At the far south eastern end of the Middle Peak outcrop (now occupied by the buildings and compounds on Harrison Drive) was a parcel known as Baileycroft in medieval lead mining records; by the 1830/40's this comprised a quarry leased from John Smith by one Benjamin Street. Although there was never any direct linkage with Tarmac or its predecessors, it does relate geographically. The site was mainly operated from the 1870's until about 1906. It was variously known as Smiths, Colledges', North End or Baileycroft Quarry and produced 'aggregate' and flux for iron works, notably around Oldbury. George Colledge of Cromford was a managing partner of the operators here, the Wirksworth Stone and Mineral Company. (1)
Just to the south of the railway is the massive Middle Peak complex of quarries, effectively incorporating Middle Peak itself, Monkey Hole, Bottom Hole, Stoneycroft, Dale (each with various alternative names) and effectively, the neighbouring Baileycroft Quarry. The earliest extraction probably began in the 18th century around the Limekiln public house and at Middle Peak sensu stricto in the 1790s. It became a major source of fluxing stone for Midlands' iron and steel works from Corby to the Black Country, then a principal supplier to sugar beet refineries and latterly a major aggregates producer. The historical emergence is equally complicated, but precious little remains to be seen on the ground, mainly as a result of large scale extraction (up to 1.5 million tonnes annually) from the late 1950s until virtual closure in 1992, and infilling of Stoneycroft (to create Stoneywood Community Park) and partially, of Dale Quarry. The site still carries substantial permitted reserves which are 'kept alive' by intermittent working. However there are a range of interesting links to the railways which have already been largely interpreted on the ground and some other features such as a magazine which are not covered. There is a growing accumulation of archival material for this site, held both by the National Stone Centre and in private hands. (2)
Baileycroft Quarry, Wirksworth is shown on the 1st edition 25" Ordnance Survey map of c. 1880. (3)
The 3rd edition 25" Ordnance Survey map shows the Quarry as disused. (4)
Bibliographic reference: Tarmac Ltd. 2000. Tarmac Papers: The Archives and History Initiative of Tarmac Limited Volume IV. p 270-1.
Unpublished document: Thomas, I (National Stone Centre). 2012. The Lower Derwent Valley: The Exploitation and Use of Historic Building Materials. p 27.
Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1882. OS County Series, 1st edition, scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile).
Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1912-1921. OS County Series, 3rd edition (Second Revision), scale 1:2500 (25" to one mile).
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Centred SK 2867 5424 (151m by 196m)
WIRKSWORTH, DERBYSHIRE DALES, DERBYSHIRE
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Record last edited
Dec 14 2017 4:29PM
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