Going back in time at Calver Mill

This is an archived press release

Thursday 22 August 2013

Calver Mill in 1955

A local history exhibition will spotlight the story of a former Peak District cotton mill that was used as a setting for the 1970s BBC series, “Colditz.”

Calver Mill and its impressive weir on the River Derwent date from the early days of the Industrial Revolution – and their 200-year story, from cotton spinning to steel-making, is told through the memories, photos and memorabilia of people who worked there, or lived nearby.

The exhibition takes place at Calver Village Hall on Saturday August 31, 12-5pm, and Sunday September 1, 10am-5pm. Admission is free, with light refreshments available.

Nick Quaife, project manager for the Calver Weir Restoration Project, said: “This is a fascinating exhibition resulting from an oral history project we have been running for the past year or so.

“Local volunteers recorded people’s memories of Calver Mill and Calver Weir, and collected the interviews, photos and memorabilia that will be on display at the village hall.”

Among those interviewed were Ray Fowler, who worked at the mill for W & G Sissons stainless steel manufacturers from the 1960s to 1990s, and David Turner, whose grandparents and great-grandparents worked there until cotton spinning ceased in 1923.

Among the written records is: “The Ministry of Supply used the mill during the Second World War, with mined fluorspar being washed in the yard before being sent to Sheffield steel mills. Reflecting the austerity of the times, legend has it that someone tried to make ‘glace cherries’ out of turnips.”

The 1970s TV series “Colditz” used Calver Mill as one of the locations for the forbidding Colditz Castle, where Allied soldiers were held as prisoners-of-war. The mill was converted into luxury apartments about 12 years ago.

In 2010 the Calver Weir Restoration Project, run by local people, successfully completed the restoration of the 19th-century weir, which supports important wetland habitats. It is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Peak District National Park Authority.

Oral history memories can be heard on

This is an archived press release

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