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About Belper

Belper is an historic market town situated within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

The fireproof mill was built by Jedediah Strutt’s son William and this had a significant impact on future development.
An apprentice called Samuel Slater worked at the mill and after he emigrated to America, he became known as the Father of American Manufacturers.
The Amber Valley area is twinned with the Blackstone Valley in Rhode Island and Belper is twinned with Pawtucket because of these early industrialists.
Close to the mill complex the beautiful River Gardens offer a tranquil place to watch the world go by.
During the summer months, well dressings take place in the gardens or there might be a band concert to enjoy.
The oldest building in Belper is St John's Chapel dating from 1250.

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Once famous for nail making, it was the genius of the Strutt family who changed the face of the town. Jedediah Strutt built one of the world's earliest water powered cotton mills.


‘It was here in the 1770s that Jedediah Strutt and his sons began their pioneer cotton mill business, and by building and buying homes and facilities for their workers created one of the world's first industrial communities’



These unique riverside gardens have been giving visitors a beautiful place to stretch their legs and view the River Derwent for over 100 years.
In 1905, former mill owner George Herbert Strutt agreed for the river above Belper Weir to be used for recreational boating.
A boathouse and landing stage were built on a island previously used to grow willows to make baskets for use in the mill.
The boating events proved very popular and the River Gardens were extended and new additions such as the Swiss Tea Rooms and the promenade were added.

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Located within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site next to our historic North Mill the riverside promenade gives easy access to the gardens and riverside.
The gardens include shrubberies, flowerbeds, water features and a central bandstand.
A children's play area is inspired by the history of Belper and the cotton mill industry of the world heritage site.
Rowing boats can be hired in the summer to take a trip along nearly three miles of the river and there are band concerts, outdoor theatre and other special events in the grounds throughout the year.
There's a pay and display car park and public toilets.


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This small stone building, tucked away in a quiet corner of Belper, dates from around 1250 and was built by William de Ferrers, Earl of Derby.
There is also a Heritage Centre with a collection of old photographs of Belper and other memorabilia. Please ring ahead to check opening hours on 01773 822116.


The Beaurepaire Garden

Find a lost garden at Bridge Foot close to the mills. The former garden to the Cottage Hospital, it has been lovingly restored by the enthusiasm of a dedicated local Belper man Peter Davies. It's now a peaceful spot to sit and relax.

The Nailmakers & Mill Workers cottages

Take a walk and view the historic mill workers cottages that are still in existence. Joseph Street, Mill Street and Long Row are where some of the main clusters of original houses can be found. On Joseph Street you can also see a former nail shop.


You can find lots more information on what Belper has to offer on these following sites


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