Updated 26 Jun 2007

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Photo 526


Posted 1903.

Masson Mill weir, Matlock Bath

The weir is on the River Derwent, just upstream from Masson Mill at Matlock Bath Its pleasant shape may have been forced by the location of rocks in the river bed. The weir has a fall of 30 feet, and was built to channel water to an overshot water wheel driving machinery in Masson cotton Mill. Masson Mill was Sir Richard Arkwright's third mill, built about 1783. The water held back was also used in a nearby paper mill, built before the cotton mill. Water was channelled along a "leat" (just to the left of the weir) to the waterwheel. The weir was not liked when first built because it seemed "artificial" and clashed with the beautiful scenery close to the Derwent. The importance of water in the Derwent is indicated here:
"Water which powered the cotton mills was protected by act of parliament so anyone wishing to extract upstream of the mills had to comply with strict conditions with a heavy financial penalty if they failed to do so. The conditions were that water could only be removed from the Derwent between the hours of 8pm on Saturdays and 8pm on Sundays and no more than one twentieth of the flow of the river in any period of that time, and none at all if the flow was less than 570 tons per minute. The flow was measured at the weir behind Masson Mill, Matlock Bath."

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