Kinder (Year 9) has been studying the industrial revolution in History and on Friday, they headed to Cromford Mill to learn about Sir Richard Arkwright and his legacy.
Michael, our guide, discussed Arkwright’s humble beginnings as a wig maker and how he had the vision to reform the way that cotton is spun into thread. Traditionally, this was hand spun on a wheel and it required a lot of expertise. The pupils had a go at spinning their own thread and it took a lot of concentration and perseverance to get consistent results. Next, there was a informative audio-visual display in one of the old mill buildings that outlined Arkwright’s life and the invention of his revolutionary ‘water frame’ that could spin 96 threads at a time without needing any skilled labour. By constructing his own mills and leasing his patents, Arkwright became the wealthiest common man in the country.
The children also discussed how this boom in cotton production was supported by the slave trade in America, which Kinder will learn about in more detail later in the year.
After a walk along the mill course, everyone headed to the café for a hot chocolate and quick snack before heading back to school.