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Site record MDR9380 - Site of Cromford Top Engine House, Cromford Incline, Cromford and High Peak Railway, Bauston Tor, Cromford

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

  • World Heritage Site Buffer Zone

Full Description

Site of a former engine house at the top of the Cromford Incline, built in 1830 and out of use in 1857. Excavations in 2008 revealed surviving structural remains. The site is now a hollow, 1.5m deep and was possibly re-used as a small quarry scoop. In the side of the scoop is a small tunnel, 0.6m wide, constructed of dressed stone and aligned north-east to south-west. The tunnel heads toward the top of the Cromford Incline track and could possibly be the housing for the rope. (1-2) Maintenance work in 2008 along the High Peak Trail uncovered structural masonry and worked stone. Following this, a small archaeological excavation was undertaken on the site. This revealed a number of features previously thought to have been destroyed. They included the enclosed channel where the original chains that pulled trains up the incline entered and left the engine house, the original wooden tops of the channel where the chains left the engine house, two large sections of external walls, internal stone walls, and three structural pins within an internal wall. Further significant buried remains are likely to remain in situ at the site of the former engine house, perhaps surviving to a depth of up to c. 5.65m below the current ground level. (3) The Cromford and High Peak railway ran for 33 miles linking the Cromford Canal with the High Peak Canal. It was mainly intended for the transport of goods from one canal to the other, although stone from quarries along the route and passengers were also carried. The original intention was to link the two canals with a third canal, but the cost proved too great. So Josias Jessop, son of the engineer of the Cromford Canal, came up with an alternative proposal for a rail link. By 1827 funds for the railway scheme had been raised and construction was reported to be underway. The scheme entailed using a series of nine inclined planes, with stationary steam engines located at the top of each incline, pulling the wagons on a continuous chains located under the tracks. This railway ran until 1857 but never made any money, after which there was a major refit. The refit entailed merging some of the inclines. One of those mergers involved the Sheep Pasture incline with the Cromford incline. This entailed the removal of the steam engines that were no longer in use. (4) Excavations carried out in 2009 investigated the site of one of the engine houses removed in the 1850s and found structures relating to the walls, a stairs, two cylinder bases and the chimney and flue. (4)

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Archive: Jessop, O. 2003. Cromford & High Peak Railway and Peak Forest Tramway Survey. ARCUS 738b. Feature No. 42.
  • <2> Photograph: ARCUS. 2003. Cromford & High Peak Railway and Peak Forest Tramway Survey, Project 738b. Digital photograph. 56-57.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Copley, M & McCoy, M (ARCUS). 2009. Community Excavation, Cromford and High Peak Railway, Derbyshire.
  • <4> Unpublished document: O'Neill, R and C Swales (ARCUS). 2010. Cromford and High Peak Railway, Derbyshire: Community Excavation.



Grid reference SK 3074 5607 (point) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR1790
  • EDR4663
  • EDR2715

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Mar 15 2020 9:17AM

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