International Museums Weekend

The club supported International Museums Weekendon June 19th and 20th and June 26th and 27th in 2010 where we operated from the ground floor exhibition area of the Silk Mill Museum (Derby’s Museum of Industry and History) surrounded by vintage Rolls-Royce aero engines. The station was positioned adjacent to a window looking out onto the River Derwent and next to a 27 Litre supercharged 'Merlin' engine (not working, fortunately!) The event was well supported and enjoyed by all - including members of the public passing through.

We used the Derby & DARS-owned FT897 and wire dipole antenna mostly on 80m and 40m using the call sign GX3ERD. The antenna was mounted on a mast fixed to a disused fire escape on the side of the Silk Mill (about 10m high) - a simple set-up but worked “FB”. For details of our contacts, please see our logbook entries for GX3ERD.

It seems very appropriate that Derby Wireless Club, being the oldest, continuous local club in the world, should be operated from the Silk Mill, which is the oldest factory in the world. We would like to thank the staff from the Silk Mill for their help and co-operation organising this event.

It was anticipated that we should operate fom the Silk Mill Mueum again in 2011 using the Centenary GB1OOD callsign over both weekends of the International Museums activity but in the last quarter of 2010 we heard that there was a possibility of the museum being “mothballed” for two years as a cost-reduction during the current financial stresses.

Early March 2011 and the Council’s decision to close it were confirmed, the last day open to the public - 4th April.

This was a huge disappointment as the museum provided has a unique and valuable insight into our industrial heritage and - in our opinion - should have remained open. As well as this being Derby’s museum of Industry and History, it is also the southern gateway to the UNESCO ‘Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site’ which includes other mills stretching up the river up to Matlock Bath and includes Cromford Mill and Masson Mill in that chain.

We regret the closure and think it is a sad loss to the city but hope that the Council will eventually develop the museum into something of even greater benefit to the city and re-open it in 2013 enhancing the story of Derby’s industrial heritage and allowing it to go on from strength to strength. Besides, we’d like to operate from there for Industrial Museums Weekends again! Here’s to 2013….

Silk Mill
Silk Mill, Derby, England
(Click Picture to Expand)

The Silk Mill

The Silk Mill Museum is on the site of the world's oldest factory, the Silk Mill, built by George Sorocold in 1702 and 1717. The foundations and parts of the tower from the 1717 mill are still visible. Being water powered, the site is adjacent to the river Derwent near the city centre above the position of the weir.

April 4th 2011 saw the museum of Industy and Heritage, which was housed in this building and told the story of the industrial achievements of Derby and its people, close to the public. Plans for its future use are sketchy so what will happen to the array of Rolls-Royce aero engines as well as items from the steam era of railway history, including a superb model railway and a working steam engine, isn’t currently known.