The building next to the waterfall on the Bentley Brook at the top
of the image (above) was a grinding mill, used for grinding
both corn and minerals and dating from the 1770s and
powered by the fast flowing water of the brook. Part of this building
still exists today. Other very old mills in Lumsdale were a bone
mill (probably originally used in the 17th century for lead smelting),
a paint mill that could date from the 1600s and an upper and a
lower bleach works.
There was also a saw mill, built around 1850, and originally used
for grinding paint.
In 1780 Lumb's Mill was included in the inclosure of common land;
the Lords of the Manor of Matlock were to have "one twenty-second
part of the whole, also the Lumb's Mill, with all the buildings,
weirs, goits, and appurtenances, and six acres on which
to get stone to repair the buildings, for rebuilding or repairing
the houses, bridges, walls, fences and other works" .
A few years later several advertisements were placed in the Derby
Mercury advertising the leases of the lead smelting mills that
then existed in the valley. In more than one instance the advertisements
suggested a change of use for the buildings, indicating that this
was when the smelting of lead ceased to be an industry in Lumsdale.
Transcripts of two of the advertisements are included here.
Derby Mercury, 1 July 1784
To be SOLD
The Remainder of a LEASE of a powerful
WATER MILL, Twelve Years of which is to come, (renewable
at Pleasure,) situate at Lums near Matlock, in the County
of Derby, in a very populous Neighbourhood, heretofore used
as a Smelting Mill, but may be converted into a Worsted or
Cotton Mill. It will be sold separate or together, with two
excellent Cylindrical Bellows, a set of Stampers, and other
material thereto belonging, all used for the purpose of Dressing
and Smelting Lead Slag, but powerful enough to Smelt Iron
or other metalic Matters, being all in excellent condition
for the purpose.
Further Particulars may be had by applying to MATTHEW SANDERSON,
Chymist and Perfumer, Hanging Ditch, Manchester. Attendance
will also be given at Mr. FLETCHER's, Queens Head, Matlock
Bridge, on Wednesday the Twenty-first of July next.
N.B. This will be no more advertised.
Sanderson advertised several times,
naming the Mill as the Offspring Mill
and saying the building and its "powerful water wheel" were "almost
The Mill had been used as a Slug Mill, capable of turning out six
times the quantity of Lead Slagg or Lead Ore.
Derby Mercury, 26 August
TO be SOLD
The remaining term of Twenty Years, of the lease granted
by the Trustees of Bonsall School, of all those Premises
situate upon the Lumbs Brook, near Matlock, and called the Lower
Lumbs Mills; consisting of Cupola
and Slagg Mill, with Furnace, Bellows, and Water Wheel ;
with necessary Conveniences, all in good Repair, and fit
for immediate Work : There are two small Houses close to
the Work fit for Workmen. - The whole are subject to the
payment of Five Pounds yearly.
Enquire of Mr. ADAM SIMPSON; who wants to sell the Security
for Two Hundred Pounds, on Cromford Bridge and Langley Mill
John Garton's bleaching house at Lumsdale was considered
by Stephen Glover to be "one of the most eminent bleaching
houses and grounds" in the county in 1827.
The Lumsdale Bleaching and Dyeing Mills were established in 1794
and were originally owned by Messrs. Watts Lowe & Co. and used
for cotton spinning. Their business was unsuccessful, and John
Garton changed its use.
By 1903, when Benjamin Bryan wrote his "History
of Matlock", there were still two corn mills in the parish,
owned by a later Mr. Garton and tenanted by E. H. Bailey.
The upper mill was on the Bentley Brook and was "fitted with
the latest machinery, stones, and appliances".
Publisher's description on the back:
Matlock. Lumsdale. This is a charming view of part of Matlock,
situated steeply upon the right bank of the river which here
has flung itself into a waterfall. The opposite bank is a limestone
mass out of which yew and fir and ivy grow almost at the water's
A Derbyshire Times journalist who strolled through Lumsdale
in the spring of 1902 said the banks of "the pretty stream
will later be covered with rhododendrons". He visited the
bleaching works, then leased to Messrs Farnsworth Bros., and was
shown round. "The pure whiteness of the skeins of thread and
cotton after they had been submitted to the orthodox treatment
was wonderful -- I saw the tanks of chemicals for bleaching and
then the machinery where pure water takes away all trace of the
chemicals and leaves the material soft an snow white in appearance".
Such industries have long disappeared from Lumsdale. The last to
close was Drabble's Mill (Tansley Wood Mill) in the 1990s. It had
been in the family's hands for around 110 years, the first Drabble
being Frederick Henry and the last his great grandson. They had owned
it for almost ninety years.
The old buildings are mentioned in the Wolley Manuscripts elsewhere
on this web site:
Matlock, Lumbs Mill vol. 6671
Matlock, Lumbs Smelting Mills vol.
6669 ff.256-258 | vol.
Matlock, Lummes Mill, smelting mill vol.
Matlock, Lumms Mill vol.
Matlock, Lumbs Mill, house near with own mill belonging vol.
Tansley, Lumbs with fulling-mill, bleaching-house vol.
links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web
 Leaflet published by the Arkwright
Society, about 1987. With thanks to Susan Tomlinson.
 Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History
of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London by Bemrose & Sons,
 Glover's "History
of the County of Derby". Accurately
taken during the years 1827, '8, and '9, by Stephen Glover Derby:
Printed for the Publisher by Henry Mozley and Son, Sold in London
by Longman & Co. (introduction). John
Garton's name was also published in the
Matlock section of this directory, as well as in later
directories. He had been living and working in Lumsdale since at
least 1820, when one
of his children was buried at St. Giles. By the time of the
1901 census a descendant, Edward H Garton, was in Lumsdale.
 "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald",
26 April 1902.