All talks take place in Strutt’s Community Centre, Room 107 unless otherwise noted, and start at 7.30pm.

The Programme of talks for 2024.

Thursday  18 January

Policing in 19th century Derbyshire

Robert Mee

Robert looks at the establishment and early days of the county and borough constabularies.

Thursday  15th February

The Chevin Tower

Ian Castledine

Ian offers a new theory on the Chevin tower based upon an examination of extant archaeology.

Thursday 21st March

The sheep looked after themselves – Religion and radicals in the early 1800s

Simon Wood

The story of the people of Belper and the Erewash valley whose religious revivalism and political radicalism intertwined during the early to mid 1800s, to make the area a centre of English revolutionary thought and action. 

Jeremiah Brandreth

Thursday 18th April

Belper Voices

Chris Charlton

Scenes from the life of this mill town in a century that saw the rise and fall of the nailing industry, the coming of the railway and years of wealth for some and poverty for others . The words are from visitors to the town and from its residents.

Thursday 16th May

Our Digital Archive

Adrian Farmer

Adrian Farmer talks through the most recent additions to the Society’s digital archive of historic photographs, and explains what work is still left to be done.

Thursday 20th June

Demonstration of nailmaking

Richard Hazell

Belper Blacksmith, Richard Hazell will demonstrate how traditional Belper nails were forged and give us an insight into the life of nailmaking families.


Saturday 20th July

Walking the Deer Park Boundary (afternoon walk)

Adrian Farmer

Adrian follows the still-discernible boundary of Belper’s ancient deer park, telling its history and showing some remarkable survivals from when it was in operation. One mile walk on paths and pavements.

Meet at Coppice Car Park for a 2pm start.

Thursday 15th August

Everything but cotton… the industrialisation of Ambergate

Steve Hill

The walk is a follow-up to last year’s talk. Steve will walk us around the range of industries that have been active in Ambergate including the development of transport links, the Butterley Company and important local families.


Thursday 19th September

Water: the Power that Changed the World (Belper)

Ian Jackson

Ian will be sharing some of his research findings about the use of waterpower in the Derbyshire Derwent catchment, and in particular the fascinating timeline of the Belper Mills, including William Strutt’s innovations, how George Herbert Strutt helped secure the future of the Milford, Belper and Masson sites by installing water turbines and how, against the odds, English Sewing Cotton Company continued use of waterpower through the 20th century.

Thursday 17th October

The Evans family – their local, national and international influence

Katherine Everitt

Katherine, a local PhD student, will cover the history and background of the Evans family of Derbyshire, including their connectivity and interactions in local, national and international trade. From a yeoman farmer to a baronet in six generations, the rise and decline of the family.

Thursday 21st November

The Buildings of Holbrook

Michael Lobb

MSDS Heritage recently completed an Historic England funded project on Holbrook’s Hidden Heritage. Michael Lobb is a Buildings Archaeologist who has worked extensively across the Midlands and now works for MSDS Heritage in Holbrook, Derbyshire. Michael has a particular interest in agricultural, domestic and industrial buildings from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.


Thursday 19th December

The Strutts, Cotton Textiles and Enslavement

Susanne Seymour

Although the Strutts were supporting the anti-slavery movement at home, their cotton purchases were sourced mainly from the slave plantations of Carriacou in the West Indies and Brazil. Dr Susanne Seymour of Nottingham University has been researching the sources of the cotton used at the Belper Mills and traced the plantations where the Strutts sourced the cotton.