Monument record MDR13769 - Dene (Denewood) Quarry, Cromford Hill, Cromford

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Overlooking Cromford is Dene Quarry which 20 years ago was producing well over 1million tonnes of stone annually. It was opened up in 1942, initially to manufacture agricultural limestone dust and decorative stone. After the first owner, Herbert Hardy, sold out to a national masonry concern in 1956 it passed through a number of hands, to become Hoveringham Stone then Tarmac as a significant aggregates producer from the 1960s until the present. Two of the original features remain, namely the lower most sinking of the 1940s/ 50s stone quarry and an adjacent retaining wall containing large blocks of the material originally extracted. Dene stone was marketed as Hadene and Derbydene (or Derbyshire Fossil) in the 1950s and 60s. These crinoid-rich stones were deployed in the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, the Royal Festival Hall and Coventry Cathedral. The venture for producing 'marble' at Dene spawned a major investment at High Peak Junction, which eventually became Pisani Ltd., recently claimed to have the UK's largest stockholding of marble and granite. (1) The present Dene Quarry is less than 60 years old. However, stone working at the site does have a longer history, as it is noted by Farey [1811] in his list of marble quarries as 'Deanwood Dale grey entrochi/1st lime'. In Spring 1942 Herbert Hardy crowbarred out the first stone from land in Dean Hollow to open the current workings. Production was destined to meet emerging wartime demand and rail sidings at Black Rock were reopened in 1944. The initial intention was to produce high purity stone for industrial purposes, notably, sugar refining and steel making. Operations were concentrated on the north side of the hollow. After 1945, post war rebuilding schemes led the company to exploit large blocks of fine building stone found in the lower beds of the site. Two types were marketed: Derbyshire fossil - a brownish grey limestone packed with fossil crinoid fragments. Below was found 'Hadene Stone', a finer grained creamy fawn stone with similarities to Hopton Wood Stone. The beds worked for this stone were the Eyam Limestones and comparable to the marble beds of Harvey Dale Quarry. Around 1946 consideration was given to extending the rail link at Black Rock across the main road, to the edge of Dene Quarry but this was impractical. Land at High Peak Junction in the Derwent Valley below Cromford was therefore developed. A sawmill and masonry yard was established here in 1947/8. An early important stone contract comprised work in the House of Commons cloister. The Royal Festival Hall constructed in 1951 used Dene material extensively. By 1959/60 blockstone on any significant scale had reduced almost to nothing as demand for crushed stone began to rise. Production in the early 1960s was about 250 ,000 t.p.a. of which road and concrete aggregates comprised two thirds, the remainder being asphalt filler, kilnstone for Ambergate, flux for foundries, agricultural limestone and limestone dust supplied to the National Coal Board to reduce the risk of colliery methane explosions. (2) From the 1940s into the 1960s, Dene Quarry produced a greyer buff Derbyshire fossil 'marble' and 'Hadene' stone, the latter being darker but fairly similar to Hopton Wood. These materials were employed in the Royal Festival Hall and in the Palace of Westminster in the early 1950s. That undertaking led to the establishment of the High Peak stone works. Apart from serving a national market, this enterprise supplies the numerous small stone finishing enterprises concentrated in the area, a legacy of well over 250 years of 'marble' working in the district. (3)

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Thomas, I (National Stone Centre). 2012. The Lower Derwent Valley: The Exploitation and Use of Historic Building Materials. p 27-9, illus.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Tarmac Ltd. 2000. Tarmac Papers: The Archives and History Initiative of Tarmac Limited Volume IV. p 287-289.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: English Stone Forum. 2005. England's Heritage in Stone: Proceedings of a Conference. 90-103. p 103-3, illus p 96.



Grid reference Centred SK 2861 5628 (885m by 829m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR3784

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Record last edited

Dec 21 2018 9:27AM

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