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Monument record MDR12988 - Holme Bank chert quarry mine and Holme Hall chert mine, Castle Hill and Holme Bank, Bakewell

Type and Period (1)

  • (Georgian to Mid 20th Century - 1800 AD to 1960 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

The Holme Bank chert quarry was being worked before 1880. It was known at that time as Bakewell Chert Mine, also as Smith's Mine. It closed between 1959 and 1961. It contained the remains of a water pump, railway lines and other mining relics. Eight entrances are known, the main ones being in an old quarry (SMR 7315). (3, 4) The Holme Bank chert quarry and mine and the Holme Hall chert mine shared the same surface works, but each mined underground under land in different ownerships; over much of their later history they had a shared entrance. When work started here is uncertain. The technology for using chert to crush flint for the pottery industry was developed in the mid-18th century; chert from the Bakewell area was certainly in use in the Potteries from around this time. The first documentation of the Holme Bank quarry by name is 1832. Underground working must have begun by the mid-19th century, as the Holme Hall mine is first documented in 1853. The chert industry reached a peak at the end of the 19th century but declined rapidly after that. However, small scale production from the mines continued from the 1920s until 1960. The dominating surface feature is a large disused quarry with an exposed rock face about 5m deep. In its north-east face are the entrances of two adits which lead to extensive underground chert mine workings. The quarry contains a number of buildings and equipment associated with 19th and 20th century chert mining activities. (5) Remains of chert quarry above Holme Hall. The Derbyshire Peak District was an important source of chert for the Staffordshire pottery industry. (6) Holme Bank mine yielded perhaps half of the mined chert obtained from Derbyshire but its early history is not all that clear. The initial development of Holme Bank was as a quarry belonging to the Gell family but their estates hereabouts were leased to Richard Arkwright for 25 years commencing on 25th March, 1778. On the 22nd of November, 1838, George Tissington aged 62 died when he stumbled into the 'Chert Delph, near Holme Hall' as he returned home in an intoxicated state after shopping in Bakewell. In 1832 Robert Arkwright had signed an agreement to give the Duke of Devonshire the first refusal to purchase Holme Bank Chert Quarry and then in 1860 the Duke of Devonshire purchased the Lumford Mill estate including the quarry. Chert was produced on a moderate scale and it was probably on the change of land ownership (before 1862) that the Holme Bank workings were first leased to Joseph Smith, although in 1901 it was stated that the firm of Joseph Smith & Sons had worked the mine for over 60 years. The Holme Hall chert mine was developed later in 1870 where the Duke of Devonshire and Francis Gisborne shared an entrance to the two mines. The production of Holme Hall Mine decreased steadily until 1879 at which point Joseph Smith abandoned the mine and gave notice to terminate the lease as he claimed the mine had been flooded out and the lessors had failed to keep it clear of water. In 1886 Holme Hall was let to Robert William Allsop of Canal Wharf, Sheffield, who eventually became insolvent, and so the mine with its machinery were sold in December 1894. Legal wrangling between the Gisborne family and the Smith family lead to the mine and its land being constantly passed from one to another until 1946 when the firm of Smith's Runners Ltd entered into an agreement with Edwin Llewellyn Raworth of Holme Hall to lease the mine and beds within two large fields north east of Holme Hall. Production at Holme Hall between 1949 and 1957 was mined when the water table was at the lowest (September), however works at both mine petered out towards the end of the 1950s. In recent years, the flooded part of Holme Hall has been used by the Cave Diving Group. Holme Bank mine may have also at some stage been known as Castle Hill Chert Mine (at least between 1888-1896), when it is referred to as Castle Hill in the Mining Inspector's list of chert mined areas. (7)

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Index: North Derbyshire Archaeological Trust (NDAT). North Derbyshire Archaeological Trust Index. 0151.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Hill, R (PPJPB). 1985. Peak Park Treasures. Davies J. E.: 10/93: C169.
  • <3> Article in serial: Critchley, M & Wilson, P. 1975. 'Holme Bank Chert Mine, Bakewell', Bulletin of the Peak District Mines Historical Society. Volume 6, no. 1, pp 1-5.
  • <4> Article in serial: Brown, I. 1976. 'The Pretoria and Greenfield Chert Mine, Bakewell', Bulletin of the Peak District Mines Historical Society. Volume 6, pp 169-172.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Barnatt, J and H Taylor (PDNPA). 2000. The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey, Chatsworth Inbye Land: Archaeological Survey 1999-2000. pp 149-150, Feature 41.13.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 1997. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology. A Gazetteer of Sites. Part IV. Derbyshire Dales.
  • <7> Article in serial: Bowering, G & Flindall, R. 1998. 'Hard times: a history of the Derbyshire chert industry', Mining History: The Bulletin of the Peak District Mines Historical Society. Volume 13, No. 5, pp 24-25.



Grid reference Centred SK 2144 6915 (123m by 101m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR3857

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Record last edited

Nov 13 2017 12:38PM

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