On either side of the stone bridge over the Derwent in 1790 were the extensive cotton spinning, bleaching and dyeing mills of Strutt. The fine old mills south of the bridge were demolished in 1964, but were fully documented. (1, 2)
The 'Old Mill' (1777-80) the original built by Jedediah Strutt. Timber-framed, stone built and five storeys high. The east (1805-6) wing was iron-framed and had a large clock tower. The warehouse (1792-3) was one of three fire-resisting mills built in the 1790's by William Strutt. Iron columns supporting protected timber beams and brick arches paved with tiles. The structure was empty in 1960 and due for demolition. (3)
The retaining walls to the weirs on the River Derwent near the former Forge Mill are Grade II structures. The upstream weir is shown on an Estate Plan of 1792 and the downstream weir is shown on the Tithe Map of 1840. The upper weir is pointed upstream in the centre. The lower weir is semi-circular with a centre stone fish ladder. (4)
Two storey gritstone mill building with later brick chimney being the remnants of Strutt's Milford Mill complex, in operation from c.1782 onwards. Former works bell, dated 1791, set in wall adjacent to the A6 above the mill stream. Latterly, bleaching and dyeing were concentrated at this site after the main 18th century buildings had been demolished and replaced with modern sheds. All textiles activity has now ceased on the site with the earlier mill building used by Robinsons, heating contractors . (5)
The Strutts started purchasing land in Milford in March 1781 and immediately began to construct the first structure in what was to become a complex of cotton mills and bleach works. At this point along its course the river had long been put to use to provide the power for industrial processes and Strutt's first acquisitions were two of these sites, the New Mills and the Makeney Forges and the Hopping Hill Meadow, which included a fulling mill. The industrial sites which were for so long the economic hub of the community have been reduced by the clearance of c. 1960 to a handful of later buildings and a range of archaeological features. On the former cotton mill site, two wheelpits remain, together with the base plates of William Strutt's suspension bridge of 1826 which was removed in 1946. Milford Dyehouse is said to have been built in 1832, two years after William Strutt's death and though he may not have supervised its construction it is clearly a late development of his methods of fire-proofing. It is L-shaped, is built of coursed stone and has a hipped slate roof. The interior is of a vaulted construction with brick floors above. It has iron beams and cast iron columns linked by wrought iron tie rods. The building is eight bays long and two asymmetrical bays wide. The eastern façade has seven pairs of iron-framed windows each with a centre casement. It has double loading doors. In a recess on the south wall, where the 'Turkey Red' building once stood, has been placed the mill bell dated 1781. To the east of this are re-erected columns from the demolished building. The canteen at Milford Dyehouse was built c. 1800 and may well have been designed as an 'eating' room. It is a plain building, built of coursed stone with chamfered corners on the ground floor and has a slate roof. The northern or upstream weir of the two weirs south of the bridge near the former Forge Mill was built sometime between 1787 and 1792 and is believed to have been constructed by the Strutts. The lower weir was constructed some time before 1840, in its centre is a stone fish ladder. (6)
After a period of multiple occupancy the complex now  awaits development. (7)
Bibliographic reference: Skempton, A. W. and Johnson, H. R.. 1955-7. William Strutt's Cotton Mills, 1793-1812.
Bibliographic reference: Nixon, F. 1969. The Industrial Archaeology of Derbyshire. p.268-9.
Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Cotton Mill, Milford.
Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. List entry number 1109247.
Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 1993. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology: A Gazeteer of Sites Part III: Borough of Amber Valley. no.27.
Unpublished document: Derwent Valley Mills (DVM) Nomination Steering Panel. 2000. Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage List Nomination Document. p 75-6, 82.
Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 2011. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology: A Gazetteer of Sites, Part III, Borough of Amber Valley (second edition). p 5.
Unpublished document: Gardner, R D, Johnson, S C & Savage, S A (Pre-Construct Archaeology). 2005. Milford Mill Complex, Milford. Desk-based Archaeological and Building Assessment.
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