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Listed Building record MDR2071 - Cressbrook Mill, Upperdale Lane, Litton

Type and Period (2)

  • (Georgian to Victorian - 1787 AD? to 1900 AD)
  • (Georgian to Victorian - 1785 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Cressbrook Mill is a Grade II* listed cotton mill, now disused. It was built in 1814-15 for William Newton and is constructed of rubble limestone, partly rendered, with gritstone dressings and quoins. It has a hipped Welsh slate roof with an octagonal wooden cupola that has an ogee lead roof. It is three storeys high, plus basement, constructed of timber beams and cast iron supports. There is a spiral stone staircase in a projecting bay to the west. Two bays set back to the right may represent the remains of the original mill of 1779 which stood at right angles. The clock and the cupola were added in 1837 to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Victoria. The mill closed down in 1965. (1) The mill was built by William Newton in 1815 to replace Arkwright's smaller mill of 1779, remains of which stand at the western end, by the river. Behind is the apprentices' house, with a false end in Gothic style. 200-300 orphans were employed and were well treated. The McConnel brothers had the mill from 1835 to 1857. (2) The present building replaced Arkwright's mill which was destroyed. (3) Recorded in 1961 as incorporating an apprentice house of approximately 1785, with the western end built in elaborate gothic style with castellations, in order to embellish the view from the owner's house. The site was described as overgrown in 1961. (5) The first cotton mill at Cressbrook was established by Richard Arkwright in around 1783 on land that he leased; however, this burnt down in 1785. Two years later Richard Arkwright junior bought the site outright, with rebuilding probably commencing soon afterwards. According to tradition, the mill was rebuilt on the remains of the original one. Two of the existing buildings may be survivals from this mill of c. 1787. The present main mill was built between 1814 and 1816. The production of cotton at Cressbrook ceased in 1965. More recently the site has been operated by a stone-cutting business. (6) Four storey former cotton mill of 12 bays with a four bay pediment, and a hipped roof with central lantern. The original mill was replaced in 1815 by the present structure. The internal structure is of timber beams supported by narrow cast-iron columns. To the north is Dale Terrace, a row of three storey 1780s stone houses. At the west end of Dale Terrace is the Apprentice House of similar date with a 'Gothic' end facing the river. Like Litton, Cressbrook employed poor apprentices. (7) Apprentice house at Cressbrook Mill is a vernacular building dated to 1785. (8) The pedimented building dates from 1815 to 1816 and includes the narrow two-bay link block to the right of the main building. Another building at the mill to the extreme right dates from the late 19th century, but incorporates fragments of a late 18th century building. The rubble walls were originally rendered. Pre-1800s mills rarely exceeded internal widths of 10m by much and the first generation of iron roofed mills were much the same, thus the 15.2m span of the 1815-1816 Cressbrook Mill is exceptional, equalling the largest spans erected on textile mills in other regions of that date. The mill illustrates the application of fireproof components in otherwise traditionally constructed buildings. The main portion is of twelve bays and four storeys plus an attic. Conventional joisted floors are carried on transverse timber beams, with intermediate support for the 15m spans provided by cast iron columns, the earliest columns being solid and of pointed cruciform section with flat circular 'capitals' and bases. No provision was made for attaching these to the ceiling beams; instead they were wedged in place, and could therefore be moved at will if new machinery dictated a different arrangement. At the west end of the mill is a contemporary two-bay link block which connected it with a pre-existing mill (probably the rebuilt mill of 1785), formerly of three storeys, but heavily rebuilt as a two-storeyed building towards the end of the 19th century. Because of the ownership rights that Duke of Devonshire had on the Wye, the mill was originally powered by the Cress Brook, a much smaller tributary of the Wye. (9)

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Department of the Environment. 1985. Department of the Environment, District of West Derbyshire, Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, March, 1985.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Harris, H. 1971. Industrial Archaeology of the Peak District. p 239.
  • <3> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). 1996. Cressbrook Mill. Slide.
  • <4> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Slide Collection. 1993: 9403.1-22.
  • <5> Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Apprentice House.
  • <6> Unpublished document: RCHME (Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England). 1993. Historic Buildings Report. Cressbrook Mill, Upperdale Lane, Cressbrook, Litton, Derbyshire.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 1997. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology. A Gazetteer of Sites. Part IV. Derbyshire Dales.
  • <8> Index: Evans, R. 1976. Some dated vernacular buildings in Derbyshire.
  • <9> Article in serial: Menuge, A (RCHME). 1993. 'The cotton mills of the Derbyshire Derwent and its tributaries', Industrial Archaeology Reivew.



Grid reference Centred SK 17286 72679 (102m by 93m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR2475

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Record last edited

Nov 9 2023 5:07PM

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