DAY 3: CROMFORD MILL AND CHATSWORTH
Cromford Mill was the world’s first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill. It was built by Sir Richard Arkwright in 1771 and was a vital step towards full-scale factory production. The mill we saw is now derelict and I suspect that another mill not far away would have proved more interesting. However, the weather was certainly better than the previous two days and we were able to wander around the site, which is still being renovated, and also take a short walk along a nearby canal.
Chatsworth, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, is one of the grandest country houses in England. Bess of Hardwick and her second husband, Sir William Cavendish, built the original house. The estate is set on the banks of the river Derwent and boasts 105 acres of gardens. Capability Brown laid out the present park in the 18th century. The cascade, built in 1703, is gravity fed by water piped from man-made lakes 400 feet higher than the house. No water is pumped back up the hill. It is allowed to flow into the river Derwent. Legend suggests that Mary, Queen of Scots, used the Bower, a raised garden within the grounds, as a secure outdoor exercise ground. Bess’s fourth husband, Lord Shrewsbury, held her at Chatsworth five times between 1570 and 1581. After free time to wander as we pleased, we met our guide, Stuart, who gave us an interesting guided tour inside the house. We were impressed with the fine collections of paintings, china, furniture, tapestries, sculpture and gold and silver plate.