THE SILK MILL
NEW Silk Mill Opening Times
The Silk Mill is reinventing itself for the 21st century and, through reviving the principles of the Enlightenment, expanding traditional perspectives of what a museum is and can be. We are developing the concept of STEAM in the UK – advancing STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) to incorporate the element of Art, understanding that creativity is an intrinsic part of thinking, making and innovating.
From September 2013 we will be inviting you to take part in an exciting community rebuilding project ‘Remake the Museum.’ This project is supported with funding through The Happy Museum Project and will allow members of the public to become citizen curators, taking part in organised sessions, to help design and build new displays, furniture and fittings for the ground floor from scratch. Participants will learn new skills, meet new people and have a direct input into the future of one of the city’s most well-loved icons.
The team will be made up of curatorial staff from the Museum, London-based design experts TILT and architects Bauman Lyons. The work will start in earnest following the second Derby Mini Maker Faire, when the museum will open regularly for this programme of activities.
If you would like to get involved in the Remake the Museum project, you can register your details at www.derbysilkmill.tumblr.com/remake.
Derby’s stunning Silk Mill building stands on the site of the world’s first factory and is the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As a building of great historical importance to the city, Derby Museums is keen to conserve the most valuable aspects of the site, while modernising the building and evolving the entire space into a museum and environment that best serves the needs of the people of Derby. So do bear with us – we’re hoping to create an inspiring space that celebrates the creativity of Derby and provides a place for everyone to enjoy that the whole city can be proud of.
Early history of the Silk Mill
Originally built to house machines for twisting silk together to make threads, the Silk Mill has a exciting early history. The design of the machines was copied by John Lombe, during a period he spent in Italy, working within the Italian Silk Industry. This is possibly the first-ever example of industrial espionage!
These new huge, machines were capable of producing far greater quantities of silk than traditional spinsters who worked in their homes on spinning wheels. The new machines required large buildings and a considerable power source, and an undershot water wheel turned by a millstream on the west side of the new Silk Mill drove the massive spinning machines. Factory-scale silk spinning like this would become serious competition for the Italians.
IN 1722, JOHN LOMBE DIED IN VERY MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES. IT WAS WIDELY BELIEVED THAT HE WAS POISONED BY AN ITALIAN AS VENGEANCE FOR STEALING THEIR TRADE SECRETS…
Transitional Spaces are the places that we are beginning to use to show our previously stored collections.
Derby Museums have a collection that is wide ranging and varied. We hope that you find something to interest you.
The Mildand Railway Study Centre at the Silk Mill is the UK's largest pre-nationalisation railway archive.