Derwent Valley Mills with Phil Coffey

Derwent Valley Mills with Phil Coffey

When Richard Arkwright arrived in the Derwent Valley he came equipped with great personal energy, his innovative mind and a desire to create a new way of manufacturing. Arkwright’s landscape was devoid of complex machines, internal combustion engines and electronic communication, his only source of power was the River Derwent. The force of the Derwent was harnessed and tamed to run his brand new Water Frame, this nascent idea thrived and multiplied helping to create the industrial world we live in today.

As the mills grew so did the villages that supported them. With the growth of new industrial towns and cities Britain had to find a new way of thinking about society. Revolutionary, progressive and humanistic ideas came to the fore, schools were built, hospitals provided, laws governing child labour, working conditions, health and safety, became normal and accepted practice. The Derwent Valley Mills didn’t just provide a new way of living and working, they determined a new way of life.

Just as Arkwright’s society was on the cusp of an Industrial Revolution, we are now on the cusp of an energy revolution. The courage and vision of Arkwright’s generation will be found again in today’s engineers, designers and entrepreneurs seeking out new energy sources, new technologies and new ways of working. It is the incredible tenacity in the face of great hardship and near impossible odds that marks Arkwright’s great achievement, in these photographs we can witness the determination and persistence in pursuit of an improved tomorrow that signals our most encouraging and uplifting moments as a species.

Photographing the mills of the Derwent Valley started as an abstract, a vague enquiry, the concrete lesson was profound and manifest. In Arkwright’s moment of change a new industry created a new society. In forming that society we chose to pursue liberty, community and equality: noble ideals, ideas and concepts previously unattainable became real. We can take from this exhibition a simple and self evident truth: in the face of monumental obstacles the possibility of thriving can be brought about by the determined application of skill, energy and innovation.

Derwent Valley Mills, for article 25

place_careers are partnering with Article 25 and The Clerkenwell Kitchen to bring you a relaxing summer party with an exclusive exhibition of the work of architectural photographer Timothy Soar which is being curated by architect Phil Coffey. This event will showcase Tim’s fantastic new collection of photographs exploring the mills and towns of the water powered industrial processes from the turn of the 19th Century. Wine, Pimms, canapés and live music will be provided

This exhibition is an exploration of the social, economic and geographic factors that generated new communities, new social orders and political responses and whether they have left a record from which we can draw our own lessons in the age of unpredictable futures. This will parallel with the work that Article 25 achieves in the developing world and will help us to understand the benefits when investment is made in large displaced communities facing rapid change in challenging environments.

Sponsored by place_careers the exhibition will be displayed in the unique venue of The Clerkenwell Kitchen and all guests will receive an exclusive Timothy Soar print included in the ticket price.

This event will be a great evening to raise crucial funds for Article 25, the charity that builds solutions to global problems. Article 25 designs, builds and manages projects in areas affected by poverty, natural disaster, or war. Since its foundation in 2006 by architect Maxwell Hutchinson the charity has evolved significantly working on over 50 projects worldwide with partner NGOs in 22 countries. Article 25 is the chosen partner charity of the London Festival of Architecture 2012.

For more information and to purchase your £25 ticket please e-mail

carrie emberlyn