Monument record MDR13772 - Cawdor and Station Quarries, A6, Matlock Town

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

The large abandoned Cawdor/ Station Quarries were started in the late 19th century and by 1900 were exporting asphalt material to London. (1) Just beyond the station at Matlock Thomas Wakely and John Weston introduced a siding by widening the trackline onto Megdale Farm in October 1857; this marked the first step in developing Cawdor Quarry. By 1880 Cawdor Quarry already comprised a single long face with two sidings but no buildings. The name is likely to be a corruption of Caw Tor, a wooded bluff listed on the Tithe Schedule at a point where the sidings and quarry were started. W E Constable & Company Ltd. took over Cawdor Quarry in about 1890 then operating as the Matlock Limestone Company mainly to secure materials for their tar coating operation at Mitcham, Surrey. Shaws opened up Station Quarry (also known as New Station Quarry) at Matlock overlooking the station sidings in about 1900. In 1922/3, one of the first drum mixers in the country was introduced to produce coated macadam, thereby replacing the hard labour and variability involved in shovel mixing small batches on heated metal plates. The mixer was only replaced in 1952. In 1930 Station Quarry came under the ownership of Constable Hart & Company Ltd. along with Cawdor but for some years they were worked as two separate units, later Constable Hart Ltd. were within the companies which formed Derbyshire Stone. Apart from the normal range of limestone products they specialised particularly in mastic asphalt. The strategic position of Cawdor as the nearest rail connected site to markets in the south and east, and its significant stone reserves, coupled with the ability to use firstly Station Quarry and then the river frontage for ancillary activities led to regular expansion. Mid 1938 saw improvements made to increase the quality control of coated stone. Cawdor benefited from one of the first works canteens - one of the reasons behind the idea was to improve productivity. During the second World War, a major new element at Cawdor was the development of a fluorspar processing plant. Cawdor Quarry continued to extend westwards towards Snitterton, but was restricted to the south by a public road. The shaley nature of some parts of the deposit, the general dip of the beds towards the valley and, at depth, the potential of encountering a band of volcanic ash, were all giving cause for concern. Cawdor played a significant part in the motorway building programme (particularly the M1). The physical difficulties of working the area and further rationalisation of operations resulted in the final closure of Cawdor in the late 1980s. Over the past century, the 1.5km long platform resulting from extraction at Cawdor Quarry has been occupied by many organisations, latterly including vehicle repairers, block making, dimension stone production, local bonfire celebrations, vegetable wholesaling and a voluntary mainline railway restoration society. However, throughout much of its history, mastic asphalt production has been a key component and is still produced by Permanite at Cawdor. (2) In 1957 a large froth flotation plant was built in Cawdor Quarry for the processing of vein minerals, some of the dried out slurry lagoons still testify to this activity. (3) In 1990 Tarmac plc established a new state of the art stone saw mill at Cawdor Quarry, Matlock. (4)

Sources/Archives (5)

  • --- Unpublished document: Webster, T (Gifford). 2008. Cawdor Quarry, Matlock: Archaeological Excavation and Watching Brief.
  • <1> Unpublished document: Thomas, I (National Stone Centre). 2012. The Lower Derwent Valley: The Exploitation and Use of Historic Building Materials. p 26.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Tarmac Ltd. 2000. Tarmac Papers: The Archives and History Initiative of Tarmac Limited Volume IV. p 312-14.
  • <3> Article in serial: Thomas, I A. 1999. 'Tarmac's Derbyshire heritage', Tarmac Papers. Volume III, pp 325-355. p 349.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: English Stone Forum. 2005. England's Heritage in Stone: Proceedings of a Conference. 90-103. p 101.



Grid reference Centred SK 2917 6042 (748m by 383m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR4710

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Record last edited

Mar 2 2020 4:48PM

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