Acclaimed as the world's first cotton mill town, Belper nestles by the River Derwent, 8 miles north of Derby. From a tiny village by an ancient deer park, it was transformed by the Strutt family and others into a vibrant industrial powerhouse by the end of the nineteenth century. The town faced huge challenges during the twentieth century as mills and factories closed, and Belper adapted to survive. The present-day town lies at the heart of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, which is recognised as the birthplace of the factory system. Belper played a significant role in the development of the Industrial Age, and although much of the industry has gone, it continues to thrive today. Within the pages of this book, Belper enthusiast Adrian Farmer flits through the town's history with a unique selection of old photographs, prints and postcards to portray life for Belper's past residents, and highlight the celebrations and struggles this bustling town has witnessed.
Well-known local historian and researcher, and once the Editor of the Ripley and Heanor News, Adrian Farmer is the heritage co-ordinator of the World Heritage Site - in 2010 he was asked to switch on Belper town's Christmas lights. Adrian regularly leads guided walks and gives talks about the World Heritage Site. He created the Discovery Days Festival in 2005, which now brings in over 15,000 visitors to the World Heritage Site every year. In 2012 he was highly commended in Visit England's first Tourism Superstar award scheme.