Updated 21 Aug 2006

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Photo 466


From an old pamphlet c.1920.

Haarlem Mill, Wirksworth

Originally a felt fulling Mill, Haarlem Mill was converted by Sir Richard Arkwright around 1780 for cotton spinning. Arkwright installed a steam engine to pump water from below the waterwheel back into a large millpond (now vanished) in drought conditions. Around 1815 the Mill was used for tape weaving and soon became the producer of the famous red tape used to tie legal and business documents. It is said George Eliot's novel "Mill on the Floss" was based on Harlem Mill (Adam Bede's cottage is right opposite the Mill). From 1814 the mill manager was Samuel Evans, the uncle of novelist George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans). She frequently stayed with her uncle and aunt, and Haarlem Mill was the setting for many of her novels including the Mill on the Floss and Adam Bede.

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