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Monument record MDR7742 - Belper West Mill complex (site of), Bridge Foot, Belper

Type and Period (1)

  • (Georgian to Mid 20th Century - 1793 AD to 1962 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • World Heritage Site

Full Description

The West Mill complex included a round mill, of unique shape, with rooms radiating from the centre. Built by William Strutt 1803-13. Demolished in the late 1950's. Reeling Mill and Junction Mill (built approximately 1810) were attached to the West Mill, six storeys and brick built. Both mills were demolished in 1962-3. (1) Construction of the West Mill commenced in c. 1792. The mill was the site of the first suspension waterwheel which was described in some detail under the entry for 'Water' in 'Rees's Cyclopaedia', published in 1811. (2) The construction of the West mill began in 1793 and was still in progress at the end of 1796. It was 61 metres long and, like the Strutts' earlier fire-proof building in Derby, it made use of brick arches and floors, hollow pot arches in the sixth storey and timber beams supported by iron columns. It was powered by two water wheels, one of 12.2 and the second of 14.6 metres width and diameters of 5.5 and 3.7 metres respectively. The goyt which had serviced the two earlier mills was no longer adequate and it was necessary to build a more substantial weir, dig out the banks of the river, and from the vast acreage of water so created, take a supply from a new cut running close by the North Mill and across the site to the new West Mill. William Strutt's contributions to the Derwent Valley sites continued, after he designed the Belper North Mill in 1804, with the Belper Reeling Mill in 1808; the South Mill in 1812 (a replacement of the first of the Strutt mills in Belper); and in 1813 the Round Mill, said to have been modelled on the idea of the Panopticon of Samuel and Jeremy Bentham. (3) The Junction Mill was built at the same date as the Reeling Mill in 1808. (4)

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Cotton Mill, Belper.
  • <2> Article in serial: Gifford, A. 1994. 'The water works at Strutt's Mills at Belper and the first suspension waterwheel', Wind & Water Mills (The Midland Wind & Water Mills Group Journal). Number 13, pp 2-13.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Derwent Valley Mills (DVM) Nomination Steering Panel. 2000. Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage List Nomination Document. p 102, illust..
  • <4> Verbal communication: Farmer, A. Information derived from site visit, personal research, etc..



Grid reference Centred SK 3449 4801 (139m by 168m)
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

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Record last edited

Oct 23 2018 9:28AM

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