Competition winner Bryn’s links to Strutts

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AMATEUR historian Bryn Purdy has discovered a series of coincidental links with Belper’s Strutts family he never knew he had.

And after winning our competition for two books on the subject it gave him yet another chance connection with our former local mill owners to add to the collection.

The former headteacher, who founded Rowen House - an independent boarding school in in Belper, said: “I have been interested in the history of Belper since my wife and I opened a school for the disadvantaged child here in 1979.

“We named our school ‘Rowen House after the nineteenth century ground-breaking educator, Robert Owen, and found out, much later and to our great astonishment that Owen, a Welshman living and working in Scotland, had a close connection with Belper, more particularly with the Strutt family.”

More parallels emerged when Bryn researched the history of the street on which he had founded the school.

He said: “We discovered much later still that we had established ‘Robert Owen School’ on Holbrook Road, in a building created by the initiative of the Strutt family: thus the two friends, Robert and Joseph, were reunited in stone 170 years after their personal friendship.”

Now Bryn has won newly printed books about the Strutts and Cromford’s Arkwright family as part of a contest we ran in at the beginning of May in conjunction with the Derwent Valley Mills Educational Trust.

He said: “It’s another coincidence. I am most grateful to The Belper News.”

Our second set of books went to Debi Lee, aged 47, of Belper.

She said: “I am very interested in the history of Belper, as is my 93-year-old father-in-law and so these books will come in handy.”

The books, which retail for £18 each were out of print for more than 40 years.

To purchase copies email