Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site in the UK.

UK, UK Travel, UK Travel Guide, UNESCO, World Heritage, world heritage sites
Derwent Valley Mills

Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site

As the headlines about factory tend to feature China’s rapid emergence as the new global industrial giant, we look to the Beautiful Derwent Valley in England to find the beginning of the modern “factory”.   The factory innovation was so dramatically productive it soon became the key global model for the creation of goods, ushering in the industrial revolution which was clearly among the most significant events in all of human history.

Derwent Valley Mills is considered by many to be the birthplace of the modern factory system we now take for granted.

Photos at Flickr

Here at Derwent Valley Mills, textile production was revolutionized and the Arkwright model of industrial production was used as tens of thousands were eventually employed in several mills in the valley.    Although pieces of the puzzle of factory production had been solved by others in other places and contexts, it was here in the Derwent Valley that  “A source of power, in this case water power, was applied to a series of complex mechanised processes for the first time on a relatively large scale”.

The Derwent Valley Mills’ historical and cultural significance led to the prestigious “World Heritage Site” designation in 2001. The “Statement of Significance” reads:

The Derwent Valley saw the birth of the factory system, when new types of building were erected to house the new technology for spinning cotton developed by Richard Arkwright.

In the Derwent Valley for the first time there was large-scale industrial production in a hitherto rural landscape. The need to provide housing and other facilities for workers and managers resulted in the creation of an exceptional industrial landscape that has retained its qualities over two centuries.


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