Tuesday 17 May 2011

The Old Silk Mill and the old Silk Mill

In 2009, the Old Silk Mill pub on Full Street (near the cathedral) re-opened after a year of closure. When it did, it searched out a specialist niche in the market to make the business viable. That niche was real ale and this year, they have been awarded the Derby CAMRA award of the year 2011. (CAMRA being the CAMpaign for Real Ale).

Another unusual feature of this pub is that, although they do not serve food, they are happy for you to bring in your own and will provide the crockery and cutlery you need to eat it. That's a bit of a turnaround from the non-licensed restaurant allowing customers to bring their own alcohol!


Although it is called The Old Silk Mill it is relatively modern, having been built in 1928. The reference is actually to the Silk Mill itself, just down the road. The mural on the side of the pub illustrates the famous 1833 Silk Trades Lock Out, a conflict that lasted for around eight months and originated in the desire of the mill owners to prevent workers from joining the new trade unions. In total 1800 workers were locked out of factories along the waterways of Derby. The outcome of the dispute was, at best, a draw as both sides lost out quite considerably.

The Silk Mill (to which I have referred often; follow the label at the bottom of the post) is the beginning of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, some more of which I photographed last week.

These days, the Silk Mill houses the Derby Industrial Museum, which has just been mothballed for two years in an attempt by the City Council to save some money. I did hear rumours that parts of it may be being re-opened by a benefactor, but I cannot confirm this at the moment. I need to investigate further.



  1. Oh, no - they've closed the Silk Mill? What a shame!

  2. Very interesting post! You did your homework!

  3. It's sad when museums have to close due to lack of funds :(

    I like the mural of the Old Silk Mill pub! It';s a novel thing that they let you bring in your own food. There is a brewery in Brooklyn that let's the visiting public do the same as long as you buy their beer while you dine.