2019 is the 25th anniversary of Belper and Pawtucket being officially Twinned.
It is also the 230th anniversary of Samuel Slater, Strutt’s apprentice at the North Mill, memorising the plans for our mills and taking them to Pawtucket, where he built the Slater Mills, and ran them with Strutt trade secrets.
This week we are being visited by representatives of Pawtucket, and Belper is having a celebration concert.
Those representatives include Bob Billington and Natalie Carter, who head up the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, which has strong links with the Derwent Valley Mills. Just as Derwent Valley Mills run our museum and the mill sites throughout the valley from the Silk Mill in Derby, to Cromford’s Arkwright mills, Bob and Natalie run the Blackstone Valley museum and heritage access, focussed on Samuel Slater and how he used Derbyshire secrets to found the Industrial Revolution in America, as it had been founded here.
There is also Donna Kaehler, who is the Blackstone in Bloom coordinator. After seeing Belper in Bloom, Pawtucket did it again, and has started their own gardening contest across their valley.
We also have Mike Lafond, a Pawtucket preservation enthusiast, Pawtucket downtown (town centre) developer Linda Dewing, James Diossa, Mayor of Central Falls, and Donald Griebien, Mayor of Pawtucket.
Another visitor, Christian de Rezendes, is producing a documentary on Samuel Slater and Slatersville, the town Samuel created, as the Strutts built much of Belper. Those attending tonight’s Twinning Concert will get to see a sneak peak premiere of the first 25 minutes (which is the part of the documentary which is about Belper). The IMDb entry can be found HERE.
The headliner of the concert honouring our guests and the binding of our two towns and valleys (as Blackstone Valley is also twinned with Amber Valley) is Belper’s own concert pianist, Sergei Podobedov. Also featured are Sue MacFarlane, Sue Reaney, Pete Castle and Mat Williams (singing the song about Belper in WW1, which he wrote for the centenary performances).
WHERE: St. Peter’s Church
WHEN: TODAY – Saturday 13th July 2019
DOORS: OPEN: 6:45pm
TICKETS: Adults £5, under 16s £1
Featured Photo: Bob Billington (Blackstone Valley Tourism), Ron Buzzard (Amber Valley Mayor 1994), Robert Metivier (Mayor of Pawtucket 1994), John Nelson MBE (Belper Town Councillor for 32 years until 2019) at the signing of the compact for twinning Belper and Pawtucket in 1994. Photo by Jim Bell