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Sir Richard Arkwright

Sir Richard Arkwright was born in 1732 in Preston. He was one of the first people to use machinery on a large scale as a substitute for hand labouring textile manufactures. He served his apprenticeship as a barber and then became a wig maker. This gave him the opportunity to travel around the country collecting human hair. Arkwright then turned his attention to mechanical inventions. The new invention of the flying shuttle led to a greater need for yarn and the yarn made by the recently invented spinning jenny was only suitable for the weft.Arkwright being a great entrepreneur started to plan a new spinning machine. He asked a clock maker to ‘bend him some wires and turn him some pieces of brass.’ In 1768 Arkwright was happy that he had invented a machine that could spin cotton. Arkwright’s first mill in Nottingham was driven by horses was too expensive and couldn’t apply power on a large scale. He solved this problem by erecting a water powered mill in Cromford.In 1771 Arkwright built a mill in Cromford. There are many reasons why he chose Cromford. The area was remote so he could experiment away from competition. This statement is backed up by evidence from source 14 which is reliable as it is from a school book. This is backed up by source 1 which shows that there is nothing but a couple of houses in the area. This source is probably reliable as it has no reason to b bias.Another reason for choosing Cromford is that it was away from machine breakers. These people went around factories breaking machinery because they were taking away jobs. Source 22 which is an encyclopaedic passage about Arkwright tells us of the machine breakers in Nottingham. This is reliable as it will be well researched and unbiased. Our guide also told us that it may have been one of his reasons for choosing Cromford.There was a good water supply there as well. The Cromford sough which drained from the lead mines ran underground due to geothermic activity the sough was 3 degrees centigrade warmer than other water sources so it never froze and was flowing all year. There was also the Bonsall Brook which could provide a less reliable source of water. Evidence for these water sources is shown in source 18and in14 which is from a textbook and is the fore not bias.There was already a small workforce there from the mines and therefore Arkwright wouldn’t have to bring in many workers. This is shown in source 14 and is backed up by are guide who is a reliable source as he has specific knowledge and would have researched the site well.Another reason for choosing the site at Cromford is because it was rural the land would have been cheap and it may even have been the only land on the market at the time with water. This is also shown in source 14 which is reliable but may have been simplified for children’s use.

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