From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Torr Vale Mill


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Torr Vale Mill is a derelict cotton mill. It is located at New Mills, Derbyshire. It is sited on a small rocky island at the bottom of the Torr's gorge in a bend of the River Goyt.

Located in the deep gorge below New Mills, it is the last standing cotton mill in the gorge. The mill is the only factory to have remained a cotton mill through out its working life in the country.

New Mills town, once know as Bowden Middle Cale, benefited from an industrial boom in the 1790's with many new mills being built. The site of Bowden Middle Cale was chosen because two rivers met here, the Goyt and the Sett but sadly the towns former name is now almost forgotten.

Land was leased in 1788 for development of the cotton mill, which was to be water powered so it had to be built close to the river. The rocky island was a perfect location for the mill. The mill started off as a small factory but it was expanded as the business grew. 1856 saw the first use of steam power with a chimney being built, boilers and an engine house. The water wheel was still used, nothing went to waste, the wheel was coupled up and used in conjunction with the steam engine.

Electricity started to be used in the mill around the early 1930's, for lighting and such. Sadly by 1940, water power was no longer used and steam was started to be phased out. Finally in 1952 the steam engine was retired and no longer used.

The mill was constantly being improved but had a major rebuild in the later half of nineteenth century with more alterations in the twentieth century. Some of the original mill survives. The mill closed for good in December 2000, ending the longest continuous period of cotton production in the UK.

In 2000 Torr Vale Mill was depicted on Royal Mail postage stamps to commemorate the Millennium Walkway in the Torr's Gorge. From this walkway, the mill can be seen, a spectacular backdrop to appreciate the gorge and its remarkable history. Sadly the Chartered Civil Engineer who led the construction of the Millennium Walkway lost his life in the London Bombings on 7th July 2005

The mill faces a bleak future, it is decaying, derelict, fast becoming a ruin. It is now on the English Heritages 'buildings at risk' register for listed buildings. Since 1998 there have been various plans by the new owner, Chemquick Ltd., to renovate and develop the mill, none of which has come to pass. The Torr Vale Mill Preservation Trust in May 2001 and The Princes Regeneration Trust has also been seeking a solution.

In 2001 a fire destroyed one of the buildings of the mill.

The mill is now the home of Chemquip LTD who rents the first floor who produces specialist pumps and parts for the chemical industry throughout the world. The fist floor and various buildings were turned into an events venue which started in 2010, which then held it's first wedding in June 2011. Further work was carried out in 2018 adding upgraded toilet facilities, a catering room and a permanent bar.