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. The mills at Belper and nearby Milford and Masson were brought by the English Cotton Company in 1897, who had brought out numerous cotton mills throughout the North and Midlands of England. Production ceased at the mills in the 1990s.
When the Belper North Mill burned down in 1803, Strutt replaced it with an iron-framed building incorporating hollow pots into the floor vaulting to improve fire resistance. This was known as flowerpot construction. This drawing shows an example of what this system looked like.