This was once a cotton mill and the first to be successfully powered by water. Warm water from the lead mining soughs supplied a regular flow of water all year round. This mill saw the birth of mass production and round the clock working – something that had never been done before.
Look at the buildings and how many storeys there are. Many machines could be fitted in on each floor. There are lots of windows, essential to let light in because of the delicate manual tasks that were done to operate the machines.
The power of the water wheel could work a large number of machines in one huge building. Vast amounts of cotton thread could be produced very cheaply. This had a big impact on people’s working lives. The machines worked two 12-hour shifts as did the women and children. The machines could spin, twist and wind – the women and children had to keep the machines supplied with cotton. They became machine minders. The cotton mill employed hundreds of people in Cromford to keep production going on a large scale.
Today, factories still work on shift systems to keep manufacturing going 24/7. It all started here at Cromford.