Cotton Spinning Holiday

Whew! It’s been 20 days since I last wrote a blog post! Where to start? Lots of good things have been going on, not least a holiday in Derbyshire (if you have a map of England in your mind, Derbyshire is pretty much in the centre). We just happened to be away at the right time to enjoy the Summer ‘heatwave’. On the hottest day of the year we visited Chatsworth House, one of the most impressive stately homes in the country.


Chatsworth House – the area of the house extends from the building in the centre of the photo to the building on the left shrouded in scaffolding.


Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Sir Joshua Reynolds

The site has been the home of the Dukes of Devonshire since 1549. If you’ve seen the film ‘The Duchess’ you may recall Keira Knightly playing the part of Georgiana Spencer who in 1774 married the 5th Duke of Devonshire. The House and surrounding gardens and parkland were used for scenes in the film.

We stayed in a little village called Cromford in the Derwent Valley, just south of the Peak District National Park. I thoroughly enjoyed being in a beautiful part of the country that is steeped in industrial history. The river valley is home to the first water powered cotton mill, built by Joseph Arkwright in 1771 – basically the first factory and the start of the Industrial Revolution, where people were employed to work machines doing the tasks they would previously have carried out at home.


One of the Mill buildings at Cromford

The Cromford Mill buildings have been restored and are now a museum, housing modern businesses including Quiltessential 🙂 A quilt shop within ten minutes walk of our holiday cottage – what was my husband thinking of? 😀 And how wonderfully appropriate to have a shop packed full of beautiful cotton prints situated in the first ever cotton spinning mill?




The front of Masson Mill

A short walk up the Valley is Masson Mill, this Arkwright built in 1783 to harness the waterpower of the River Derwent. The mills were built to house the belt-driven machinery that manufactured thread from raw cotton. The village of Cromford contains rows of mill workers cottages built by Arkwright’s company.  Some are three stories high, not to provide extra accommodation but space on the top floor for a loom. Weaving was still a ‘cottage industry’ often involving children as young as seven.


Beautiful Derbyshire – the hill above Cromford

The raw cotton, finished cotton thread and the coal required by the later steam powered factories was transported on the newly built canals and later the railways which began to criss-cross the country. We walked up the hill behind Cromford and found an old building at the top that had housed a static steam engine hauling wagons from the railway at the bottom of the valley for over 1000 yards up a 1:8 gradient to a railway line at the top! Nothing got in the way of those early Victorians and industrialisation.


The old engine shed at the top of the hill (and husband in tourist mode)


Half way down the wagon track – it was very steep!

I can’t help myself when it comes to history so there will be some more holiday photos in another post showing the machinery inside the cotton spinning mills and a few other things quilt related.



About allisonreidnem

New Every Morning – About Me Hi! I’m Allison, an obsessive patchwork-quilter who has no desire to be cured! I’ve been developing my skills and knowledge by paying attention at my local quilting group and by putting my questions into the computer search engine. I’m so grateful to the generous people who have taken the time to share their knowledge with me in person, via YouTube videos or their blogs. I’m intending my blog to be a link into the worldwide patchwork and quilting community and a means to contribute helpful hints and inspiration as I continue to discover more about this addictive craft. So, why ‘New Every Morning Patchwork and Quilting’? Well! I am a morning person! I often wake in the wee small hours and think through design and quilt construction issues. My woolly–headed evening brain finds such issues far too difficult to resolve! If I’m disciplined enough to be asleep by 10pm, I can be up cutting, piecing, pressing and quilting before sunrise! By the time daily family routine kicks-in I’ve had a satisfying, soul-feeding creative fix. (I should mention that ‘family at home’ is: my patient, faithful husband of 27years; and our equally patient 16 year old son, who acts as our in-house IT support complete with sighs and rolling eyes! Older daughter and son have both recently flown the nest). Not only do I find early mornings my creative time I also find it a time for receiving spiritual nourishment. I often find myself humming a gentle chorus and reflecting on God’s constancy as another new day dawns. ‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning; Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord, Great is thy faithfulness.’ Edith McNeil’s chorus is based on verses from the Bible – Lamentations 3: 21-23.
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4 Responses to Cotton Spinning Holiday

  1. Leslie A says:

    I love your photos! Thank you for sharing them. I really want to visit your country someday. It is probably the first thing on my very long bucket list of places I’d like to travel 🙂 I happened upon Chatsworh House when I was looking around on the internet recently. How fun to see an actual photo of it.

  2. Gorgeous! Definitely something to include on my next trip. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Susan says:

    How fascinating! I’ve heard of Arkwright, of course, so I enjoyed your photos very much, and the ancestral home of the dukes is quite lovely.

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