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When Ambrose Crowley III came to Winlaton in 1691, it was the inception of the largest iron manufactory in Europe.

His two areas of innovation were in industrial organization (having the whole manufacturing process on one site) and the welfare of his workers and their families. He is credited across Europe with having created the first 'working class' society, whose members were no longer serfs or plebeians.

Read Dr Bill Lancaster's essay:

 The Lower Derwent Valley and the Making of the Modern World.

In 1703, tired of relying on supplies of rod iron from the Midlands, he decided to build his own slitting mill on the River Derwent at what we now call Winlaton Mill. 

The definitive text about Crowley's is Men of Iron by M.W.Flinn, who called Ambrose Crowley III 'a giant in an age of pygmies.' (p.252)

In 2011, David Cranstone's work, From Slitting Mill to Alloy Steel: the Development of Swalwell Ironworks was published in the Industrial Archaeology Review, 33: 1, 2001.  Whereas Flinn concentrated on the early days of the Crowley empire, Cranstone uses the findings from archaeological surveys to describe the development of the Derwent Valley sites over the ensuing 200 years.

Read extracts pertaining to the setting-up of the Crowley operation in the Derwent Valley.

Extracts from 'Crowley's Mill No.1' by Colin Douglas and Noel Adamson.

Animation of slitting mill in action.

Summary of the life of Sir Ambrose Crowley

Digital Voice film about Ambrose Crowley

Crowley's Ironworks remains uncovered - photos from Swalwell online

Crowley's Crew - from Roly Veitch's website

Newspaper Courant article from 1881 which indicates that the Bowes family were instrumental in bringing ironworkers to the Derwent Valley.  



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