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A selection of photographs, prints and postcards. Some have personal or family connections
Alport Mill

Alport is a very old settlement and can be found on John Speed's map of Derbyshire of 1610[1].

This lovely view of its mill was taken in the first decade of the 20th century. The stone built former corn mill is on the outskirts of the hamlet on the banks of the River Lathkill and with limestone crags behind it. Although we cannot see it here, there was a Lime Kiln (now disused) behind the mill. The water wheel that powered the mill is also out of site. The weir served the mill, but there are numerous other weirs both above and below Alport - upstream on both the River Bradford and the Lathkill and downstream into the Wye, which the river flows into.

Ebenezer Rhodes recorded his visit to Alport in "Peak Scenery" (1824):
"Alport is a pleasant place, and the greater part of its inhabitants appear to be in reputable circumstances, if the houses where they reside may be regarded as a fair criterion : they are good stone buildings, and sufficiently spacious for all the purposes of comfort : a neat flower-garden, belted with laurel, lilacs, and libernum, lies before them, and an orchard well stored with fruit trees spreads behind. There are of course some inferior dwellings, but not the proportion found in a country village. ... Leaving Alport, we passed a mill, romantically situated amongst rocks and trees ; the water by which it was supplied was spread out in a lucid mirror, and the various objects that surrounded it lay pictured on its surface in all the vivid colours of nature. Near the mill, the stream is precipitated over a high semicircular weir into a deep bason below, forming a cascade, somewhat artificial, but yet extremely beautiful ; agitated water is never otherwise ; and when, by the rapidity of its motion, it is whitened into foam, or broken into sparking particles, it is one of the most pleasing objects that nature any where presents"[2].

There was no miller living in Alport in 1841. On 1 Jan 1844 John Evans, a miller and the son of Joseph and Hannah Evans of Northwood (previously of Warney Mill), married Mabel Harrison at St. Helen's, Darley Dale[3]. The 1851 census tells us that their three children who had been born in the interim were all born at Alport, the eldest in 1846, and John was the Miller there[4]. Following his first wife's death, he married again on 6 Oct 1858; his second wife was Elizabeth Nadin[5]. In 1871 his occupation was given as "Miller & Farmer of 280 Acres employing 6 men"[4] and by 1881 he was a "Miller & farmer 400 acres 6 men"[4]. He was still at Alport in 1891[4] but moved back to Northwood in Darley and died there on 20 Aug 1898. He was buried at St. Helen's a few days later[5].

Although his association with Alport Mill covered over 46 years (see directory entries below[6]), he was also linked to other mills in the area. For example, in 1870 he worked Stanton Corn Mill when, he sustained an injury to his leg whilst making alterations to the water wheel[7]. Then in 1887 Major McCreagh Thornhill of Stanton sued him, as late a tenant of Stanton Mill, to recover the sum £20 for half-a-year's rent, ending Lady Day, 1886, £2 9s. 7d. for dilapidations, £5 for his share of cost of a cleaning[8].

In 1881 the Bradford "entered the earth" above Alport following a "great flood"; the ground was hard with frost and the addition of melting snow had caused it to overflow its banks. It was then noticed that the volume of water was considerably less than it should have been. A lead mine, previously worked by the Alport Mining Company and owned by the Dukes of Devonshire and Rutland, John Evans and others, was just above the confluence of the Bradford and Lathkill. The water and storm debris were emptying into this mine and re-emerging at Darley Dale. John Evans supervised the workmen who were repairing the damage, ensuring that the river flowed along its natural course. It was reported that the hamlet's inhabitants, having recovered from the initial shock, were less worried than expected as their homes were constructed on the rocks[9].

Alfred Johnson (1853-1917), of Eagletor, Stanton and the son of the Youlgreave miller Joseph Johnson and his wife Jane, followed on although he and his family did not live at Alport initially[10]. In the spring of 1917 Alfred was ill and unable to look after his business so he appealed for one of his sons to be exempted from war service. His son acted as both miller and carter and was the only labour at the mill; he also managed his father's small farm. He was then aged 23 and single, and had already passed in Class C 2. This young man must have been Sidney Johnson. His younger, 18 year old, brother (i.e. Ernest) was about to be called up[11]. The area covered by the mill was a radius of 10 miles[11] but if he joined the colours it was claimed that the work would have to cease. Three months' exemption was granted to see how the father progressed. In July the matter was again before a Tribunal. It was felt that one of the sons should go, but the case was again adjourned whilst matters were re-examined. However, one of sons must have joined up as an advertisement was published in in August 1917 - "Wanted. Experienced Oatmeal Miller. Apply A Johnson and Son, Millers, Alport". Alfred senior passed away at Buxton on 23 Dec 1917[12]. Another son, Gunner A. Johnson of Alport, was reported as wounded in 1918; this was Alfred junior who was already serving[13].

Messrs Johnson brothers, millers, of Alport were still trading in 1923[14]. However, by 1928 they had moved to Ladygrove Mill in Two Dales[15]. E. & S. Johnson subsequently bought Warney Mill when it was auctioned in 1950.

The mill itself, part of the Haddon Estate, became a trout hatchery. The estate has installed a hydro electric plant at the Mill in recent years.
See the Haddon Estate website (external link).

Alport is mentioned in the following on-site transcripts:

Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811, Parishes A, which has a little more about the Alport.

In 1891 Alport is listed under both Great Rowsley and Youlgreave.
Kelly's 1891 Directory, Great Rowsley
Kelly's 1891 Directory, Youlgreave
The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire - Pedigrees, Documents & Deeds : Surnames A - B, mentions Buxton of Youlgrave & Alport

Alport is mentioned under Great Rowsley in Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England, 1831. Transcribed by Mel Lockie, © Copyright 2021, Lewis Topographical Dictionaries.

... and in one of Julie Bunting's articles on "Bygone Industries of the Peak": Corn Milling

"Alport Mill". Published by A. P. Co., St. Mary Axe, London E.C., Artistic Series, No.2324. Chromotyped in Saxony. Unused.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Speed, John (1995, paperback) "The Counties of Britain. A Tudor Atlas". Pavilion Books Limited, 26 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD. ISBN 1-85793-612-4. (In Association with the British Library). Aulport is shown on the 1610 map of Derbyshire.

[2] Rhodes, Ebenezer (1824) "Peak Scenery" pub. London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster Row.

[3] Darley Dale Parish Registers. He was of Northwood whilst she was of Cowley Hall. John's occupation was recorded as Miller.

[4] All census information has been extracted from original images published on FindMyPast.

[5] John Evans, widower, and Elizabeth Nadin were married at Bakewell.

[5] Death date from probate records and burial from the parish register. The probate records mention Samuel Evans carter, Roger Evans cattle dealer, Thomas Evans innkeeper and James Evans carter.

[6] Over the years he advertised in:
- "Post Office Directory of Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire", 1855 (under Youlgrave) - Evans, John miller, Alport Hotel
- "White's Directory" 1857 - Alport Evans John, corn miller;
- "Kelly's Directory", 1881 - John Evans, Miller & farmer, Alport - under Great Rowsley;
- "Kelly's Directory", 1887 - John Evans, Millr (water) & farmer, Alport - under Great Rowsley;
- "Kelly's Directory", 1891 - website Evans John, miller (water) & farmer, Alport - under Great Rowsley.

[7] "Sheffield Independent", 23 August 1870. Accident at Stanton Mill. Stanton Mill was owned by Major McCreagh Thornhill.

[8] "Derbyshire Times", 16 November 1887 }
"Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 9 December 1887 } Dispute between Landlord and Tenant at Bakewell.

[9] "Sheffield Independent", 23 February 1881. Disappearance of a river. The Alport Mining Company had been dissolved about 18 years before the incident. Almost no lead mining had taken place for some years.

[10] Alfred was still at Eagletor in 1901. His widowed father was living with him and his family. In 1911 Alfred and his wife Mary Ann were at their daughters' home in Buxton.

[11] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 6 July 1917. The Miller's Sons.

[12] 1920 probate records and MI at Stanton-in-the-Peak.

[13] "Derbyshire Courier", 5 October 1918. Listed amongst the war casualties. He and his wife Sarah Ann were also buried at Stanton-in-the-Peak.

[14] "Derbyshire Times", 24 November 1923. Alport Mill then ceased to grind corn.

[15] "Kelly's Directory", 1928. Darley Dale: Johnson A. & Sons, corn millers, Denacre La.

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Darley Dale, The Warney Mill Estate (1)

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