Cromford Creative historical photo

History of Cromford Creative

Driving Innovation Since the 18th Century

Little would Richard Arkwright have realised when he arrived in Cromford in 1771, to utilise the abundant water power of the Derwent Valley in his revolutionary cotton spinning mill, that the factory site that he would create would have a working history extending into the 21st century.

Through the success of the First Mill, Arkwright was able to grow his business at Cromford, constructing a Second Mill and an array of ancillary buildings, which today form the impressive surround to the Mill Yard, before spreading out across Britain.

However, the rapid industrialisation of the textile industry that was spurred on by Arkwright’s developments and success led to the Cromford site’s demise as a cotton spinning mill. The industry consolidating to Lancashire with its easier links to the ports and raw cotton imports and issues with water supply brining the machines to a halt in the mid-1840s.

The buildings then began a new phase of utilisation with an array of businesses taking residence on site including Troy Laundry and Hill’s Brewery and, perhaps most notably, The Cromford Colour Company who occupied and developed a large portion of the buildings from the 1920s to the 1970s. the Colour Company’s occupation is notable as they were manufacturing specialist paint pigments that employed hazardous chromate chemicals which through the years permeated through the buildings.

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In the 1970’s volunteers came together to protect Cromford Mills, the worlds first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill built by Sir Richard Arkwright in 1771. Now an independent charity the Arkwright Society has worked tirelessly  to rescue the site from being demolished.

Around 2010 the Arkwright Society were in a position to embark upon major renovation works, starting with the development of the largest building on site (Building 17) to bring a building on the English Heritage “at risk” register back into use, they were faced with a significant decontamination challenge before any building could begin.

However, supported by major funds from The Heritage Lottery and the European Regional Development Fund and the specialist skills of Bonsers Restoration Ltd. and G F Tomlinson Ltd., through more than 3 years of works, many decades of decay and misuse were wiped away.

Transforming Building 17 into Cromford Creative, a high-tech managed office space, offering flexible office accommodation, plus coworking opportunity, as home to a number of creative, innovative and technology-based businesses; a bustling, creative and energising environment.

One can speculate that Arkwright would be surprised and proud that his buildings are still supporting business and entrepreneurship.

CoWorking for the 21st Century

Don't want to be tied down? Coworking and hot desk options for freelancers, SMEs and start ups
Daniel Winter
Since working at Cromford Creative, my productivity has greatly improved - I've no longer got the distractions I had at home - and I've made some new friends too! Certainly recommended.
Daniel Winter
D C Winter Ltd.

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