Hatton Adventure World is a fine example of a farm that has embraced the concept of farm diversification. It is part of a country estate owned by the Arkwright family who are direct descendants of Sir Richard Arkwright, a pioneer of the industrial revolution.
The Arkwright family acquired Hatton Estate in 1830, and was originally seven small farmsteads. Over the years the small buildings on the farms became redundant due to the modernisation of British farming. The current owners, Johnnie and Arabella Arkwright saw a different future for these buildings and in the early 1980’s created Hatton Country World.
Over the years the small buildings on the farms became redundant due to the modernisation of British farming. The current owners, Johnnie and Arabella Arkwright saw a different future for these buildings and in the early 1980’s created Hatton Country World
Hatton Craft Centre was the first area of diversification in 1983, utilising these redundant farm buildings and transforming them into craft outlets. This attracted a blacksmith, saddler, wood turner and vintage car restorer amongst others.
In 1985 Hatton Craft Centre won the UK Rural Employment Award and in 1987 it was voted Craft Centre of the Year. The Craft Centre has now become Hatton Shopping Village, anchored by a Garden Centre, an Antiques Centre and 2 restaurants. Hatton Adventure World started as a Farm Park in 1991 with a rare breeds centre, pets corner and adventure play. The centre’s name was changed to Hatton Country World.
Over the years the Farm Park has been gradually transformed with ongoing investment and over 15,000 school children make educational visits every year. However it is the whole medley of indoor and outdoor activities, the daily programme of shows and all the seasonal events that bring visitors back time and time again. Hatton Adventure World has long since been recognised as a major Midlands attraction with over 200,000 annual visitors and over 10,000 Members.
The Spinning Jenny
The Hatton Estate was bought in the 1830s by Peter Arkwright, grandson of Sir Richard Arkwright who adapted an invention called ‘The Spinning Jenny’ for industrial purposes, built the first factory in the world and was regarded as ‘The Father of the Industrial Revolution’.
The Spinning Jenny – or rather, its predecessor, The Water Frame – was driven by the power of water, generated by a water wheel. Arkwright, a wigmaker in Blackburn, bought the Patent, as he saw the potential of accommodating numerous spinning machines in a single building. His ‘dark satanic mills’ soon replaced cottage industry.
Bill Gates who also purchased the Patent to his original Microsoft computer, was recently described in the Financial Times as ‘The 20th Century Arkwright!’
Water is, of course, once again back in vogue as a non-renewable source of energy. And cottage crafts have been nurtured at Hatton. Sir Richard’s son, also Richard, expanded his father’s industrial empire way beyond its roots at Cromford in Derbyshire and had a string of cotton mills across England and Scotland.
By the time he died in 1843 numerous agricultural estates had been bought for his children and grandchildren in England, of which Hatton is the only survivor in Arkwright hands. Richard Junior was regarded as The Richest Commoner in Europe with an estimated wealth at today’s prices of £2.8 billion! The current incumbent, Johnnie Arkwright, is the great, great, great, great grandson of ‘the inventor’ and is the fourth generation of Arkwright at Hatton.
The Farmstead that now houses Hatton Shopping Village was built in the 1830s and was regarded as a model Victorian farm.
For over 100 years the farm had a pedigree herd of Red Polls which were milked twice a day and was known as George’s Farm after George Hands who was Head Cowman from the 1920s. His son and various other members of his family worked on the Estate until the 1960s.
In 1921 Hatton’s Fabulist won the Bath and West Show and was reserve champion at The Royal Show.
Each of the buildings had a specific use right up to the 1980s conversion, and some of these uses have been sign written by hand on the elevations.
The Bullpen is really the dominant feature of the site. The Red Poll bull lived in the charming arched building at the centre of the range of buildings (now part of Hatton Furniture) and had an enclosed outside area from which he could survey his herd of cows.
Hatton’s Hector was Champion Bull at the Red Poll Cattle Society’s Show in 1953. To his left were the stables (also Hatton Furniture) that housed the carthorses and to his right the milking shed.
Further down this central alley was a tiny hay store with an arched entrance and opposite, ‘The Shanty’, where the farm men gathered for their morning break. The Hatton Estate’s wages book in 1912 lists 20 workers with a weekly pay of £14.96 – 75p each!
The Saddle Rooms
Stand at the lower end of the alley dominated by the Bullpen, look right and you’ll see the Cowman’s Cottage where George Hands used to live.
Next to the cottage were a line of open fronted sheds built to accommodate the carts.
They continued to be used to house the small grey Massey Ferguson tractors of the 1950s/1960s but, once the law required tractors to have safety cabs, they became redundant.
The Saddle Room
Alfies Cafe and the entire first floor of the other buildings facing this delightful courtyard used to house the corn. At the two gable ends there are large doors through which sacks of corn were taken via a pulley system off the external timber beams that are still in position.
Between the Bullpen and the Stables was the Saddle Room.
The very first tenant of Hatton Craft Centre in 1984 was a saddler (see photo). Purely by chance he rented the unit which in previous times had been….. the Saddle Room.