Derby Maker Faire at the Silk Mill

Hannah Howe surrounded by her range of dresses

Hannah Howe surrounded by her range of dresses - Credit: Archant

Derby’s third Maker Faire at the Silk Mill Museum brought together everything from hi-tech electronics to the traditional crafts of rug-making and cake-baking

Pat Coleman, Vice-Chair of Derby Museums Trust, reflected on Derby’s history of making. ‘When I was growing up most of the dads of the children in my class worked for major companies like Rolls-Royce, Qualcast, Aitons, British Celanese or, of course, the railways. Some of these names still exist, others have gone but their places have been taken by new companies with equally important national profiles, many based on new technologies. Derby always has been, and remains, a city of making.’ Opening the event, Cllr Ranjit Banwait, leader of Derby City Council, added, ‘This event is Derby’s way of recognising this movement at the site of the world’s very first factory.’

Among those present were Rolls-Royce graduates who have been creating activities and products for people to make as a way of generating revenue for the Silk Mill; Gwin Kerry of Chesterfield, demonstrating a heat press to transfer designs onto copper; Pam Hallam at the Derby Makers Group’s home-made produce table with cakes, jams and chutneys; rug-maker Janet Kenworthy of Derby; and Hannah Howe of Alfreton for whom dress-making is a spare-time passion. Ian Dickenson of Nottingham Hackspace demonstrated his automated cocktail maker, and robotics on display included the clever creations of a team from Derby University. Rob Haywood, whose Kitronik company supplies electronic kits to secondary schools, brought some fascinating solar electronics, and Martin Raynsford, who has turned his hobby into a business – Just Add Sharks – demonstrated his laser cutters.

Outside on Cathedral Green the Bloodhound Supersonic Car was a star attraction. It hopes to take the land speed record next year in South Africa when Wing Commander Andy Green will attempt to beat his own record of 763mph – set with Thrust SSC in 1997. Then in 2016 he hopes to break the 1000mph barrier. The car is powered by a Rolls-Royce EJ200 engine, more commonly found in the Eurofighter jet aircraft, and a rocket.

From the outset, the Bloodhound project has engaged with the public and schools, inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers. The Young Engineers Club at the Joseph Whitaker School at Rainworth, Nottingham, took up the challenge to break the world record for a rocket-powered model car. Teacher Phil Worsley said, ‘The record stood at 96mph and one of our models took it to 250mph before somebody else raised the record to 287. We thought that might be a challenge, but we looked at how to improve our cars and took the record to 533.1mph.’