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Matlock: Lumsdale Ponds
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Arkwright's Cotton Mill
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Two business letterheads
for J. H. Scholes

One of the images is of The Mill Dam, Tansley


Masson Mill Weir
and Sluice


Masson Mill's Water Wheel

Tansley Mill, later Scholes' Mill, was built towards the end of the eighteenth century for Samuel Unwin (1744-99) of Sutton in Ashfield. Bulmer's Directory (1895) tells us that "a cotton mill was erected here at an early period"[1] but does not provide a date. Confirmation of this can be found in Pilkington (Vol. 2, 1789): "a cotton mill was a few years ago erected according to the model of that invented by Sir Richard Arkwright"[2].

Bulmer's adds that "The manufacture of tape is now carried on, on a most extensive scale, by Messrs. Lowe & Scholes, and the same firm has also a wide reputation for the manufacture of the choicest woollen shawls, which rival in beauty the far-famed productions of the East"[1].

During the nineteenth century the mill was run by Thomas Hackett (d.1879)[3], Robert Lowe[4] and then James Howard Scholes. Lowe and Scholes were in partnership for a time. Thomas Hackett employed 210 hands in 1861 though the number of employees were considerably less in 1881 when Mr. Lowe employed 77 hands. A decade later, in January 1891 and because of extreme weather, both he and Mrs. Scholes provided a free breakfast for eighty or ninety children every morning, including Sundays. This was to continue until the frosts stopped[5]. It was an act of both necessity and kindness for children who might otherwise have gone hungry. Things must have been desperate.

Early Ordnance Survey maps show two Tansley Mills. The mill in this photo was a cotton mill and its pond had two sluices. A smaller Tansley Mill, a tape mill, was just up the valley; it has a smaller mill pond and later maps show it also had a sluice[5].

The mill closed after the death of Mr. Scholes in 1929[6]; on the day of his funeral the route to the church was lined with his employees.

We can see only part of the mill building but the structure is three storeys high and with 16 windows on each of the two upper floors. The former manager's house is attached to the building, on its right. It is mostly hidden by the large tree in the image above. When the estate was advertised for sale in 1929, the notice included the comment that the mills "gain their power from two gigantic water wheels, one of which is built in the mill; and the water is from four large dams"[7]. The pond is surrounded by trees today (2020) but the sluice that controlled the flow of water can still be seen in the undergrowth.

The building was requisitioned by the Army in the Second World War. Scholes Mill is now Grade II listed and within the Lumsdale Conservation area. Lumsdale is divided between two parishes, Matlock and Tansley. Of the two ponds shown here the top image is in Tansley whilst the scene below is close to the boundary.

The Middle Pond, opposite Beech House on the Bentley Brook in the Lumsdale Valley.
Some contemporary images refer to it as the Mill Pond, Lumsdale.
Dating from the 1780s, it became silted up but, thanks to the Arkwright Society and Heritage
Lottery funding in 2014 it is once more recognisable as a pond[8].

Lumsdale's Mills, Mill owners and Bleachers mentioned in early Matlock Trade Directories
Boundary changes in 1865 meant that Lumsdale businesses advertised under Tansley from then on.

Glover's Directory, 1827-8-9 - Garton, Radford (Lumsdale), Cracoft (Tansley wood)
Pigot's Directory, 1828-9 - Bennett, Garton (bleachers), Hackett (tape manufacturer)
Pigot's Directory, 1831 } - Farnsworth, Garton (bleachers)
Pigot's Directory, 1842 }
Bagshaw's, 1846         }
Kelly's, 1848 - Garton. Farnsworth did not give his address.
White's, 1852 - Blackwell, Farnsworth, Garton
Kelly's, 1855 - Garton
White's, 1857 - Farnsworth, Garton, Radford
White's 1862 - Farnsworth, Garton, Radford

1. "Tansley Mill Dam". Published by Photochrom Co. Ltd., Graphic Works, Tunbridge Wells, No.59378. Exclusive Copyright Real Photo. Unused.
2. "Lumsdale Pool, Matlock". One of Valentine's Picture Panels of Matlock & District. Twelve Real Photos, printed in Great Britain, No.61587 Real Photographs. This image first published in 1909.
Postcards in the collection, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] Bulmer's History and Directory of Derbyshire 1895. Although J. H. Scholes was living in Tansley, his business partner T. Lowe

[2] Pilkington, James (1789) "A View of the Present State of Derbyshire: With an Account of Its Antiquities, Volume 2".

[3] Matlock: Pigot's Directory, 1828-9 - Bennett, Garton (bleachers), Hackett (tape manufacturer). Thomas Hackett, his son and a brother were involved in bankruptcy proceedings in the late 1870s and early 1880s (London Gazette).

[4] "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire", 1891, Tansley. The partnership between Messrs. Lowe and Scholes was dissolved in 1894 (London Gazette) and Robert and Frances Lowe moved to Matlock Bath.

[5] "Derbyshire Times", 24 January 1891.

[5] Ordnance Survey map 1879 1:2,500. Only the lower of the two mills survives today.

[6] "Derbyshire Times", 6 Aug 1932. A report of the funeral of Miss Flora Beatrice Holrnes, who had worked for many years at Mr. Scholes’ mill, recorded that the mill closed down after his death.

[7] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 28 November 1929. Tansley Mills. Estate offered for sale, but withdrawn.

[8] Leaflet published by the Arkwright Society, no date but latest version (2020).