Derwent Valley Mills

Cromford Mills

Previously the Slave Trade Legacies family worked together to get Derwent Valley Mills Heritage Site (DVMHS) to recognise that the cotton used within their mills was harvested by enslaved African people on cotton plantations in the Caribbean. Through their hard work a mural wall was produced and put up at the DVMHS Visitors Centre, showcasing and recognising the contributions of our enslaved ancestors, as well as the contributions of mill workers and Indian weavers. The mural wall illustrated by Brian Gallagher shows African women, children and men working on a cotton plantation. Thanks to this the public are now able to make a connection between the cotton mills and how the cotton was grown and harvested.

After the Slave Trade Legacies family achieved the mural at DVMHS gateway, we stressed the fact that we wanted more of the realities of enslavement to be recognised at the heritage site. The group worked together to create interpretation panels for the site, showcasing what it was really like to work on the cotton plantations. Not only this, but we produced audio recordings to accompany the panels. The audio recordings gave the us the chance to really give our ancestors a voice to the people of today and this was achieved through narratives that the group created based on their research.