Opportunities in Old Buildings

A phrase that is becoming much more popular is that of ‘ART INSTALLATIONS’.

They are somewhat of a mystery, the first mystery being where is it and the second what is it!   The other mystery is how some are so creative and others just downright odd (and that is being polite).

Not far from us is The Cromford Mill Complex, complex being the modern name for a collection of old factories….and in this case old is the defining word.  Built in1770 they were the brain child of Sir Richard Arkwright.  He invented the industrial revolution by the creation of water powered mass production methods, both water power and manufacturing would never be the same again…just a bit like inventing the silicon chip only 200 years earlier.  The mills were themselves large becoming the precursors of the ‘Dark Satanic Mills’ of literature.


The Sluice, leat and just one of the Cromford Mills.



This is one of the other Mills in the complex and is known as ‘The First Mill’ built over its power source, water. The water was engineered to flow under pressure to turn wheels and drive other hydraulic devises.

The Cromford Mills are part of the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site, Derbyshire. A major restoration project is underway.  It is by nature costly and securing the funds takes time and the task itself is far from simple.

First Mill is now outwardly sound in structure and weather proof but the inside is stripped bare and awaiting both funds and its turn in the restoration process.

In the meantime an enterprising ‘artist’ has secured permission to install his imaginative art installation.  Remember this is a large old empty mill awaiting restoration, it has been left just as is after the building was made safe. 

Not sure what it was the artist imagined but I do recognise that it has taken a good deal of skill, time and patience to create……….so lets see what you make of this ‘temporary’ art feature.



To save you guessing it is called “Twisted” and as these were once textile mills it is constructed of bright red strands of twine spun in an enormous 3-dimensional style ‘cats cradle’.  It is neither easy to describe or easy to illustrate so I do hope my images interpret the installation well enough for you to make your own judgement and appreciation (or not) of this unique piece of art…….a very modern Twist in a very old building. 

18 August