The wider activities of the Global Cotton Connections Festival day
Hosting the film and poetry events was just one part of the Global Cotton Connections Festival day.The wider groups from Nottingham and Sheffield, including family groups and children, made a day trip to the Derwent Valley, where activities available to them included attending the film and poetry performances, guided walks around Cromford and Belper North mills and exploring the wider context of the mill sites at Cromford and Belper. People were recruited using the wider contacts of Bright Ideas Nottingham and the Slave Trade Legacies group and the Sheffield Hindu Samaj. Everyone set off early on coaches for the day long visit the Derwent Valley mills.
All of the Nottingham and Sheffield participants spent the morning at Cromford where they had the opportunity to attend one of the film and poetry performances and take a free guided tour of Cromford Mills provided by a volunteer guide from the Arkwright Society.
Cromford is the site of the world’s first successful water-powered spinning mill and a main centre of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
Around 35 members of the groups from Sheffield and Nottingham went on guided tours of Cromford Mills provided by The Arkwright Society guides.
There was also a chance to look at the wider context of Cromford Mills and several people visited Cromford Church and looked at the Arkwright family mansion, Willersley Castle.
A free lunch was provided at Cromford then most of the group took a short coach journey to Belper further down the Derwent Valley and another key site of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
In the afternoon at Belper, the groups had extended free tours of Belper North Mill Museum, led by volunteers from the Belper North Mill Trust. North Mill was one of a number of mills developed by the Strutt family, leading cotton entrepreneurs in the late 18th and 19th centuries.
The visit gave the group the chance to look at cotton machinery, gain information about cotton histories and the role of Strutt family as well as to view the North Mill building.
The tour guides were happy to answer questions from the group as well as to take people around the mill.
The tours continued outside with visits to the workers’ housing provided by the Strutt family. Many even had the chance to see inside one of the cottages, the home of one of the excellent guides
The Sheffield Hindu Samaj group returned safely to Sheffield after a good day in the Derwent Valley, laden with copies of their new poetry collection.
Bright Ideas Nottingham, who facilitated involvement of the wider Nottingham Slave Trade Legacies group in the day, also commissioned Christine Belle, radio presenter on 97.5 kemet fm, to make a programme of the Nottingham Slave Trade Legacies group’s experiences. Using sound recordings made on the day she hosted a special programme to share the group’s experiences with the wider community. This reflection on the whole day can be found on: