come to derby book fair and see the stunning ceramic poppies at the silk mill.


I am so excited for the derby book fair which takes place this Saturday at Derby Silk Mill. The organiser Mo Suleman kindly gave those of us taking part a bit of history about the historical significance of the Silk Mill. I thought for this post it would be interesting if I shared this with you. I am also really looking forward to seeing the Tower of London poppies which are on tour. I have a photo to share with you of them being set up on the Silk Mill. If you are within traveling distance I hope that you can visit them. They look beautiful. If you want to visit the web site for the tour click HERE.

A little information on the Silk Mill, kindly provided by Mo Suleman-Director of Resources, Museum and Art Gallery | The Strand | Derby | DE1 1BS

So, The Silk Mill is a grade 2 listed building and sits on the site of the first factory in the world, and arguably the birthplace of the industrial revolution in 1721. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and is Derby’s most iconic building. This is one of the reasons why the Silk Mill was chosen as the site for the Poppies. It was a wonder of the 18th Century and attracted a lot of attention. This included Benjamin Franklin, founding father of America, who heard about it and visited in 1771. He was so awe inspired by what he saw that he poached a couple of Silk Mill staff and took the concept to America. Prof Jonathan Powers, who has a stall at the Book Fair, has written a number of books on this subject and I am sure will be able to elaborate on this.

Our link to America is not just Benjamin Franklin, because after the US civil war, when states were being formed, a US government document was found that listed the Silk Mill as one of the reasons to set up the state of Georgia due to its favourable climate in growing Silk to supply to the Mill.
The Silk Mill is also where the first trade union was formed because in 1833 there was a dispute between the Mill owners and the employees who demanded better working conditions and locked themselves into the Silk Mill until their demands were met. This led to the formation of the Grand National Trades Union in February 1834. According to “The Derby Mercury” some of the unionists were never able to find fresh employment in Derby. This event is commemorated by a march organised by the Derby Trades Union Council annually on the weekend before MayDay called the Silk Mill Lockout. Unfortunately there was a great fire that destroyed most of the building in 1910 and was rebuilt but with one less floor. It was purchased by the city council in the 1960s and converted into an industrial museum celebrating Derby’s heritage in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Derby Museums Trust was formed in 2012 and it took over the running of the museums and has been successful in getting lottery funding to completely redevelop the Silk Mill. The museum will close at the end of 2017 and expect to reopen in Summer 2020 and will be called The Museum of Making, Derby Silk Mill and will be celebrating Derby’s heritage in Making in general (and not just planes, trains and automobiles).


10:00am – 4:00pm – Saturday 10 June

The Silk Mill, DE1 3AF

Visit our first Book Fair in the wonderful setting of The Silk Mill. Stalls will include publishers, charities, comics, book shops and authors.

There will be readings throughout the day by authors in The Silk Mill café:

10:30 Dawn Brookes
11:20 Linda Marston
12:15 Kal Dhindsa
13:00 Karen Tomlinson
13:50 Mary Martin
14:40 Sarah Hayward

I hope you can come and visit us.

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