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Monument record MDR11446 - Sorocold's Water Supply System (site of), Derby

Type and Period (4)

Protected Status/Designation

  • World Heritage Site

Full Description

George Sorocold, born 1668, was granted a 99-year lease in March 1692 of "the mill commonly called Gunpowder Mill near St Michael's Mills and two sluices adjoining and the Little Byflatt, whereon that mill stands, with free liberty to erect a water-house, a water-wheel and other engines, laying pipes for conveying water into the streets, lanes and passages within the Borough … the said George to begin work within three months next ensuing and to lay the pipes through the King's Streete, Irongate, Market Place, Rotten Row and the Corne Market inn Derby and soe to the Gaole Bridge … within three years then next following". Sorocold set up trustees who controlled the concern throughout the 18th century and until closure in 1848. In 1713 William Woolley described the works thus: " and on the nearer side (of St Michael's Mills, south of Bridge Chapel) stands a water engine invented by Mr Sorocold, with great art, which, at the same time with a wheel, throws up water to a cistern joining to St Michael's Church, from thence conducted in pipes and supplies all parts of the town at an easy rate. And the same wheel also turns a malt mill and bores elm trees for pipes all at the same time and all managed by one man only". The fall of the water also drove a wheel to grind flints, thus making it self-financing. (1) A notebook entitled "The Suffs and Pipes in the Town of Derby taken July 25th 1799 by Charles Labin, Surveyor, Derby' lists the routes of the pipes within Sorocold's system in Derby. The piping served the streets between the River Derwent and Markeaton Brook, but also went beyond Markeaton Brook in three places, crossed Sadler Gate bridge to Friar Gate and the Wardwick, went over Gaol Bridge to St Peter's St, and over Tenant Street Bridge. (2)

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <1> Article in serial: Craven, M. 2007. 'Derby's First Water Supply', Derby Civic Society Newsletter. No. 85, pp 46-48. illustration.
  • <2> Article in serial: Williamson, F. 1954. 'Extent of Sorocold's water supply at Derby', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Vol. 74, pp 100-111.



Grid reference Centred SK 3524 3663 (110m by 54m)
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

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Record last edited

Aug 28 2019 12:26PM

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