The Nightingale link
By Devon Daley
The family of Florence Nightingale and Richard Arkwright's industrial revolution both have connections with the slave trade.
Florence Nightingale's great uncle, Peter Nightingale, is linked to the Arkwright Mill in Derbyshire , which was a central part of the Industrial Revolution.
The Nightingale family made their fortune in the lead mining industry. Peter Nightingale used funds inherited from his father‘s work in the lead business to acquire land in Cromford, Derbyshire and to build a mill for cotton spinning at Lea Brook in Derbyshire.
He later sold the Lea Brook site to John Smedley (who changed that mill from cotton to wool - a business that survives today as Smedley knitwear).
Nightingale decided to sell the Cromford property to Richard Arkwright, who started spinning cotton imported from places like America’s slave South and the Meditterrean.
The resulting cloths eventually were shipped around the world by Britain’s merchant navy and marketed by British merchants.
Arkwright's use of cotton from the places like the slave fields in the US helped power the Industrial Revolution - his was one of the first mass industrial processes and the Arkwright building itself, is now a World Heritage Site.
last updated: 24/10/2008 at 12:21