During 2022 the society will be meeting initially online with plans to meet face to face as the year progresses and subject to covid precautions.

All talks start at 7.30pm.

Links to Zoom talks will be sent out to members.

The Programme of talks for 2022.

Wednesday  5th January (Zoom)

Powering the Derbyshire Derwent Valley

Ian Jackson

For the last 10 years Ian has promoted the use of waterpower as a form of renewable energy and researched the historic use of waterpower in the Strutts’ mills. This led to Ian starting a PhD with the School of Geography at the University of Nottingham in 2020, looking into the lessons we can learn from the past to unlock the full potential of waterpower in Derbyshire.

Milford Mill wheel in January 1908

Wednesday  2nd February (Zoom)

World Heritage Status – 20 years on.

Adrian Farmer

In December, the Derwent Valley Mills celebrated 20 years since inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Adrian Farmer talks through some of the highs and lows from the past two decades, and touches on where we go from here.

Also, Jane Whitaker reveals the latest donation to the society archive, and how it provides a glimpse of 1830s Milford, as the Nightwatchmen’s Reports did for Belper.

Gaining World Heritage Status in 2001

Wednesday 2nd March (Zoom)

The Circus and the Fair

Neil Calladine

An exploration of the links between the circus and the fair and may even touch on music hall as well.  Neil’s talk will have a different focus than his previous talk to BHS and will include further details on Proctor’s circus, which is where it began.

1899 March football match image

Wednesday 6th April (Strutts)

Jedidiah Strutt and the Belper Mills

Trevor Griffin & Jane Whitaker

Trevor and Jane are both guides at Belper North Mill, the oldest fireproof cotton-spinning mill in the world. The talk will cover the Strutt family, the origins of the mill, the development of the weir and the growth of the workers’ housing.

Belper North Mill

Wednesday 4th May (Strutts)

A Meander Round Milford & Makeney

Heather Eaton

Heather has been researching the history of Milford for over 40 years and has a wealth of interesting tales about the village, pre and post the Strutt family involvement.

Strutt Arms Milford

Wednesday 1st June (Evening walk)

Duffield Castle and part of the Frith

Robert Reid

A history of the castle illustrated with artefacts, a look at historic transport routes, the medieval field system, weathervanes, Edwardian Duffield, features of Duffield Cemetery, architectural features, and all based around his monthly articles for the Duffield Scene.

There are several steps up to the Castle, however, Robert is willing to allow access via his back garden, if anyone struggles with steps.

Duffield Castle

Wednesday 6th July (Evening walk)

Belper Cemetery

Adrian Farmer

Exploring the origins of the cemetery, and some of its quirks. A steady upwards climb from the entrance to the chapels, the grave of Belper’s only Victoria Cross holder and onwards to the Strutt family graves, over uneven ground.

Good footwear is essential, as moving between the graves can be quite challenging.


Belper Cemetery

Wednesday 3rd August

No meeting.

Wednesday 7th September (Strutts)

Belper Night Watchmen’s Reports

Adrian Farmer

Re-discovered in 2021, and newly returned to Derbyshire, these reports from the Strutts’ nightwatchmen cover the years 1833 to 1836 and give a taste of life in the town before the Victorian era.

Cover of the Night Watchmen's book

Wednesday 5th October (Strutts)

From Innovators to Bankrupts and Entrepreneurs to Murderers

Ian Coker

Ian tells the story of the industrial and social development of Heage and Morley Park. He covers not only the iron furnaces but also the coal mining in and around Heage. He looks at the businessmen behind the ventures, local characters and some amusing events and anecdotes.

Morley Park

Wednesday 2nd November (Strutts)

Derbyshire to the Pyramids: The creation of the World Heritage Site

Rod Pearson

Rod will be reviewing the origins and development of UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Unesco logo

Wednesday 7th December (Strutts)

Tales from the George and Dragon

Jonathan Dwerryhouse

The George and Dragon is one of Belper’s oldest and finest Public Houses and Jonathan has been researching some of its most interesting and gory tales to tell us.


Bridge Street George Hotel