Photo’s can unlock secrets of heritage

Derbyshire’s only World Heritage Site is asking people to look out their old films and photographs to see if they have anything which will help tell its story.

The Derwent Valley Mills saw the birth of the factory system – a key step in the Industrial Revolution. In the last fifty years many of those mills have closed – some have even been demolished – so any film or photography taken of the mills, or inside of millworkers, has become an important record of the buildings’ history.

The World Heritage Site is asking people to look in their attics and garages, sheds and cupboards, to see what they can find which relates to the history of the mills and the communities which grew up around them –Darley Abbey, Milford, Belper and Cromford.

“It could be that hidden away across the county are moving images or photographs that can help us better understand the story of the World Heritage Site.

“It would be a great benefit not only to the researchers trying to piece together the history of the mills, but also to the World Heritage officers who use them to help explain that history to a wider audience,” said Councillor Andrew Lewer, the Chairman of the Derwent ValleyMills World Heritage Site Board.

Anyone with film or video they think may be of interest should contact Richard Shenton from the MediaArchive for Ce ntral England (MACE), the moving image archive for the Midlands at rshenton@lincoln.ac.uk.

MACE would prefer to acquire the original materials as opposed to copying them, so they have the best possible copies held for posterity. Anyone with photographs should contact the World Heritage Site’s Heritage Co-ordinator Adrian Farmer atadrian.farmer@derbyshire.gov.uk or ring 01629 536831.