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Building record MDR9457 - Winding engine house & boiler house, Middleton Top

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Middleton Top engine house and boiler house. The engine house is constructed of dressed, ashlar cut, mortared gritstone blocks laid in regular and even courses. The building is approximately 10m x 6m and 10m high, and has a pitched slate roof. The building has three storeys, including a lower one below ground level. The wheel for the rope guides is mounted on the side of the engine house. The engine has been restored and is in good working order. The boiler house is constructed of red and blue brick. The building houses two large boilers, the fronts of which are in the exterior fa├žade of the building. The boiler house is approximately 7m x 7m and stands 6m high. The structure has a tiled, sloping, mono-pitched roof. The chimney for the boiler is attached to the side of the boiler house. The base of the chimney is constructed of gritstone blocks, while the main body is of brick strengthened by metal ties. The chimney is not intact and stands 30-40m high. (1) The Middleton Top engine house stands at the top of the Cromford & High Peak Railway Middleton Incline, which was 708 yds (647. 4 metres) long, with a 1 in 8 and a quarter gradient. The engine house is a gritstone building with round-headed window openings, cast iron gothick tracery-headed windows, and a hipped slate roof. Attached to the engine house is a boiler house, housing two horizontal boilers and a chimney stack. The engine was built in approximately 1825 and was in use until 1963, when the railway closed. The engine was a two cylinder, low pressure, condensing beam type, valves operated by a parallel motion, with a 14 ft (4.27 metre) diameter fly-wheel. The winding wheels were set into a sunken chamber below the engine. The engine itself was made by the Butterley Ironworks. The steam was supplied by two wood-fired Lancashire Boilers. The drive from the engine to the rope pulleys was by single reduction gear. (18) Hexagonal gritstone engine house built at the summit of Middleton Incline on the Cromford & High Peak Railway (CHPR). It houses the original beam engine which provides power to haul wagons up the incline. The engine was manufactured by the Butterley Company in 1825. In situ stone sleepers are still preserved. A line of original CHPR Butterley-manufactured fish-bellied rails and the pit containing the winding drum with part of the cable to which the wagons were attached are all still visible and well preserved. The remains of Redhill Quarry served by a short siding from this section of the CHPR lies just to the north of the engine house. (19) An archaeological building survey of the north wall of the boiler house at Middleton Top Engine House was carried out in 2016 to inform a programme of conservation repairs, which may have involved the dismantling and rebuilding of the whole of the gable wall. The survey has identified six phases of alteration within the building fabric, all represented within the north wall of the boiler house. This elevation can be subdivided in to two parts, being divided by a large horizontal lintel c. 2.1m above the ground level. This beam created a self-supporting opening above the boilers, which would have enabled the brickwork below to be removed for periodic inspections of the metalwork every six years. Above the lintel, which was formed form two separate timbers, a diagonal construction break has been recorded. This feature indicates that the existing roof pitch of 26 degrees replaced an earlier lower roof, which had a pitch of c. 15 degrees. See report for more details. (20)

Sources/Archives (20)

  • <1> Archive: Jessop, O. 2003. Cromford & High Peak Railway and Peak Forest Tramway Survey. ARCUS 738b. Feature number: 113.
  • <2> Photograph: ARCUS. 2003. Cromford & High Peak Railway and Peak Forest Tramway Survey, Project 738b. Digital photograph. 167-9.
  • <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. 13, 32-34, 42-43, 104.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Blakemore, M & Mosley, D. 2003. Railways of the Peak District. p. 45.
  • <8> Bibliographic reference: Jones, N & Bentley, M. 2000. Scenes from the Past: 37 (Part One) Railways of the High Peak. 'Whaley Bridge to Friden'. p. 27-28, inside back cover.
  • <9> Bibliographic reference: Jones, N & Bentley, M. 2000. 'Onwards to Cromford and High Peak Junction', Scenes from the Past, 37. p. 31, 33, 37-46.
  • <10> Bibliographic reference: Marshall, J. 1996. The Cromford & High Peak Railway. p. 14,15, 40, 50, 85, 96.
  • <11> Bibliographic reference: Coleford, I C. 1996. The Cromford and High Peak Railway. inside front cover.
  • <12> Bibliographic reference: Morris, R. 2003. The Archaeology of Railways. p. 62.
  • <13> Article in serial: Marshall, J. 1981. 'High Peak Sesquicentenary, part one,' Railway Magazine. July edition, pp 322-325. p. 324.
  • <14> Bibliographic reference: Nixon, F. 1969. The Industrial Archaeology of Derbyshire. p. 117, 156, 117.
  • <15> Bibliographic reference: Nicholson, C P & Barnes, P. 1975. Railways in the Peak District. p. 17.
  • <16> Article in serial: Baxter, B. 1949. 'Early railways in Derbyshire', Engineering. Vol. 167, pp 573-576. p. 576.
  • <17> Article in serial: Marshall, J. 1981. 'High Peak Sesquicentenary, part two' Railway Magazine, Sept. edition, p422-427. September edition. p. 426-7.
  • <18> Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Middleton Top Engine House (1968).
  • <19> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 1997. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology. A Gazetteer of Sites. Part IV. Derbyshire Dales. p 44.
  • <20> Unpublished document: Jessop, O & Atkins, I (The JESSOP Consultancy). 2016. Boiler House Wall, Winding Engine House, Middleton Top, Derbyshire: Archaeological Building Survey.



Grid reference Centred SK 27598 55177 (18m by 16m) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR4445
  • EDR1790
  • EDR3859

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Record last edited

May 5 2020 4:29PM

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