill, Darley Abbey Mills, off Old Lane, Derby, c1818. East Mill, Old Lane, Darley Abbey. Five storey, six bay eastward extension of the Middle Mill although slightly wider, built in c1818-1819. This mill is of fire-resistant construction with cylindrical cast-iron columns supporting cast-iron cross beams and brick segmental arches between. The roof structure is also of more advanced design. (1) East Mill, an extension to Middle Mill, was probably constructed c1819-1821. Unlike the earlier mills it did not contain any waterwheels. Further improvements were made in 1923, when the water-wheels were entirely replaced by turbines which drove DC electricity generators. (2) The mill closed in the late 1960s but still flourishes after a fashion, split up into smaller industrial units. (3) 'East Mill. 6-bay mill building added to the Middle Mill in 1818. 5 storeys of red brick. Jack-arch, cast-iron beam and cast column fireproof construction throughout. Cast-iron roof trusses. Pitched slate roof. Small, multi-paned sash windows are original. (4) 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.' (5)

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 2003. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology. A Gazetteer of Sites. Part VII. City of Derby.. 57.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Menuge, A (English Heritage). 2000. Boar's Head Mills, Darley Abbey, Derby, English Heritage Briefing Notes. 2-3, B1 and Key Plan.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Craven, M. 1996. The Illustrated History of Derby Suburbs. 54.
  • <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: 14-003.
  • <5> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England.



Grid reference SK 35418 38573 (point)
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR4382
  • EDR3895
  • EDR2336

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

May 13 2024 11:01AM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.