One of the most attractive Derbyshire places to visit for morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea is Caudwell’s Mill at Rowsley, a few minutes’ drive from Chatsworth or Haddon Hall: http://www.caudwellsmill.co.uk.
The mill itself was built to produce flour and animal feed by John Caudwell in 1874, and he and his son Edward modernised it by replacing the original millstones with roller mills to make finer, purer flour for baking, and installing water turbines to power them. The last phase of this installation, by the manufacturer Amme, Giesecke & Konegen, was in progress in August 1914: the German labourers were promptly sent home but the engineers, having finished their work, were apparently interned in the Isle of Man until 1919. Edward Caudwell eventually settled the bill in 1924.
Caudwell’s ran as a going concern until 1977, by which time it was recognised as an intact, complete example of a distinct phase in the development of modern milling technology.
It was listed Grade II* and taken over by a trust with support from the landowner, the Duke of Rutland’s Haddon Estate, the local planning authority, the Peak Park Planning Board, and a small army of local people, industrial archaeologists and millers with financial assistance from, among others, the Architectural Heritage Fund, the Carnegie (UK) Trust, the Countryside Commission, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Science Museum.
The mill itself is open to the public, a fascinating warren of band-driven machines, hoists and Archimedean screws. One of the turbines generates the electricity for the site. The mill shop sells flour, oats and yeast – everything you need for quality home baking. In the surrounding yard are craft-shops, a blacksmith, an upholsterer, a glass-maker and a jewellery maker: http://www.caudwellsmillcraftcentre.co.uk/Thecraftcentre.htm.
The café is vegetarian and provides the sort of cream cakes that look as if they’d qualify as five-a-day: http://www.caudwellsmillcraftcentre.co.uk/Thecafe.htm.
All this lies beside the waters of the River Wye, in one of the most beautiful of Derbyshire valleys.
The 80-page, A4 handbook for the 2016 The Derbyshire Derwent Valley tour, with text, photographs, maps and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £10.00 including postage and packing. To order a copy, please click here or, if you prefer, send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.