Birthplace of the world’s ground-breaking ‘skyscraper technology, Belper has a rich industrial history and lies at the heart of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
Industrial pioneer Jedediah Strutt built one of the world’s first water-powered cotton spinning mills here in 1776 – and Strutt’s North Mill, now the Derwent Valley Visitor Centre – was rebuilt in 1803 using the world’s first fire proof iron frame, the template for modern high-rise engineering.
Explore the story of Samuel ‘Slater the Traitor’, who learned his trade with the Strutts then became an illegal immigrant to the USA to found the American Industrial Revolution at Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Massachusetts – a link that lives on through town twinning.
After your visit to the Mill, take a town walk to appreciate sights such as Long Row and The Clusters, the Nail Makers Workshop and St John’s Chapel, the oldest building in the town and home to Belper Heritage Centre. Pause for a breath of fresh air, colourful floral displays, band concerts and special events at Belper River Gardens and feel the power of the 18th century Horseshoe Weir.
Then discover why Belper was acclaimed Winner of Winners at the 2014 Great British High Street Awards with some retail therapy at specialist shops and a popular monthly Farmers’ Market in the historic Market Place. Close by, The Butts is worth a look for its choice of period antiques, interior furnishings and giftware.
Treat yourself to an art house film or blockbuster movie at the award-winning, independent Ritz Cinema. Sit back and enjoy the on-screen action in the plush surroundings of a lovingly-restored Art Deco picture palace.