Cressbrook Mill

Cressbrool Mill is located very near Litton Mill – you can reach it on foot either via the Monsal Trail or via the riverside walk.

Cresbrook Mill is still the major building in the village of Cressbrook though now it has been converted into apartments. The original mill was built by Sir Richard Arkwright in 1779 but this burnt down in 1785 and was rebuilt by Richard Arkwright Jnr in 1787. A large extension (Wye Mill – Grade II listed) was commissioned in 1814 and erected by William Newton on behalf on J L Philips and Brother, Cotton Spinners. Newton was a local character whom Anna Seward dubbed ‘The Minstrel of the Peak’. Behind the mill are apprentices cottages, older than the current main mill building by several years. These were built to house orphans brought as child apprentices from London to work in the mill.

In 1820 the tiny cottages in Ravensdale (known locally as ‘The Wick’) were built followed in 1840 the model village of pretty cottages at the top of the hill. The Cressbrook mill owners were generally philanthropic and as well as fine housing they provided piped water pumped up the hill from a spring near the river and they funded the village band, which still survives.

Above the mill is Cressbrook Hall, the house of mill-owner Henry McConnel. The house stands on a bluff overlooking the river and is a fanciful piece of Gothic architecture. The position is superb, with magnificent views down Monsal Dale. Farther up the hill is the rest of the village, for the most part consisting of the cottages once occupied by the millworkers.

The heyday of the mill was the 19th century when it produced high-quality cotton for lacemaking. After World War I all the local mills struggled to make a profit and cotton spinning ceased here in 1965. The mill finally closed in 1971 after which it was allowed to decay for several years before being restored.

Check out the other posts on Cressbrook Mill for details of walks and how to walk there.

(Some of the imagery is courtesy of The Roaming Picture Taker – Flickr)

Also read the post on Oliver Twist/Robert Blincoe and the article below to get some more perspective on its industrial revolution history.

Orphanage Slaves of Monsal Dale

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