New Developments at Sir Richard Arkwright’s Masson Mills

Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Newsletter Sept 2003

Diagram of Arkwright's waterframes

Diagram of Arkwright’s Water Frame

Analysis of original Arkwright machinery at Masson Mills has enhanced our understanding of Arkwright’s waterframes. Documents have come to light which show that a waterframe remained in existence at Masson Mills into the 1890’s. New archaeological evidence has also revealed information about the transmission system which powered the waterframes.

Utilising the engineering craftsmanship of the Masson workforce, waterframes are to be constructed and displayed in their original position and powered by the River Derwent. All the necessary ingredients are now in place: water power, archival evidence, details of power transmission and the technical expertise to build waterframes – these will be the first waterframes built and installed in Britain for over 150 years.

Wooden model of Arkwright's waterframe

Arkwright’s Water Frame – Science Museum, London

The waterframes will be a wonderful attraction for students and visitors, who will enjoy an overview of the processes involved in cotton manufacture in this, the finest surviving Arkwright mill.