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Monument record MDR3142 - Side Mine, (Slit Mine), High Tor Colour Works and weir, on the River Derwent, Matlock Town

Type and Period (3)

  • (COLOUR WORKS, Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Georgian to Unknown - 1760 AD)
  • (Georgian to Unknown - 1760 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Approximately 1760's. Side Mine adit at the rear of the colour works. There is a strong historical link with the colour works and one of several weirs erected on the Derwent to drain the mines. The weir had a 1201 feet linkage from the waterwheel to the pumps in the mine. (1-2) Colour works at the mouth of an adit on the East bank of the River Derwent. There used to be an associated weir, removed by STWA during their flood prevention works in the early 1980's. Weir since removed. Works established in 1760's, and converted in 1851 to a white lead works, establishing links with present day Via Gellia Colour Co. paint works.(3) Pigments and other ingredients for paints, including colours and fillers for paint, inks, glazes, pottery, paper, leather and linoleum were a very significant business. The Lower Derwent and Derby was one of the key zones involved in the UK industry outside London. In essence it was based on various lead compounds (red, white) ochres and raddle (iron oxides/hydroxides) and umbers (containing also, manganese oxides) i.e. the so-called earth colours, barites/calcite as whites and fillers, lime for whitewash and possibly zinc oxides/carbonate (white) as well as clays and fine sands. Weathered or soft sooty coal seams known as smut, were also exploited to make black or dark browns (e.g. Vandyke brown) which possibly was utilised from a mine below High Tor. All these were derived locally, but even in the 19th century other materials such as chrome compounds, mica, potash, graphite ('black lead') and synthetics were being imported. In the late 20th century, most of the raw materials were derived from abroad, notably Spain, Turkey, India and China, the main local feedstock being barytes and limestone-based fillers. (4)

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Side Mine, High Tor Colour Works.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1896-1900. OS County Series, 2nd edition (1st revision), scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile). Derbyshire XXXIV.3.
  • <3> Unpublished document: County Treasure Recording Form. 11.14.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Thomas, I (National Stone Centre). 2012. The Lower Derwent Valley: The Exploitation and Use of Historic Building Materials. p 31.



Grid reference Centred SK 296 589 (88m by 399m) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Dec 21 2018 9:27AM

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