Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page
Derwent Valley Mills (official website)
Sir Richard Arkwright's Masson Mills
Arkwright Society
Strutt's North Mill

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 2001
Size of heritage: 1,229 ha
- Buffer zone: 4,363 ha

Longitude: -0,512°
Latitude: 53,029°


The Derwent Valley in central England contains a series of 18th- and 19th- century cotton mills and an industrial landscape of high historical and technological interest. The modern factory owes its origins to the mills at Cromford, where Richard Arkwright's inventions were first put into industrial-scale production. The workers' housing associated with this and the other mills remains intact and illustrate the socio-economic development of the area.

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Derwent Valley Mills: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Derwent Valley Mills, located in Derbyshire, England, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that holds immense historical and cultural significance. This site encompasses a series of cotton mills and associated buildings that played a pivotal role in the Industrial Revolution during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Historical Significance

The Derwent Valley Mills were at the forefront of the industrial transformation that occurred in England. The site represents the birthplace of the factory system, where water power was harnessed to drive machinery, leading to the mechanization of textile production. This revolutionized the industry and paved the way for the modern factory system.

The mills in this valley were established by entrepreneurs such as Richard Arkwright, Jedediah Strutt, and Samuel Need, who developed innovative technologies and production methods. Arkwright's Cromford Mill, built in 1771, is considered the world's first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill. These mills became models for future industrial developments worldwide.

Current State

Today, the Derwent Valley Mills are a well-preserved testament to the industrial heritage of the region. The site covers an area of approximately 24 kilometers along the River Derwent, encompassing a series of mills, workers' housing, warehouses, and other associated structures.

Visitors to the site can explore the various mills, which have been transformed into museums and exhibition spaces. These include Cromford Mill, Masson Mill, and Strutt's North Mill, among others. These museums provide a fascinating insight into the technological advancements and social impact of the Industrial Revolution.

The Derwent Valley Mills also offer picturesque landscapes, with the river flowing through the valley and the surrounding hills providing a stunning backdrop. The site is a haven for nature enthusiasts, offering opportunities for walking, cycling, and enjoying the scenic beauty of the area.

Efforts have been made to preserve and protect the Derwent Valley Mills, ensuring their historical integrity. The site is managed by a partnership of local authorities, heritage organizations, and community groups. Their collective efforts have resulted in the site being recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001.

Furthermore, the Derwent Valley Mills have been instrumental in promoting sustainable development in the region. The site has become a hub for creative industries, attracting artists, designers, and craftspeople. This has revitalized the local economy and fostered a sense of pride in the area's industrial heritage.


The Derwent Valley Mills in Derbyshire, England, stand as a testament to the transformative power of the Industrial Revolution. This UNESCO World Heritage site showcases the birthplace of the factory system and the mechanization of textile production. With its well-preserved mills, museums, and stunning landscapes, the Derwent Valley Mills offer visitors a unique opportunity to delve into the history and legacy of the Industrial Revolution.

Videos from the area

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Rating: 5 of 5
Author: TopFlavouredQuark

This is my point of view as I was being launched by a winch at Cranwell airfield on 14/03/2015.

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Published: November 12, 2010
Length: 53:03 min
Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Ciro Coleman

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Published: October 11, 2011
Length: 14:11 min
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