Hidden gems go on show

NBENBE111023b1, World heritage site discovery days, Belper. Brian Deer opens his house on Long Row.
NBENBE111023b1, World heritage site discovery days, Belper. Brian Deer opens his house on Long Row.

MORE people than ever before took to Belper’s streets on Sunday, for a chance to see inside some of the town’s hidden historic gems.

As part of the ten-day World Heritage Site Discovery Days Festival, which continues along the Derwent Valley until this Sunday, October 30, mills chapels and houses opened to the public.

NBENBE111023b4, World heritage site discovery days, Belper. Guide Gordan Dextor explains the how this water frame works to Ian and Linda Handley.

NBENBE111023b4, World heritage site discovery days, Belper. Guide Gordan Dextor explains the how this water frame works to Ian and Linda Handley.

Tours of the East Mill’s fifth floor, the North Mill’s attic schoolroom, the ice house on Bridge Hill and the old mill watercourses were fully booked, and hundreds of people went to look inside the Unitarian Chapel, a millworker’s cottage on Long Row, and a Nailmaster’s Mansion – The Cedars – on Field Lane.

“One of the greatest new additions this year was the opening of houses on Chevin View,” said event coordinator Adrian Farmer.

“Calling Chevin View its original name, Berkins Court, the residents put on a host of activities, including exhibitions and a 1911 wash-day. They attracted huge numbers and we’ve had some great feedback.”

Sunday ended with the Ritz Cinema screening recently-discovered news footage from the East Mill’s final day as a working cotton factory in 1986.

NBENBE111023b5, World heritage site discovery days, Belper. Roy and Anne Fisher looking at the view from the east mill.

NBENBE111023b5, World heritage site discovery days, Belper. Roy and Anne Fisher looking at the view from the east mill.

On the previous night there was a capacity audience for 1623 Theatre Company’s free performance of Supernatural Shakespeare in the River Gardens, part-funded by Belper Town Council.

Milford also had a lot of visitors at walks and openings on Saturday, including a rare look inside the Milford Turbine House, organised by Transition Belper.

The festival continues with events in Belper, Ambergate, Bullbridge and Cromford during the rest of this week.

For more details visit www.derwentvalleymills.org/discovery-days, or to book events ring Gwen on 01629 536831 or email info@derwentvalleymills.org.

NBENBE111023b6, World heritage site discovery days, Belper. Guide Mary Smedley giving a tour at the east mill.

NBENBE111023b6, World heritage site discovery days, Belper. Guide Mary Smedley giving a tour at the east mill.

NBENBE111023b7, World heritage site discovery days, Belper. Guide Mary Smedley giving a tour Belpers unitarian chapels catacomb beneath the boxed pews.

NBENBE111023b7, World heritage site discovery days, Belper. Guide Mary Smedley giving a tour Belpers unitarian chapels catacomb beneath the boxed pews.