Derby Wanders.

The Old Silk Mill Derby.

I had a couple of hours to kill in Derby today and stumbled across the Old Silk Mill.
The Derwent Valley mills are recognised by UNESCO as the birthplace of the factory system. The Silk Mill forms the southern gateway to a World Heritage Site running
15 miles along the River Derwent to Matlock Bath.
The valley contains unique mill complexes, settlements,
waterways and the remains of one of the earliest railways. The Silk Mill, operating on this site from 1721, employed workers and produced thread on a scale never seen before. Fifty years later, Richard Arkwright built his famous water-powered cotton spinning mill at Cromford. Arkwright organised machines
and workers in new ways. The Derwent Valley mills and the ‘Arkwright System’ influenced factories worldwide.

The Old Silk Mill is now a museum of making- including a mixture of the industrial past, present and future

So that was the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain. What’s the next step? The museum laid this out clearly.

‘The next episode or the Industrial Revolution will be the growth of Automation and Artificial Intelligence (Al).’

‘The demand for digital and advanced technological skills, and emotional skills such as leadership and managing others, will grow. Creativity and critical thinking will be essential as our workplaces change.
Our future challenge will be to create a society that has a workforce with
the right skills to complement new technology, and also to keep pace with demographic change as people live longer. There will be equal demands for highly technical and creative skills, and empathetic and caring skills.

It was an interesting morning and really enjoyed learning the local history of the area.

Leamington Spa and the Regent Hotel.

Last weekend involved a road trip up to the West Midlands

Wet trip up to Middle England.

And an overnight stay in the Regent Hotel Leamington Spa, now a travel lodge.

It is a beautiful grand old lady of a building and had me wondering about it’s history. Wikipedia told me this:

In 1809, a plot of land was purchased to build the hotel on, which cost £1,000. The foundation stone was laid eight years later, on 18 July 1818 by the granddaughter of the original landowner. The hotel was officially opened on 19 August 1819. The hotel opened as Williams Hotel, but 3 weeks later was renamed The Regent by permission of the then Prince Regent (George IV). In 1830 Princess Victoria, then aged 11, apparently stayed overnight at the hotel with her father. Eight years later from the balcony of the hotel it was announced that Victoria, now Queen, had allowed the prefix Royal on its name, which the town still bears to the day. Moving to more modern times, the cast and crew of the British comedy Keeping Up Appearances stayed at the hotel whilst filming in Leamington. For some years now the hotel has been a Grade II listed building and in 1998 the hotel closed its doors. In 2003 however it was decided that the hotel was to be extensively redecorated and refurbished as part of a scheme to regenerate the surrounding area.

Leamington was also beautiful on a chilly May Sunday morning. I love the architecture and the wide tree- lined avenues.

Couldn’t live in the Midlands. The draw of the coast is too strong, not to mention the warmer climes in the South East of England. However there is still something magical about the Shires- historical and literary.