Cromford Mill Managers House, Derbyshire

Cromford Mill: selling history to preserve history

It's not unusual for historic buildings to disappear without anyone noticing. But in recent times, individuals, groups and societies have found a way to preserve and treasure these important buildings for years to come: by selling them at auction.

Selling historic property at auction is a great way to establish market value fairly and openly, allowing all interested parties to compete on a level playing field. And while the new owner gets the opportunity to breathe new life into a piece of history, the funds generated from the sale are often used to maintain other historic sites or properties.

One such property up for auction on 22 October is the Mill Manager's House at Cromford Mill in Derbyshire. Part of a World Heritage Site, Cromford Mill was the world’s first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill, developed by inventor and leading entrepreneur Sir Richard Arkwright in 1771.

Arkwright was known as the ‘Father of the Industrial Revolution’. His achievement was to combine power, machinery, semi-skilled labour and the new raw material (cotton) to create mass-produced yarn. And his organisation skills made him the creator of the modern factory system, especially at his Mill at Cromford.

For most of its existence, the Mill Manager’s House has been used as a domestic dwelling, first in association with Arkwright’s cotton thread business and later by others such as Matthew Hill, owner of Cromford Brewery which occupied part of the mill site. Hill lived in the house, known at the time as The Shrubbery, from the 1890s until his death in 1910. Other occupants included William Young, described in the 1881 Census as 'Clerk at the Cotton Factory', and later, George 'Cotton Salesman' Hough.

The Grade II Listed building is now being offered for sale by the Arkwright Society in order to aid the ongoing development of the main site at Cromford, which is the subject of a £50million masterplan. The funds generated from the sale will be used to support the charity’s good work, including delivering education projects, community events and volunteering programmes but also to contribute to the further regeneration of the site.

Further information

The Manager's House, Cromford Mill, is lot 22 at Savills Auction in Nottingham on 22 October. For more details, contact Savills Auctions.

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