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Building record MDR3161 - Via Gellia Colour Works, Middleton

Type and Period (6)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Via Gellia Colour Works, previously a lead smelting works with Cupola furnace. (1) Remains of flue and chimney survive on the steep valley side to the south (2) In 1811 Farey referred to a Via Gellia Cupola. The Land Tax Assessment showed, for 1810-1832, Philip Gell Esq. as owning a lead works and lead mill. In the 1850s the works seem to have been occupied by Alfred Alsop until his wife succeeded him in March 1858, giving up the works in January 1859. After this the works seem to have been owned by Cockburns, then by William Sperry until closure in 1875, only to be opened again by a Mr Salisbury of Derby in 1877-1878. The works are shown on the OS 25" map of 1880, on which most of the present day flue remains can be traced. They were then titled 'Paint Works' and presumably belonged to Wheatcrofts, later to be called the Via Gellia Colour Company, to whom they still belong. Some alterations have been made to the flues so as to use them for red lead and paint manufacture, although they are now derelict. Only part of the 1880 buildings survive, and very little of the water wheel installations. (4) 'Gell's Cupola' - Via Gellia Colour Works. The main remains consist of a condensing flue running up the hill behind the Via Gellia Colour Works. There are also traces of a leat, etc. The flue is a good surviving example, with extension and loop traceable. The site is in fair condition [in 1973] but decaying naturally. (5) The condensing flue is referred to in a lease from Philip Gell of Hopton to William Evett Sheffield of Sommers Town in Middlesex, dated September 25 1817. The lease includes the mill, with the lead works, stables, outbuilding, lime works and stone quarry in Bonsall and Middleton. The lessee is allowed to 'erect, alter and take down all such machines, furnaces, chimneys.. ..except the long chimney on the hillside'. The flue was therefore clearly present in the early 19th century and represents an important survival. (6)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Index: NDAT. 2762. 2762.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Willies, L. 1972. The Development of Lead Smelting in Derbyshire, PAS. Volume 27.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Harris, H. 1971. Industrial Archaeology of the Peak District. p191.
  • <4> Article in serial: Willies, L. 1969. 'Cupola lead smelting sites in Derbyshire, 1737-1900', Bulletin of the Peak District Mines Historical Society. Vol. 4, part 1. p 111.
  • <5> Unpublished document: County Treasure Recording Form. 11.14.
  • <6> Verbal communication: Information from D Buxton, with reference to a document in Derbyshire Record Office. DRO D3287/49/8/1.



Grid reference Centred SK 278 572 (189m by 124m) (Approximate)

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Record last edited

Dec 21 2018 9:27AM

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