Monument record MDR9434 - Coal Hills Quarry, National Stone Centre; Cromford & High Peak Railway

Type and Period (1)

  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Coal Hills Quarry. Approximately 140m x 100m; the condition of the quarry is unclear as it is mostly covered in vegetation. There are a series of drystone and brick walls within the quarry and large areas covered in tar. There are a series of sections of track within the quarry, although none appear to be in situ, there are also three wagons. Coal Hills Quarry is owned by Hopton Wood Stone Co, and there used to be a siding of which no evidence remains. An obscure decorative limestone known as Bird's Eye Black or Grey Marble was won from Coal Hills quarry, north of the High Peak Trail, especially in the 1930s. Examples of its use in London include the Geological Museum, Head Quarter buildings for Lever Brothers and Thorn Electrical, and Heathrow Airport Terminal 2. As recently as 1975, it was polished as paving for Blackburn Cathedral. (8) To the north of the railway, Francis Green Goodwin leased a narrow wedge of land to Anthon Wardman (a limeburner associated with Stoneycroft Quarry) in what later became Coal Hills Quarry, but shown on the 1880 Ordnance Survey plan as rough pasture with a rock face. The are to the north of this parcel was controlled by David Wheatcroft and one small plot (no. 1145) was scheduled as 'stone quarry', 'in hand'. The latter became the core of the Coal Hills Quarry eventually merging with Wardman's area. In summary, many of the early players in the local lime industry also had a stake in this relatively small Coal Hills area. By the 1880 Ordnance Survey plan, the central operations shown by Sanderson were already given as 'Old Quarry', but workings had at that stage been extended eastwards and three 'old' kilns were shown further to the east than previously. Subsequent maps show virtually no further development of this particular part of the site until the 1960s. In the 1830s, Wheatcroft gained concessionary rates for dispatching limestone via the Cromford and High Peak Railway. It has been suggested that Wheatcroft's main concern was with stone for limeburning. The Hopton Wood Stone Company is reported to have acquired Coal Hills in 1877. However, David Wheatcroft transferred his major assets to the Hopton Wood Company ten years earlier just prior to his death. Hopton Wood's speciality from the outset at Coal Hills was Birds' Eye 'marble' - a dark limestone containing white shelly specks, capable of taking a high polish. The later pattern of development at Coal Hills can be seen from large scale Ordnance Survey plans. Sidings had been introduced at some time before 1879 (as this is a date when they were being renewed); they were sharply angled, presumably to avoid crossing Wardman's land, which accounted for almost the entire rail frontage. The 1897 Quarries list shows Coal Hills as being owned by Hopton Wood Stone Company under the management of J L Dennis and employing nine people. By 1922 the Hopton Wood and Wardman holdings had been combined (although the layout still betrays the underlying division of properties) and the faces extended considerably, more or less to their present limits. They contained a network of standard and narrow gauge lines and installations occupying most of the quarry floor. These included loading cranes for block stone. The anchor points for one of the latter, together with the loading platform to sidings and transfer points can still be traced. Remains of a small magazine can be found in the rock face. It would appear from the layout of the quarry and comments of local people, that little if any stone was won from this quarry after about 1930. AT some stage, presumably after the formation of Derbyshire Stone in 1935, a plant for producing asphalt blocks was built in the Wardman section of the quarry as evidenced by remains on site. During excavation carried out in brick foundations to the entrance of the quarry (in c. 1995) large numbers of small stoneware bottles (c. 1pint capacity) filled with tar were found buried. (9) There is a Quarry situated off Porter Lane on the 1st edition 25" Ordnance Survey map of c. 1880. (10)

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <1> Archive: Jessop, O. 2003. Cromford & High Peak Railway and Peak Forest Tramway Survey. ARCUS 738b. Feature number: 92.
  • <2> Photograph: ARCUS. 2003. Cromford & High Peak Railway and Peak Forest Tramway Survey, Project 738b. Digital photograph. 138-140.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 2003. OS Landline (2003) from EDINA Digimap. 1:2000.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1882. OS County Series, 1st edition, scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile). XXXIV. 14.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 2002. OS Explorer 0L24 (2002).
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Rimmer, A. 1998. The Cromford and High Peak Railway. p. 32,42.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Coleford, I C. 1996. The Cromford and High Peak Railway. p. 9.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Jones, N & Bentley, M. 2000. 'Onwards to Cromford and High Peak Junction', Scenes from the Past, 37. p. 26.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Thomas, I (National Stone Centre). 2012. The Lower Derwent Valley: The Exploitation and Use of Historic Building Materials. p 29 illus..
  • <9> Bibliographic reference: Tarmac Ltd. 2000. Tarmac Papers: The Archives and History Initiative of Tarmac Limited Volume IV. p 281-3.
  • <10> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1882. OS County Series, 1st edition, scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile).



Grid reference Centred SK 28468 55284 (158m by 122m) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR1790

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External Links (0)

Record last edited

Dec 21 2018 9:27AM

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