A £16.4million project to turn Derby’s Silk Mill museum into a world class attraction will receive £3.7million via the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

The Derby Silk Mill, in Derby city centre, is widely regarded as the site of the world’s first factory, and is part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

A £16.4m plan to expand and improve the current site, into a ‘Museum of Making’ (due to open summer 2020) – which will display items from Derby’s industrial past, and provide learning programmes and activities – is to receive £3.7m via the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership. Derby City Council and the Derby Museums Trust are promoting the Museum of Making plan.

D2N2 is the private sector-led partnership of business, local authorities, skills and training providers, and community and voluntary services which promotes economic and jobs growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. It’s substantial resources include a £200m-plus Local Growth Fund (LGF) allocation (via the UK Government) to jointly  invest in infrastructure seen as vital to promoting economic growth; and the Silk Mill funding will come from this LGF amount.

The Museum of Making will create a ‘southern gateway’ to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site; to bring more visitors to the area, aiding the city’s economy. Additional jobs will be created by the museum’s expansion.

As well as informing people about and displaying items from the area’s industrial past, the new Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill will be an educational resource to encourage young people’s entrepreneurial and technological ambitions. A programme of events and activities will particularly focus on helping with schools and colleges’ teaching of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) subjects.

Funding for the Derby Silk Mill project also includes from project partners the Heritage Lottery Fund (£9.4m), Arts Council England (£2.7m), Derby City Council (£350,000) and Partner Museum Funding Trusts (£228,700).

Those behind the Museum of Making estimate that, once up and running, it will:

  • add £4.24million a year (net additional GVA) to Derby’s economy;
  • create 141 jobs, 24 of them directly linked to the museum;
  • support 20 businesses, through managed workspace units at the site;
  • engage 140,000 visitors a year at the site;
  • have 8,000 schoolchildren participating in programmes and 25,000 people engaging in informal learning activities, annually.

Derby City Council gave planning approval to the Museum of Making project in November (2017). Work onsite is due to begin next month (February 2018) and be completed June 2020, with the new look museum due to open in July 2020.

Councillor Martin Rawson, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the Economy said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Derby Museums Trust to secure £3.7m of Local Growth Fund to support this project, which is a key project within the City Centre Masterplan. The redevelopment of the iconic Silk Mill will create a nationally significant visitor attraction and bring huge benefits to the city.  In the new Museum of Makin, residents and visitors alike will have an opportunity to learn about Derby’s abundant industrial history; celebrating the makers of the past, and inspiring the makers of the future.”

Matthew Wheatley, Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“This is an ambitious project; aimed at both recognising the area’s importance to the history of manufacturing, and inspiring the next generation of ‘makers’ and entrepreneurs.

“D2N2 is backing this project, to add to the economy of Derby and the wider area; and to boost the Visitor Economy sector, which is one of the LEP’s eight key economic sectors.”

Pat Coleman, Chair of Derby Museums Trust said:

“This is fantastic news for Derby. When the Trust took on responsibility for running Derby’s Museums in 2012 we agreed with the City Council that a top priority would be the redevelopment of the Silk Mill. Our wonderfully creative team of staff have achieved the funding for a more extensive and imaginative scheme than we could have hoped for and within a shorter timescale too. We are also grateful for the support of key partners – Derby City Council, The Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Rolls-Royce, Derby University, Derby College and colleagues from the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site and the architects and designers who have worked with us on developing the scheme.”

For more information about the Derby Silk Mill development plan visit the Derby Museums website.

For more information about the D2N2 LEP’s Local Growth Fund and projects benefiting from it, visit the D2N2 website.