Cromford Mill is a former cotton-spinning mill in Derbyshire, opened by Sir Richard Arkwright in 1771, and now a World Heritage Site. Following the decline of the cotton milling industry in the early twentieth century, the mill was used by the Cromford Colour Company for the manufacture of paint pigments (1920s –1979). This left a legacy of chemical contamination into the 21st century, affecting the entire Mill Building 17 (a Grade I listed building). Unused for decades, the building became derelict, but the contamination remained.
One of JBL Science's experts, Prof Belinda Colston, worked for 7 years with the Arkwright Society as part of the team bringing Building 17 back into contemporary use (The Building 17 Project). Her role was to develop strategies for removing and/or containing high levels of lead chromate on site, and to monitor the distribution of contaminants during and after the building/conservation works.
Contamination identification and monitoring involves the characterisation of a range of materials and focuses on elemental analysis using inductively-coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy or powder x-ray diffraction as well as other techniques that are useful for environmental science and contamination studies. Such work is routinely carried out within our laboratories. Belinda will continue to monitor the effectiveness of barriers put in place for the next 5 years, now the building is fully occupied with business tenants, the Arkwright Experience, Exhibitions and Visitors Centre.
The Building 17 Project is one of 29 laureates from 18 countries recognised for their notable achievements in conservation, research, dedicated service and education, training and awareness raising. Independent expert juries examined a total of 202 applications, submitted by organisations and individuals from 39 countries across Europe. The Europa Nostra Award was presented to the Duke of Devonshire, on behalf of the Arkwright Society on 19 October 2017.
Cromford Mill, which is set in the beautiful Derbushire countryside near Matlock, is open to the public and is well worth a visit.
For more information contact Dr. Andy Gill