In the 1770s Jedediah Strutt and his sons began their pioneering cotton mill business, and in the process transformed Belper from a small hamlet to a thriving industrial community. Through successive generations the Strutt’s built millworkers’ cottages, chapels, schools and leisure facilities for their workers, creating one of the world's first industrial communities.
Much of what the Strutt's built in Belper can still be seen today, including:
Located just next to Strutt's North Mill, these unique and easily accessible riverside gardens have been giving visitors a beautiful place to visit for over one hundred years.
There is a children's play area, a bandstand with peformances throughout the year, and rowing boats can be hired during the summer months to take a trip along nearly three miles of the river.
To find out more about the ongoing history of the River Gardens and upcoming events please visit the Friends of Belper River Gardens.
Take just a short walk from the North Mill towards Belper to view some of the historic millworkers’ cottages that are still in existence today. The beautiful and cobbled Long Row was built around 1790 to house the millworkers that the new Strutt Mills were attracting to the town.
Just across the river's bridge from the North Mill is the former garden to the Cottage Hospital. It has been lovingly restored by the enthusiasm of a dedicated local Belper man, Peter Davies, and is now a peaceful spot to sit and relax.
Across the Main Road from Belper's Mills is "The Old Nick". This was Belper’s Police Station, built in 1847, and for two years from 1857 it served as the headquarters of the Derbyshire Constabulary.
Hidden amongst the millworkers’ cottages on Field Row is Belper’s Unitarian Chapel. Jedediah Strutt had the original chapel built in 1788, and it remains today very much as it was when it was first built.
There are a wide range of historical sites to visit that help to explain Belper’s past, including:
This small stone church, hidden away above the market place, dates from around 1250 and was built by William de Ferrers, Earl of Derby. There is now also a Heritage Centre inside with a collection of old photographs of Belper and other memorabilia.
On Joseph Street you can also see a former Nail Maker’s Workshop. This was an important industry in Belper before the cotton mills were established, with many workshops based around the old town.
Belper Parks is a local Nature Reserve and award winning park adjacent to Belper's Town Centre, which can be accessed from the Coppice Car Park. Belper Parks was originally part of the Royal Forest of Duffield Frith. In the 13th Century the area was used as a deer park for breeding and rearing deer for venison.
Babbington Hospital which used to be the town Workhouse
The Black Swan and Marketplace
St John's Chapel
De Bradlei Factory Outlet
Fresh Ground Cafe Bar
The Lion Hotel
Long Row Workers Cottages
Strutt's North Mill
Belper River Gardens
St John's Chapel
Strutt's Community Centre
The Mill Complex and Weir
© Strutt's North Mill