The Derby Silk Mill

Partner Jason Wood has been acting on behalf of Derby Museums in relation to two leases of the Derby Silk Mill from Derby City Council, who are the owners of the site.

Derby Museums is a local charitable trust that has undertaken the development of The Derby Silk Mill.  The Derby Silk Mill is the site of the world’s first factory, and it is part of the UNESCO Derwent Valley Mills Heritage Site.

The project involves creating a new Museum of Making which is to open in 2020, with funding being provided through a number of grants from Derby City Council, The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and The Arts Council of England (ACE).  

Once complete, the £16.4 million project will reveal the whole building for the first time. The HLF will be supporting the project with a £9.4 million investment, making it the biggest National Lottery funded project in Derby to date.

Our Role

Due to the unique nature of the building and its history, there have been complex negotiations between Derby City Council and Derby Museums regarding the future repair of the building, taking into account the mixture of very modern development and the historic fabric.

Some major electrical infrastructure which serves the city of Derby exists both next to and beneath the building, and Jason has been liaising with the legal team of Derby City Council relating to the transfer of part of the site to Derby City Council by Western Power.

Western Power have transferred the land to Derby City Council, which has enabled them to grant the two leases to Derby Museums. A detailed repairing matrix was put in place, setting out which party was responsible for which part of the building. This was particularly important in view of the proposed construction of a glass atrium.

Jason also dealt with the in-house solicitors acting on behalf of HLF and ACE, ensuring requirements have been satisfied to enable them to release funding to Derby Museums. This includes the provision of Reports on Title, Opinion Letters and the negotiation of security documents required by both HLF and ACE.

Overall, the project is incredibly important in building on Derby’s rich industrial legacy, and Smith Partnership is proud to have made an important contribution towards it.