Derbyshire’s dark, satanic mills

Retired doctor John Spencer looks at how vulnerable young children were exploited in some Peakland mills.

IN 1808 William Blake, the famous English poet, despaired over the plight of working class people who were the unwitting victims of the Industrial revolution. Today we are indignant and shocked when learning about the exploitation of young children still being employed in workshops and factories in developing countries. “This would never happen in England,” we say to ourselves. Sadly, as Blake was aware, the truth is that it did happen less than 200 years ago during the time of the industrial revolution – and the Peak District was no exception.

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