Langley Mill and its history will bring to many people's minds a picture
of an industrial village par excellence. Although the village of today
appears to remain a thriving concern, many of the household names
of the past have now disappeared and have been replaced with
smaller industrial concerns, employing less people and being more
responsive to the employment and economic climate of today.
The names G.R.Turner, Pickersgill & Frost, Lovatt's, Aristoc and Vic
Hallam remain only in people's memory, but to many they help paint a
picture of a bygone industrial age when the village provided employment to
many in the area.
Until the onset of the turnpikes and the Industrial Revolution in the late
18th century, the area which was to become Langley Mill was simply a
crossing place on the River Erewash, with links to Derby, Heanor,
Eastwood, Mansfield and Nottingham. A road to Codnor Castle had used the
old wooden bridge since the 12th century, but there were very few houses
in the area, and the majority of these were farmsteads.
Although there had been a water mill in the area since Domesday times, it
was the Canal Age which initiated the development of the industrial
village which later became known as Langley Mill.
An early view of Cromford Road, showing the Durham Ox and, in the
distance, the Aldercar Infants School.
Prior to the 19th century, the growth of the canals had given rise to an area
of housing known as Langley Bridge. The Erewash Canal in 1779, the
Cromford Canal in 1794, and the Nottingham Canal in 1796, all used the
valley of the River Erewash, and together brought about the early
prosperity of the area through the movement of coal, in order to satisfy
the southern hunger of the industrial centres of Nottingham and Leicester.
Although housing and wharves were built to sustain the canal age around
the area of Langley Bridge, where the three canals converged, it was the
development of the Midland Railway, a little further west, in 1847, which
promoted the development of Langley Mill through the resulting move of the
centre of the village over the River Erewash into Derbyshire. Later, the
Great Northern Railway
also came to the village, but the shift to the Derbyshire side of the
river was now unstoppable.
Large industrial concerns used the geography of the area to grow and
develop along the fringes of the railway, with the resulting growth of
many large industries including G.R.Turner, Pickersgill & Frost, Lovatt's
and the Langley Mill Gaslight and Coke Company. The growth of housing
obviously followed and the industrial village of repute was born.
Further industry followed in the 20th century, including Aristoc, the
Midland General Omnibus Company, Vic Hallam, and F.Sisson & Sons. The
associated social and commercial growth of the area helped to cement the
The past 50 years has seen the pattern of life change for numerous
reasons, with the resulting loss of many of the names associated with the
village, and the growth of smaller industrial units of today.
The growth and development of Langley Mill over the past 200 years provide
the student of history with a remarkable journey and an almost perfect
example of the rise and fall of an industrial village linked so closely
with its geography, economics, and aspirations of its inhabitants.
Langley Mill is always linked
with what was the hamlet of Aldercar - it is hard to know where one starts
and the other finishes. Today, the administrative parish is named
"Aldercar and Langley Mill." This site separates the two places -
Aldercar has its own page.
LANGLEY MILL IN 1840
This item, from the Ripley and Heanor News in 1976, gives details about
Langley Mill just before the main period of its expansion.
"We are indebted to Mr
P. Eggleshaw for certain information about Langley Mill in 1840 when it
was in two districts, one being Langley , and the other Langley Bridge.
The item on Langley
Bridge is as follows:
'Langley Bridge is a considerable village with a bridge over the Erewash,
principally situated in the parish of Eastwood, Notts. It is one mile east
of Heanor. The present bridge was built in 1830 and William West is the
tollkeeper here. The Erewash is navigable from here to the Trent and here
is a junction with the Cromford, Derby and Nottingham canals.
'There are several large coal wharfs a steam corn mill and extensive lime
kilns. George Whysall, of Heanor, the Butterley Co, Aldred and Co. and
Gervaise Cressy Hall of Alfreton have wharfs here. Joseph Garton is a coal
agent there. William Fletcher is a lime-burner. Mrs Elizabeth Bowes is
Licencee of the Navigation Inn, and is also a corn miller and baker.
'Of the other portion of what is now Langley Mill, there is not much
information excepting the following: The General Baptists have a chapel
here built in 1839 with a Sunday school at a cost of £300 to seat 260
persons. The Rev. John Felkin, of Smalley, is the pastor.'
The Navigation Inn stood in what is now the entrance to Vic Hallamís works
[this is not actually correct] and Mrs
Elizabeth Bowes had a reputation as a strict martinet, and quite capable
of dealing with the numerous bargees and wharf workers who frequented the
The Baptist chapel mentioned is on what is now Station Road, but at that
time, 1840, it was Heanor lane."
A Co-op milk float passes the Cricket Ground on
Last modified on
06 December 2012 08:59