Farnley Tower Hotel
I visited this WHS in June 2016. I drove the A6 from Matlock to Derby, stopping whenever there were any sites of interest related to the Derwent Valley Mills WHS. The surrounding area is very green although there are several industrial sites and the mills around Cromford are almost hidden behind trees. Probably the best site to head to is Masson Mills as there are machinery demonstrations in the weaving shed at 11am and 2pm weekdays and at noon and 2pm on Sundays. These demonstrations and the thorough and very interesting explanations given by the Working Textile Museum make all the difference. Having visited quite a number of industrial heritage sites now (and still not being such a fan of industrial heritage sites), those that I enjoyed most were those which could be appreciated as fully working industrial sites and not mere empty buildings or rusty machinery without any visual explanation or some sort of demonstration showing them in action. The noise levels I experienced with just a few machines switched on, together with the thorough explanations on the site’s importance, how things worked, what was their use, but also on the poor health and safety conditions. It was a very short demonstration (thankfully) but it really gives you an understanding of what this WHS is about. Unfortunately the museum is understaffed and lacks funding but the employees there are really doing an excellent job and keep this WHS alive. On the negative side, once again the top floors of Masson Mills have been converted to a cheap department store and although there are WH signs outside of the building, inside you have to make an effort to spot the tiny sign leading to the museum among the huge flashy advertisements and discounted shop prices. I would have absolutely no objection for businesses to use the empty parts of such buildings as this generates jobs, keeps the place alive and provides a number of services. However, the management has to strike a balance between giving the WHS full prominence in signage, building plan, etc. and providing space for businesses and shops.
World Heritage Site