Jun 03, 2013
Aug 10, 2013
Its still very hot, and we are all pretty tired after the big day yesterday, so today we decide to have a relatively easy day, close to home. First into our nearest town – Belper – and typical of the area, it was a major mill town from the mid-1700's, utilising the power of the Derwent River to power what became a massive series of factories. Many of the factories have gone now, but one remains and houses a museum around the former mill workings. The mill pond is now a rowing and boating venue and its banks are now a very attractive public park. Its the end of the well dressing season in the Peaks District – a very ancient custom where village wells and water sources are honoured by erecting pictures made out of natural materials (flowers, petals, leaves, twigs, seeds, bark, stones, etc) into panels filled with clay. The pictures only last a week – the clay dries and cracks and of course the flowers, leaves and petals shrivel up, but that is part of the charm. Belper has just had its well dressing ceremony, and the pictures are set out along the banks of the mill pond and river, so we wander along to see them. The museum doesn’t open til after lunch, so til then, we take a short drive down to Kedleston Hall – a local stately house that was a former home of Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India (so contains a great collection of treasures from his time there) and has such an impressive interior, it was used as a period film set for The Duchess. Its so interesting there, we don’t get back to Belper and the Mill Museum until late in the afternoon – but still in good time to get a fascinating tour around the artifacts, machines and exhibits on display.