About this image
The bridge dates from 1796-1798 and spans the River Derwent. This view pre-dates the building of East Mill in 1912 and shows North Mill and its chimney to the left and West Mill and Jubilee Clock Tower on the right. A cantilevered footpath was added to the bridge in the 1950s.
The Mills were built by Jedediah Strutt. The first, North Mill, was started in 1776, completed in 1786 and destroyed by fire in 1803. It was replaced a year later by Jedediah's son and admired at that time by some, as the most beautiful and technologically advanced building of the era, mainly due to its fire proof structure, the warm air central heating and the breast shot water wheel. There were 5 mills in Belper by 1792 and only North Mill remains out of the original ones. It is now the home of the Derwent Valley Visitors Centre. In 1912, a massive red brick, 7 storey East Mill was built, which dominates the town. It closed as a mill in the late 20th century and now houses a number of small industrial units, but still remains largely empty.