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Do you think Lumsdale was a successful choice for the site of these mills?

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Patrick Hardern 10SP GCSE History Year Ten Coursework Teacher: Mrs Thompson (AT) Friday 13 February 2009 Do you think Lumsdale was a successful choice for the site of these mills? From the 17th century, right up to the start of the 20th century, the Lumsdale valley was a fairly large industrial site in the town of Matlock in Derbyshire. Several different industries such as bone-grinding for glue and fertiliser, cotton spinning after Richard Arkwright lost his patent of the water frame, bleaching, dyeing, barytes processing, paint making, lead smelting and sawing went on in the valley until all plots of land were auctioned off on 6 June 1929. There was also a smithy. Throughout its functioning years, water power was used to drive the mills. The water would be held one of the three ponds in the valley, held in by a dam before being released on the opening/raising of a sluice gate. Once the water had been used for driving a mill, a sophisticated system of launders would carry it down the valley from mill to mill, except at mill one, where the tail race takes the water back into Bentley Brook. The remains of the valley were purchased by local resident Marjorie Mills, who later sold the valley to what is now the Arkwright Society who stopped most of the remains from collapsing completely. One of the three ponds has been fully restored, along with a dam and overflow pipe and impressive remains of a spectacular wheel pit lie just below Pond three. ...read more.


The Cromford canal was built in1794 and Cromford's mills could benefit enormously from this because it was a cheap way to transport goods and no expensive methods such as packhorses would be necessary at all. Lumsdale, on the other hand did not benefit from the canal at all, packhorses were still necessary if the valley was to make any money by selling it's products. The new innovations are just the start of the huge decline of the once-prosperous valley. 1831 marked the start of a huge boost for Cromford with the opening of the Cromford and High Peak railway line, with a station a very short distance away from the mill, which meant no end to the size of the market which the cotton could reach. However, for the Lumsdale valley, it still meant a back-breaking, expensive trip down the steep valley by packhorse if the valley's output was to reach anywhere beyond Matlock. The physical evidence shows there were packhorse routes through the valley and that the valley was, and still is very steep so there was no easy way of getting things in and out of the valley. The width of the valley also means bad news for Lumsdale, only a small number of packhorses could get up to the mills at one time while taking the spun cotton from Cromford mill didn't need so much effort. The sales leaflet tells us that in the valley's latter years, most of the industry was associated with bleaching,dyeing, barytes processing and paint making. ...read more.


in the morning while in Cromford, all the land was flat and you were given a house on North Street with a small garden outside so you could grow crops. The 1847 tithe award map tells us there was still a variety of industry in the valley and census records for 1851 tell us a great 121 people lived in the valley. The sales leaflet from 1929 tells us many houses were empty so people will have moved away to Cromford. Census record also show that in 1881 there was a 15% fall in newcomers into the valley, that 15% will have decided to work in Cromford because of better prospects. On the whole, I think Lumsdale wasn't a successful choice for the site of these mills. Although it started off as good as anywhere, the rapid superseding of the valley's industrial methods show that there are more reasons as to why the valley was not a good choice for an industrial site. The evidence, however, is not all good: the censuses are hard to read, have limited information and can be inaccurate; the photographs are unclear and show only the good points of the valley so they are slightly biased; the physical evidence has all but been completely demolished and we can't infer much from it. Had it been available, other evidence such as rent books, better, more detailed photos and financial records would be useful in finding out more a bout the valley. ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 ...read more.

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