Town’s industrial heritage at risk

Belper's North Mill.
Belper's North Mill.

ICONIC sites in Belper have been included in an ‘at risk’ list that has been compiled by English Heritage.

The North Mill, at Bridge Foot, the road archway and footbridge, also at Bridge Foot, and the town’s Horseshoe Weir form part of the 25-strong list of buildings and structures in the East Midlands.

English Heritage says it is vital that decision-makers recognise the significance of industrial heritage as a vital part of the country’s rich legacy.

Strutt’s West Mill in Belper, which was demolished in the 1960s, is cited as a stark reminder of an iconic industrial buildings that has been lost forever.

Adrian Farmer, the heritage co-ordinator for the World Heritage Site, said: “Conserving and restoring industrial heritage is a real challenge, particularly in the present economic climate, but the mills in Belper and along the Derwent are probably the most important historic industrial buildings on the planet.

“The World Heritage team is working with English Heritage, Amber Valley Borough Council and the mill owners to ensure that every opportunity is grasped to get the Derwent Valley Mills back in good order.

“We want future generations to be able to enjoy them and appreciate their impact on world history.”

Anthony Streeten, English Heritage planning director, said: “Britain led the way in global industrialisation and as a result we are custodians of some of the world’s most important industrial heritage in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

“We have a responsibility to safeguard the visible reminders of our industrial heritage.

“Everyone has a part to play in ensuring that significant survivals from our industrial past do not fall prey to dereliction, decay and ultimately demolition.

“It is not easy to decide what we should save, or how. But where there was innovation, enterprise and quality of design in the past, so there can be again in the creative and imaginative new uses that both developers and social enterprise are finding for industrial buildings – including new advanced manufacturing, the sorts of technology, green engineering and creative and inventive businesses on which our economic future now depends.”