The Strutt family first ran mills in Belper, Derbyshire, in 1776, after Jedediah Strutt had been working with Richard Arkwright, who had already established a mill at nearby Cromford. Between them, they helped fuel the early stages of the Industrial Revolution. People flocked to these mills from all around the country to seek employment. At their highest point, the Belper mills employed 2,000 people.
When this photograph was taken in the 1950s and reproduced for a booklet produced to celebrate 200 years of textile production in the Derwent Valley, the mills were a place for people from the local area to gain steady employment. However, the mills at Belper and nearby Milford and Masson were now owned by the English Sewing Cotton Company Limited, who had brought out numerous cotton mills throughout the North and Midlands of England. Production ceased at the mills in the 1990s.