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Listed Building record MDR3463 - Haarlem Mill, Derby Road, Wirksworth

Type and Period (2)

  • (Georgian to Victorian - 1777 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Georgian to Victorian - 1800 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Haarlem Mill, Millers Green, is a tape factory built in c.1850. It comprises a small four-storey brick mill on a stone base and a round frontage with a large extension at the rear. (1) Haarlem Mill and the warehouse to the west are both Grade II listed buildings. The mill is late 18th century and later and is a building of three storeys and loft. The ground floor, of coursed stone rubble, is original, the upper storeys are a later reconstruction in red brick. It was acquired by Sir Richard Arkwright in 1777 and is said to be the original of the mill in the novel 'Adam Bede' by George Eliot. The warehouse, a plain, long red brick building of 3 storeys and with a range of 17 windows, is mid 19th century and later. The left-hand side (with 7 windows) is original, the rest is reconstructed. (3) In 1777 Richard Arkwright leased the site of an old mill at Millers Green, half a mile south of the town on the turnpike road to Duffield. A new mill was constructed, although water power may have been insufficient since by 1782 a Boulton and Watt reciprocating engine was in use. Pilkington noted in 1789 that, although the working of the lead mines was still the chief employment of the inhabitants of Wirksworth, ‘... several hands are employed in the spinning of jersey and cotton. For carrying on the latter branch of manufacture a mill has been erected by Sir Richard Arkwright from which nearly 200 persons derive their support’. The mill became known as Haarlem Mill. (4) Prior to 1777, a corn mill owned by Philip Gell stood on this site. In 1777 Richard Arkwright leased the corn mill, along with additional land, and proceeded to build a cotton mill. It is unsure exactly when the mill became operational, but by 1780 it employed almost 200 people. It was sub-leased in 1792, and was converted to tape weaving in 1815 by the firm of Madeley, Hackett and Riley. Silk spinning was also undertaken on the site at some point, probably in the 1820s. Haarlem Mill was purchased by the Wheatcroft family in 1879. At that time it consisted of two buildings, one for weaving and one for marking up. Wheatcroft doubled the size of the second building and installed a Crossley Gas engine in 1906, which resulted in the removal of both the water wheel and beam engine, and the in-filling of the wheel pit. Tape continued to be produced at the site until the late 20th century. The buildings were later used as offices for Vivendi Water Systems, but by 2011 they had become vacant. (5) The largest mill complex in Wirksworth on the west side of Derby Road. Four storey block, the lowest of millstone grit, the upper three floors of brick. Behind this is a three storey brick building. The mill is built on the site of fulling mill, the cotton mill being established by Richard Arkwright in circa 1780. It was converted into tape weaving by Maddley, Hackett and Riley circa 1820. By 1876 James Tatton is mentioned as its owner. George Wheatcroft of Speedwell Mill took it over in 1879. Now (1997) used by Memcor. (6) From the 1770s to the early decades of the 19th century the Derbyshire cotton industry was in the forefront of technological innovation, both in the development of construction and plan-form of the textile mill. The Derbyshire industry witnessed a very early, possibly the earliest, successful application of steam power textile production at Arkwright's Haarlem Mill at Wirksworth. The mill was built on the River Ecclesbourne and was just of seven bays and three storeys plus attic, as the water supply was relatively limited. Fire damage and alterations have taken a heavy toll on early mill roofs, though Haarlem Mill's still survives, built of seven trusses combining a pegged mortice-and-tennon and iron through-boulted construction , incorporating a king-post, queen-struts and raked struts. The mill was essentially a plain rectangular box in which all the functions might be housed; this produced the characteristically early typological form in which the effective space of the working floors was reduced by the need to accommodate a stair and counting house (or similar room.) Around 1780, Arkwright installed a reciprocating engine at the mill, where the diminutive River Ecclesbourne was evidently considered to be an insufficient power source in certain conditions. The engine, possibly supplied by Francis Thompson of Ashover, back-pumped water from the tail-race to the mill reservoir. A 1906 blueprint of showing the proposed installation of Crossley gas engines and suction gas plant at Haarlem Mill indicates that the waterwheel was then in situ on the west gable, geared to an upright shaft. (7)

Sources/Archives (8)

  • --- Unpublished document: Cobbold, T (ARS Ltd). 2016. Haarlem Mill and Warehouse, Wirksworth, Derbyshire: Report on Archaeological Attendance.
  • <1> Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Tape factory, Wirksworth.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1896-1900. OS County Series, 2nd edition (1st revision), scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile). Derbyshire XXXIX.2.
  • <3> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. List entry number 1109580 and 1335116.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Bounds, S. 1995. 'Wirksworth in the Nineteenth Century. A Town in Decline?' Unpublished MA thesis, University of Nottingham..
  • <5> Unpublished document: Mora-Ottomano, A (ARS). 2011. Haarlem Mill, Wirksworth, Derbyshire. A Cultural Heritage Desk-Based Assessment and Historic Building Survey.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 1997. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology. A Gazetteer of Sites. Part IV. Derbyshire Dales.
  • <7> Article in serial: Menuge, A (RCHME). 1993. 'The cotton mills of the Derbyshire Derwent and its tributaries', Industrial Archaeology Reivew.



Grid reference Centred SK 28376 52589 (49m by 69m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR5043
  • EDR2992

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Record last edited

Nov 10 2023 10:59AM

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