The railway which runs through Great Rocks Dale and Dove Holes Dale was built in the 1860s as part of the Midland Railway Company's main-line route between Derby and Manchester. Although it was not anticipated at the time, the choice of route was of great significance to the development of Peak Dale. The railway came right through the centre of those quarries already established in Dove Holes Dale, and by providing new facilities for the movement of limestone it further stimulated the growth of quarrying in the area. For the inhabitants of the district the railway changed forever the familiar appearance of the valley. From that time onwards it could only be crossed in safety by use of one of several bridges, including the one that carries Batham Gate Road over the railway in Dove Holes Dale. Those farmers whose land had been purchased to make way for the railway had to become accustomed to the sight and sound of steam-engines pulling carriages full of passengers or waggons containing goods through the dales where previously their sheep and cattle had grazed.

The Midland Railway Company opened its line through Peak Dale for goods traffic on 1st October, 1866 and for passenger traffic on 1st February. 1867. This photograph shows some of the extensive sidings which were built to enable local quarrying firms to transport their products on the railway. Note right background loaded waggons ready to feed stone into the crusher built 1913.

By the 1860s Britain already had a considerable network of railway lines. Richard Trevithick had built the first successful railway locomotive in 1808 and the first line to use locomotives, the Stockton - Darlington line, engineered by George Stephenson, had been opened in 1825. The 1840s had seen what was later to be called "railway mania", with companies being formed all over the country and people rushing to buy shares in them. Although during that decade the first stages in the development of what was to become the Derby - Manchester route had taken place, it was a further 20 years before the railway system reached our parish. To achieve its ambition of a direct route between Derby and Manchester, the Midland Railway Company had to fight the opposition of rival companies and wrestle with engineering problems created by the difficult nature of the terrain to be crossed. The result was a railway which, carried by numerous tunnels and viaducts through a variety of attractive scenery, was one of the most spectacular lines in the country.

The completed line covered a distance of about 61 miles and carried important traffic, much of it originating from, or bound for, London. The line was not the work of one company but of several completely separate companies, who constructed sections of it at different periods for their own reasons. The first section of the route between Derby and Ambergate was built by the North Midland Railway as part of their line to Rotherham via Chesterfield and was opened on llth May, 1840. The second section of the Derby - Manchester line was constructed by the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midland Junction Railway. This company had intended to build a line from Cheadle, near Manchester, to Ambergate, a distance of 421/2 miles, but could only raise sufficient capital to construct a line just 1 P/2 miles long between Ambergate and Rowsley. It was opened on 4th June, 1849 and in 1852 was leased to both the Midland Railway and its rival, the London and North Western Railway (L.N.W.R.). The Midland Railway gained control of this section in 1871 when it was absorbed into their system.

On 4th September, 1860, the Midland Railway Company started to build the Rowsley - Buxton section of the line. Work on this section included the construction of the great viaduct at Monsal Dale, tunnels near Cressbrook and Litton and a viaduct and station at Millers Dale where the line entered our parish.

Chee Dale presented many difficulties to the builders of the line. High above the river a tunnel 430 yards long, known as Chee Tor No. 1, was cut through a limestone spur and. where the railway emerged from the sheer walls of the dale, it was connected by a viaduct to another tunnel, Chee Tor No. 2, 70 yards in length. Then for a distance of about 400 yards the railway had to be laid on a shelf carved out of the valley side and at the end of the ledge passed through another tunnel. Rusher Cutting, 94 yards in length.

A small station was built at Blackwell Mill and it was from there that work began in October 1863 to take the main line route through Great Rocks Dale. The line through Wye Dale and Ashwood Dale to Buxton became a branch line. It was opened on 1st June 1863 - the same day that the Stockport. Disley and Whaley Bridge Railway (S.D.W.B.Railway) opened their extension to Buxton. This might have provided the Midland with a link to Manchester but the L.N.W.R. was a major subscriber to the S.D.W.B. Railway Company and was opposed to any such connection. Instead agreement was made between the Midland Railway Company and the Manchester. Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (M.S.L.R.) for the Midland to extend its line through Great Rocks Dale to New Mills Central and from there gain access to Manchester.

The first part of Great Rocks Dale, deep, wooded and narrow in places, was at that time overlooked by three farms, known as Upper Great Rocks, Lower Great Rocks and Great Rocks Back Pastures. From 1929 onwards this area was transformed by the opening of Tunstead Quarry which gradually expanded onto the meadow and pasture land occupied by those farms. It was necessary to build two tunnels in this part of the dale. Peak Forest Tunnel, 121 yards in length and Great Rocks Tunnel, 161 yards in length.

From the second tunnel the railway entered the more open part of the dale, with Great Rocks Lees rising steadily to the right and yet another farm, Great Rocks Pastures to the left. In Peak Dale the railway reached its highest point at an altitude of 980 feet near to Peak Forest North signal box. Locomotives faced 15 miles of almost constant climbing from Rowsley to the summit, the final three miles being at a gradient of 1 in 90 and so over the years banking engines often gave assistance to heavy trains on that section of the route.

Peak Forest Station Staff' in July 1904. In the centre is Mr. Farrow the stationmaster. In the late 19th century local farmers took milk to Peak Forest and Millers Dale Stations to be taken to Manchester:

"They used to take it half past nine every morning. There were big knobs on top of the churn and they could wheel them along platform, I can hear them now doing it. They used call it 'Milk Train'."

The station was built just before the summit on a site near to the bridge which carries Batham Gate Road over the railway. Although in Peak Dale it was given the name Peak Forest Station. The most likely explanation is that at the time the area was still referred to as Peak Forest Hamlet. When the village became known as Peak Dale in 1893, the station retained its old name. From the station at Peak Dale, London was 1641/2 miles away to the south and Manchester 251/2 miles to the north by railway.

From the summit the railway was taken through a very deep cutting with perpendicular walls and then entered Dove Holes Tunnel. The great length of this tunnel, one mile and 1,224 yards, and the steepness of the gradient, again 1 in 90, resulted in the southern portal being almost 100 feet higher than that at the northern end. It is said that the curve of the tunnel is so slight that the opening at each end can be seen from its centre.

The tunnel, cut through solid limestone rock, took more than three years to complete and caused problems for both the railway builders and operators. Before work on it was started it was found that a subterranean river crossed the path of the proposed bore. As no contractor would tender for the job, except at an expensive price, the Railway Company decided to do the work themselves. A long and costly drain was cut to divert the river, but, although it flowed along the new channel for some distance, the river suddenly disappeared down a fissure through which it has flowed ever since. Part of the tunnel collapsed on 19th June, 1872 just five years after it had been opened to traffic. When a workman was killed by a locomotive in the tunnel in 1879 it was noted that trains travelled through the tunnel in just one minute 40 seconds and later a speed restriction was introduced on that part of the line.

From the direction of Peak Dale the railway entered the tunnel in limestone country but after travelling under the village of Dove Holes it emerged in the landscape of millstone grit surrounding Chapel-en-le-Frith. As the L.N.W.R. had chosen to travel around the hill through which the Midland had cut the tunnel their lines crossed at two points. In Dove Holes the line of the L.N.W.R. crossed that of the Midland at a height of 40 feet above the level of the rail in the Dove Holes Tunnel. A further tunnel carried the Midland line under the L.N.W.R. near Chapel-en-le-Frith Station. The valley of the Blackbrook was crossed by a sandstone viaduct at Chapel Milton: beneath one arch of this ran the Peak Forest Tramway. The line continued through Chinley and Bugsworth to New Mills where it connected with the Marple, New Mills and Hayfield Junction Railway. Beyond Marple the Midland obtained running powers into Manchester (London Road) from the M.S.L.R. Later the Midland built its own line from New Mills to Manchester Central.

Messrs. Campion and Langley were the resident engineers for the Midland Railway Company and Messrs. Eckersley, Bayliss and Ashwell were the contractors who carried out most of the work on the 12 miles between Millers Dale and New Mills. Some of the labourers were local men, but the majority of the navvies came into the district from all parts of the country and then moved on with their work as each section of the railway was completed. From around 1861 great strain was increasingly placed on the district's accommodation by the number of men who came to work on the various railways. In Chapel-en-le-Frith, Sparrowpit and Dove Holes, registered lodging houses, inns and many private households were packed with lodgers. Eighteen houses in Dove Holes provided beds for 49 lodgers. One family of eight living in Black Hole Houses took in six workmen, while a family of three at Barmoor Clough took in nine men. In addition three railway huts accommodated 25 people. In the parish of Wormhill 12 men were employed in this type of work according to the Census Returns of 1861. Eight were described as miners, two as excavators and two as railway labourers. Of the nine who lodged in Tunstead and Wormhill, six stayed at the Bagshaw Arms Inn. The number of workmen employed in making Dove Holes Tunnel was so great that the majority of them had nowhere to live except in whatever shelter they could make for themselves: while working or sleeping they must have endured some of the country's coldest weather.

Navvies were generally regarded as rough men who often caused trouble, and during the time they were in this area a disturbance took place between the English and Irish workers. Eventually the Irish were forced out of their camp and they refused to return until granted police protection at night. By the skilful management of three local policemen, who were posted outside the camp, the engineer was able to convince the Irish that they would be protected by 36 men and the Irish returned reassured.

Accidents frequently occurred when railway construction was taking place. In this area between 1862 and 1866 at least ten men were killed while building the railway.

The Millers Dale - New Mills section of the line was opened for goods traffic on 1st October, 1866. The opening of the line for passenger traffic was delayed due to a landslip at Bugsworth. Four hundred men worked night and day to repair the line which was reopened for goods traffic on 24th January, 1867, and opened to passengers on 1st February, 1867.

The Midland route from London to Manchester via Derby and New Mills was in direct competition with the L.N.W.R. route via Birmingham and Stockport. Both routes covered a similar distance but north of Derby the Midland main line suffered from the problem of steep gradients and so the L.N.W.R. was able to achieve faster schedules. On the Midland Railway it took three hours and forty minutes to travel between St Pancras and Manchester, while the L.N.W.R. completed the journey in three and a half hours. Sleeping car services between London and Manchester came through Peak Dale. In 1903 the journey lasted five hours. Other services at this time included a through express to Blackpool. A number of the London to Manchester expresses stopped at stations on the Ambergate - Chinley section of the Midland main line but these stations were mainly served by local trains.

So, from the late 1860s, two railways and the Peak Forest Canal and Tramway could be used by quarry owners to transport lime and limestone out of the district. The early history of the local quarries and works clearly shows how development was influenced by transport considerations.

THE QUARRIES Perseverance and Victory

The Bibbington family worked quarries on the western side of Dove Holes Dale and gave their name to the hamlet which grew up nearby. A member of the family started the Perseverance Works in about 1847. Their Victory Lime Works was opened around the time that the Stockport, Disley and Whaley Bridge Railway extended the line from Whaley Bridge to Buxton in 1863. A battery of lime kilns was sited alongside the railway to the south of Dove Holes. This railway, which was taken over by the London and North Western Railway in 1866, also had a branch line into the quarries in Dove Holes Dale. The Dove Holes Dale Works, which was usually referred to as Heathcott's Quarry after the name of the owner Edward Heathcott was served by this branch.

Wainwright's Quarry

Wainwright's Quarry was also on the western side of Dove Holes Dale. An entry in Kelly's Directory for 1887 shows Joseph Wainwright as the proprietor of the Peak Forest Lime and Stone Works, but a map of 1898 gives it the name of Peak Dale Works. A kiln was erected in this quarry in 1876 and a simple crusher was constructed a few years later. It is now used by Peak Dale Youth Club Motor Cycle Club.

S. Taylor Frith & Co. Ltd.

Almost all the quarries on the eastern side of Dove Holes Dale were being worked by S. Taylor Frith & Co. Ltd. by the 1920s. The man who started the firm was Samuel Taylor who was born in 1840. In the early 19th century his father had set up a small business in Runcorn in the carrying of coal and lime by canal boat. On the death of his father, Samuel, aged 30, took over the business, extended it and set up as a barge owner. He transported coal and lime from Lancashire and Derbyshire to the tanneries and chemical firms of Cheshire. At first he owned just one pair of "narrow boats" but as the business prospered he added more boats and a boat-building and repair yard until eventually he operated 24 "narrow boats", six barges or broad boats and a coasting schooner. As trade increased he decided to make sure he could obtain a regular supply of lime by becoming a producer and so in 1879 he bought the Holderness Quarry in Dove Holes Dale. This quarry had been owned by Joel Carrington, a lime merchant of Hollinwood near Oldham who had built two kilns at Holderness in the 1860s alongside the tramway of the Peak Forest Canal Company. These kilns produced about 10,000 tons of lime a year and until Samuel Taylor could build more kilns he bought some of the tonnages he required from Samuel Bibbington.

Samuel Taylor extended the quarries and eventually eight kilns were in operation and a stone crushing plant was built to supply chemical stone, macadam and chippings. The Midland Railway lay right in front of the Holderness Works but Samuel Taylor continued to use the Peak Forest Tramway as most of his customers were alongside the canal network. Newer industries tended to be established close to railways so a connection was made from the quarries to the Midland Railway around 1891. Even so, the company used the tramway until it was closed in 1925.

In 1890 Samuel Taylor was joined by his son-in-law, James Mason Frith, who had been the manager of the Aldershot Gas Works. He was made a partner in 1905 and the firm became S. Taylor Frith & Co. Ltd. Mr. Arthur Frith, the elder son of J. Mason Frith, joined the firm in 1913. He became a director and remained on the Board until his death, at the age of 58, in 1951. The younger son of James Mason Frith, Mr. Frank Frith, joined the company on his demobilisation after the First World War. He was later made a Director and eventually succeeded his father as Chairman and Managing Director.

When the demand for lime and limestone increased after the First World War the company decided to open an additional quarry. Most of the companies operating quarries in the district held the land under lease from the Duke of Devonshire and his permission was sought by S. Taylor Frith & Co. Ltd. to work Bee Low Hill. The company opened Bee Low Quarry in 1922. A tramway operated by an endless ropeway nearly 3/4 mile long was built to convey the stone from the new quarry to the kilns and crushers of the old plant. The creation of the ropeway was a considerable achievement. It was designed by a man named Francis Lane, (of Lanwell Works, Brierly Hill. Staffs. ) and its installation was the first job undertaken by Mr. Frank Frith when he entered the business.


The Newline and Peak quarries were taken over by S. Taylor Frith & Co. Ltd. in the 1920s. Newline Quarry, which had opened around 1800, was originally owned by the Peak Forest Canal Company and from the early 1860s horses, used on the Peak Forest Tramway, were stabled in the quarry. Full control of the Canal Company passed to the M.S.L. Railway Co. in 1863. This became part of the Great Central Railway in 1897 and the Newline Quarry was worked for ballast. When the lease for the land expired in 1923 it was not renewed by Great Central Railway and the Newline Quarry and the Peak Quarry were acquired by S. Taylor Frith & Co. Ltd.

Thomas Beswick and Sons

Thomas Beswick and Sons were the proprietors of Small Dale Lime Works. Vertical kilns used by this firm are on land behind the Midland Railway Hotel. They were cut out of the solid limestone rock and, as was usual at the time, were lined with gritstone blocks. While poor quality local coal was used to burn lime, gritstone was adequate for a lining, but it was unable to withstand the heat produced by the better quality coal brought into the area. It was Mr. James Mason Frith who, in about 1895, introduced the use of firebricks for the lining of lime kilns in this district.

Great Rocks

The Great Rocks Lime and Stone Company worked a quarry from about 1864 on the eastern side of Great Rocks Dale. Limestone had been quarried from here since at least 1849 when the land was referred to as Limekiln and Quarry Piece and was occupied by Thomas Mason. The blocked drawing tunnels of the battery of kilns belonging to Great Rocks Works can still be seen near to the railway line at Peak Forest Station. Stone was fed to them from the Long Siding Quarry as well as the Great Rocks Quarry. Six of the kilns were built in about 1869 by John Ashwell who was a contractor in the construction of the railway when the extension was made to the Midland line through Great Rocks Dale. A further three kilns were added in 1876 and two more in 1884. John Ashwell became Managing Director of the Great Rocks Lime and Stone Company.

Bold Venture

Peep O'Day, Bold Venture, Gaskells, United Alkali are the various names applied to the quarry on the western side of Great Rocks Dale. In 1849 the land was known as Kiln Piece and was occupied by Jonathan Garlick of "The Yard", an ancestor of Redfus and Ron Garlick who live in the village today. It seems likely that the kiln and quarry on the land were known first of all as Peep O'Day. The quarry was greatly extended after the building of the Midland Railway and by 1887 it was known as "The Bold Venture Lime Works". It was owned by Gaskell, Deacon and Company, a chemical works which Holbrook Gaskell had started at Widnes in 1855. By 1899 the quarry was in the possession of the United Alkali Company Limited which had been formed in 1890 by the merger of 41 concerns. Bold Venture Kilns were built on the opposite side of the road to the quarry and a small bridge was constructed to enable stone to be taken over the "Slack Road" to the top of the kilns. A track across the road from the kilns into the station yard enabled wagons to move lime to the railway and coal to the kilns. In about 1887 a crusher for the works was built near to the railway. Wagons ran to it from the quarry under the small bridge which carries the footpath known locally as "The Boardings".

Buxton Lime Firms Co. Ltd.

Towards the end of the 19th century the companies that had grown up were competing fiercely for the markets for their products. In 1891, on the initiative of H. A. Hubbersty of the Buxton Lime Company, many of the quarry owners agreed to come together to form the Buxton Lime Firms Company Limited. The local firms who joined were:-

The Great Rocks Lime and Stone Co. Ltd. Great Rocks and Long Siding

T. Beswick & Sons, Small Dale

E. Heathcott & Sons. Dove Holes

J. Wainwright, Peak Dale

Other firms involved in the merger were:-

The Old Buxton Lime Co. Ltd. Harpur Hill

The Buxton Lime Company, Grin and Whaley Bridge

The Buxton Central Lime and Stone Co. Ltd., Blackwell

East Buxton Lime Co., Millers Dale

Millers Dale and Oldham Lime Co., Millers Dale

Ashwood Dale Lime and Stone Co., Ashwood Dale

Richard Briggs & Sons, Dowlow

J. & M. Tymm, Marple

William Pitt Dixon, Bugsworth

The quarry owners who remained independent were:-

S. Bibbington, Dove Holes

Samuel Taylor, Dove Holes

Gaskell, Deacon & Co. Ltd. Bold Venture Works, Peak Dale

M. S. & L. Railway, Newline Quarry

The first registered offices of the B.L.F. Co. Ltd. were at Burbage, Buxton, where there were about 17 office staff and pigeons were used to maintain communications with the works. In 1896 new premises were purchased at The Quadrant, Buxton. These were in use until after the First World War when the Royal Exchange building became the Head Office of the Company.

The first directors of the Company included John Ashwell, James Beswick, Joseph Heathcott and Joseph Wainwright and in 1894 the control of the various works was delegated to a committee composed of those four directors. The Duchy quarry was opened by B.L.F. in 1899 on land owned by the Duchy of Lancaster and in 1900 South Works was opened on Great Rocks freehold land. Perseverance, with four kilns, was transferred to B.L.F. in 1909.

John Brunner and Ludwig Mond had started a chemical works in Cheshire in 1872. By the end of the First World War the dependence of Brunner Mond & Co. Ltd. upon supplies of limestone from the B.L.F. became so great that they bought a controlling interest in the firm. As a subsidiary of Brunner Mond the B.L.F. went into the Imperial Chemical Industries in 1926 when Brunner Mond, United Alkali. Nobel Industries and British Dyestuffs Corporation came together to form that company.


Men wishing to find work in the local quarrying industry came from many different parts of the country and gradually more houses were built to enable their families to settle in the area. The population of the parish of Wormhill rose from 410 in 861 to 1403 in 1901 and the number of houses from 84 to 285. This growth of population was mainly in those parts of the parish lying in or near Peak Dale. Many of the families came from local villages such as Chapel-en-le-Frith. Peak Forest and Dove and a large number came from the Staffordshire moorland villages. Others came from further afield, from places in Lancashire, Anglesey and Northern Ireland. A study of the Census Returns shows that few families migrated directly to the village. The Bray family arrived in the village in 1871 from Tideswell after residing at Chapel-en-le-Frith and nearby Sparrow Pit. The Garside family reached Upper End from Heywood in Lancashire after living for a time in Bugsworth and Sparrow Pit. The Mullins family are first recorded in the 1861 Census. They came from Galway via Higher Bebington, a sandstone quarrying village on the Wirral.

The second half of the 19th century saw the growth of the hamlets of Bibbington, Dove Holes Dale and Upper End.


Families were living in the five houses known as Victoria Cottages (close to Victory Quarry) by the time of the 1861 Census. A further five newly built houses were uninhabited. By 1871 the area had 15 houses and was known as Lower Bibbington. Most of the men who lived in the cottages were employed as limestone-getters, lime-pickers or burners, but one man was an engine driver, another a book-keeper and one other a grocer and corn dealer. In one of the cottages lived John Robert, a 33 year old quarryman and Wesleyan preacher, who had come from Holyhead where large stone quarries also existed. All the male members of the Chappell family worked in the quarrying industry. James was a foreman at a quarry, his 13 year old son, James, was a driver and 10 year old John was a lime-picker. Two more young labourers lived at Lower Bibbington in 1881. Thomas Derbyshire (aged 12) was a lime-burner labourer, half-time, at the kilns and Frank Mellor (also aged 12) was a labourer coal-filler, half-time.

Nineteen houses were built at Higher Bibbington between 1861 and 1871, the occupants in 1871 included 27 men and youths employed in the quarrying industry. Until 1907 the Methodists in Higher Bibbington met for worship in one of the cottages. When the congregation numbered 75, of which 40 were children, it was decided to erect an iron building to seat about 100 people. Mr. John Wilshaw of Peak House gave a plot of land measuring 415 square yards for the purpose of building the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and he asked that it be called "Longridge Lane Chapel". Work began in the spring of 1907 and was completed four months later, the opening ceremony taking place on the 3rd July. The total cost of the building and furnishings had been estimated at £ 120 but another £21 was added by the need to raise the building over a cellar. The gift of a pulpit came from James Salt, and Councillor George Slater gave a harmonium.

"Praying Billy" was the nickname given to William Bray who was a local quarryman and preacher. At "Longridge Lane" he pounded his sermons home with great thumps on the pulpit which often made the congregation jump. When he prayed he began at one end of the aisle and finished at the other. That his delivery was simple and direct is illustrated by the story that once, when preaching about the "Prodigal Son". Billy Bray commented. "Would my father have killed the fatted calf for me if I'd a done those wicked things? Not likely! You know what he'd a done: he'd have belted my arse!"

Local men who worked hard to maintain the Chapel included John Pheasey, Joseph Lomas and Joseph Tunnicliffe who was Superintendent for 50 years. Two Fairfield men who did much to encourage the work at Longridge Lane were Francis Wright and George Slater.

Dove Holes Dale

In 1861 in Dove Holes Dale Bottom there was just one cottage. It was sited on what is now the car park for the Midland Hotel and in it lived Edward Cartledge, a lime-burner. By this time, on the part of Wormhill Moor known as Sydney, Springmount Houses had been built and were occupied by four families. Joseph Beverley. a farmer, was living in Rock House by 1876.

The site of the Midland Railway Hotel was originally owned by Mr. Henry Kirke of Chapel-en-le-Frith, who died in 1841. His son sold the land in 1866 for £81 to a Mr. John Fox who was a brewer. On 18th June, 1867 John Fox borrowed £900 from Jonathan Smith of Slack Hall, who was granted all interest in the land, including a dwelling-house, offices and outbuildings, until repayment of the loan. Possibly that loan paid for the construction of the Midland Railway Hotel which was granted a licence on 14th September. 1867. The property changed hands several more times before the end of the century. On the 29th March, 1873 the land was sold to John Simpson Simpson (sic), a brewer. He sold the property to J. Beswick and Sons. Lime Merchants on the 3rd August. 1886 but retained the right to supply all "beer etc" to the tenant of the house for a period of 14 years. The following year, on 7th January, the Midland Railway Hotel was sold to a farmer named Joseph Stafford.

In the background from left to right this photograph shows the Midland Railway Hotel, a small wooden hut which was used as a butcher's shop, Great Rocks Wesleyan Chapel, Great Rocks Row, and Pine Cottages. Stables and workshops can be seen in front of Great Rocks Row while the building just left of centre is remembered as the office of Mr. Morrison who was manager of the Peak Forest quarry section of the B.L.F. The office of George Newton, manager of Bold Venture Works, is the building in right foreground. Note the wooden trucks near to the entrance of the station yard. It is possible to see that loads of limestone were moved on rails behind the Midland Hotel and discharged into railway trucks. The photograph dates from between 1899 when the Duchy Quarry was opened and 1906 when the schoolroom was added to the chapel.

Dove Holes Dale Bottom in 1871 consisted of the station and stationmaster's house, the Midland Railway Hotel and seven cottages. Joseph Woodward was the railway stationmaster and John Clayton the innkeeper and a joiner. The cottages were most likely those that once existed on each side of the Midland Railway Hotel. Two were occupied by railway workers. In another cottage Henry Brassington, a builder employing four masons and one labourer, lived with his wife, six children and a lodger. Solomon Wood, stonemason, had two men as boarders, one was employed as a railway signalman, the other as a mason's labourer.

It is interesting to compare this photograph with the previous one. Changes to the scene include an increase to the size of the Duchy Quarry, schoolroom built unto chapel and demolition of tall chimney.

Prince Row, near to Dove Holes Dale Quarry, appears to have been built by 1871 as reference is made in the Census Returns to nine houses in Dove Holes Dale. They accommodated 15 quarry workers and their families. In the same group of cottages lived Betty Middleton, who was a grocer and beer-house keeper. In 1881 one of the cottages was the home of a female who worked in the limestone industry. She was 18 year old Mary Garside, a lime-picker.

By 1881, Stephen Ellery was stationmaster at Peak Forest Station and James B. Marshall innkeeper of the Midland Railway Hotel. One of the five houses known as Carrington's Cottages was occupied by James Wilde, a 39 year old limestone quarry manager from Bolton in Lancashire. The inhabitants of Beswick's Cottages near to the Midland Hotel included Joseph Vernon, a grocer and provision dealer, John Clayton, a carpenter, and John Lomas, a blacksmith. Living in the 14 houses at Small Knowle End were the families of 23 men who worked in quarries or on the railway. Twenty-four year old Joseph Marrison was a clerk at a lime works, Joseph Edwards was a quarry manager who had come from Oswestry, Salop. Daniel C. Dewick, then 63 years of age, was a secretary at a lime works and John Frith was a grocer and quarryman. The two wooden houses called Pine Cottages had been constructed sometime between 1871 and 1881.

Dove Holes Dale Bottom, or Great Rocks, was also to have its own Wesleyan Chapel. At first the Methodists held their meetings in the waiting-room of the railway station but as their numbers grew they were encouraged by the Buxton Wesleyans to build a chapel. A site opposite the Midland Hotel was chosen but it proved difficult to obtain the piece of land from the estate of Thomas Arthur Hope of Kensington. The Chapel Department advised against proceeding with this transaction and intimated that if the Trust continued with it, official support would be withdrawn. As the Chapel was urgently needed, the Trustees, under the chairmanship of the Rev. W Malpas, decided to go ahead with their plans and. although the land was not legally secured, the building of the Chapel was begun. Daniel Dewick continued negotiations on behalf of the Trust and the land was finally bought for £20. Great Rocks (Wesleyan) Chapel was opened on 28th February. 1885. The total cost of the building was £555 and 1885 ended with an estimated debt of £200.

In 1906 the Trustees obtained a plot of land from the Buxton Lime Firms Company for £5. This enabled a schoolroom to be built on to the side of the Chapel. The opening ceremony on 24th October was performed by Mrs. Frith. This extension left a debt of £150 which was not cleared until 1920.

An early secretary of the Trust was Robert Wright, and Joseph Fox held the office from 1899 to 1922, apart from the years 1914 - 1918. John Evans became a Trustee of the Chapel in 1899 and later was a local preacher. Even though he lost a hand, he continued to work as a quarryman. His youngest daughter, Hannah, was a class leader who devoted a great deal of time to work for the Chapel. James Wilson was chapel steward for 39 years from 1884 to 1923. He was also a Sunday-school superintendent. His method of dealing with any child who disrupted the worship in the Chapel by talking was to throw a rolled up handkerchief on the back of the offending head. After the handkerchief was returned and an apology given, he would thrust a peppermint into the mouth of the child.

Upper End

Upper End, which was to become the largest area of permanent settlement in Peak Dale, did not experience significant growth until the 1870s. Agriculture was still the main occupation in the early 1860s. From six families in Upper End in 1861, eight men were involved in farming activities, two women were dairymaids and two men were lime-burners. Ten years later, when there were ten houses in Upper End which were inhabited by a total of 55 people, only two people were farmers. Six people were employed as quarrymen, three as labourers and two as horse-drivers. There was also a stone-mason, a joiner, a railway porter and a hat-maker.


View of Upper End from entrance to Meadow Farm.

By 1881 a further 19 houses had been built. These were Ebenezer Cottages, in 1876; Temperance House, in 1880; Long Row, between 1871 and 1881; and three houses at Spring Bank, in 1881. The population of Upper End had increased to 135, including nine lodgers, and most of the men worked in the quarries. Twenty-four men were limestone quarry workers, seven others were lime-pickers, three lime-burners, six general labourers and one a machine-clerk. One man was employed as a shunter on the Midland Railway, another as a railway porter. There were four agricultural labourers, a farmer who was also a stone-getter, a farmer who was also a grocer, two stonemasons and a mason's labourer. Three women were domestic servants, two, laundresses and one a dressmaker. Twenty-five year old Mary Moran was a licensed hawker. She had come with her family from Mayo, Ireland, to live in Upper End. Her father and two brothers were employed as limestone-getters in the local quarries.

Between 1881 and 1898 about 38 more houses were built in Upper End. These were Highfield Houses, in 1882; Lowfield Houses; 1 - 7 Memorial Place; 2 Memorial Place: Hartley House, in 1885; Springfield Villas, in 1889; South Villas (2 - 4 New Street), in 1897; and 16-22 Upper End Road.

Upper End Primitive Methodist Society made important contributions to the religious, educational and social needs of the community. It may have been formed during the 1860s. One lady who lives in the village today remembers that her husband's grandmother told of how she rode on horseback from Peak Forest to attend services in Upper End. She was able to ride across Great Rocks Dale as the railway had not been built.

For many years services were held in an old barn which had been converted for public worship. Then with the help of members of the London Road (Primitive) Methodist Chapel, Buxton, plans were made to build a chapel in Upper End. The stone-laying ceremony took place on 11th May, 1887 on the site of what had been an "old pit hole". The building cost £675. When it was opened on 30th March, 1881, tea was served to over 400 people in the schoolroom on the opposite side of the road.

Two early leaders of Methodism in Upper End were Solomon Wood and John Lomas. Solomon Wood was born in Milford near Belper in 1840. He came to Peak Dale when he was 24 and was one of the first members of the Primitive Methodist Society in Upper End. He became a Sunday-school teacher in 1874 and five years later he became superintendent, an office he held for 30 years without a break. Solomon was a local preacher of the Buxton circuit for 34 years, choirmaster at Upper End for over 30 years and at 70 years of age still served on the Rural District Council, the Board of Guardians and on the management of the council schools.


Interior of Primitive Methodist Chapel, Upper End. The organ was moved from its central position during the 1920s as it separated members of the choir which made conducting difficult. Those who led the work of the chapel in the early part of this century include Solomon Wood, John Lomas. William Jackson and Thomas Maycock. William Huckle was Trust Treasurer for 33 years and his son Wilfred Hackle held the same office for 26 years. Mr. John Joseph Howe and Miss Laura Morten devoted a great deal of time to the work of the chapel and on 29th May. 1912 were the first couple to he married in it. Mrs. Howe was a class leader for over 32 years.

A Total Abstinence Society and Band of Hope grew up alongside the Primitive Methodist Society in Upper End. Solomon Wood was one of the originators of the Upper End Blue Ribbon Army in about 1877. In 1879 the Upper End Total Abstinence Society had 32 members and the Band of Hope 60 members. Together they held a total of 33 meetings during the year and 29 adults signed the "Pledge". At this time Mr. J. Lomas was president of the society. Mr. Stiles was the secretary and supervised the working of the Band of Hope.

Upper End Band of Hope and Blue Ribbon Army. In the centre with white beard is Solomon Wood who died in October 1912 aged 71. Holding the left banner pole is his son Solomon Wood Junior, who was for many years one of the finest bass singers in Derbyshire. Joe Johnson holds the other banner pole and in the left foreground, holding a rope, is Miss Elizabeth Marv Jackson.

Temperance was encouraged through lectures, sermons, books and magazines. There were public debates and leisure time activities were organised to provide an alternative to the public house. On Good Friday 1879, Upper End Brass Band headed a procession of Band of Hope children and members of the Total Abstinence Society. The procession stopped to hear addresses from Solomon Wood at Bibbington, Mr. Jeffries in Dove Holes, Mr. R. Morton at Brick Row and Mr. Birch in Dove Holes Dale. Afterwards a public tea was provided in the schoolroom and about 280 people listened to a lecture by Mr. J. Birch of Derby, a converted negro singer and banjo player.

In 1879 an evening's entertainment of recitations, dialogues and singing was given by the Upper End Band of Hope. Music was provided by a harmonium played by Mr. Stiles and violins and double bass played by Mr J. Broadbent, Mr. Chapman and Mr. Lomas. The programme included "O Whisky. Beer and Brandy", sung by Mary Jane Morton. "Touch not the Wine Cup", recited by Hannah Garlick. "Father dear Father come home with me now", sung by Sarah Salt and "Landlord, Spare that Sot", recited by Rose Martin.


It appears that the first school in the village was the Primitive Methodist Day School which was held in a building opposite the site of Upper End Chapel. For some years John Lomas was schoolmaster. The 1881 Census Returns record 24 year old Josiah Grant from Milverton. Somerset, as the "Certificated Teacher", and his 19 year old sister, Annie P. Grant, as the school assistant.

The 1870 Education Act had made provision for School Boards to be set up with the power to establish elementary schools financed out of the rates and assisted by government grants. In 1881 correspondence passed between Daniel C. Dewick and the Education Department in Whitehall concerning the need for a new school in Upper End. A committee of seven members was formed; its task was to request the help of large landowners in the parish to finance the new building. Mr. Dewick estimated that there were over 100 children within a radius of one mile of the old school but it could only accommodate 70.

Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire states that the Board School was erected in 1882, at a cost of £ 1.400, for 200 children and that the average attendance was 110, but Buhner's Directory of Derbyshire (1895) states that it was built in 1884 at a cost of £1.200 with accommodation for 220. According to the school's Admission Register, the first child admitted to the school was John Jackson on the 5th Julv, 1886.

Peak Dale schoolchildren and master about 1898. William Cartledge second from
left, third row from front was born 11th May, 1885

Originally the building consisted of the present hall, kitchen, kitchen store, boys' cloakroom and toilet. A separate Infant Department was formed in September 1895 and an Infant School was erected and opened on Monday 27th February, 1899. By then the school had sufficient accommodation for 300 children and had an average attendance of 200.

Until 1891 a fee of up to 9d a week had to be paid by children who attended a Board School, although the very poor might be admitted free. Education was made compulsory for all children between the age of five and ten in 1880 and the leaving age was raised to 11 in 1893 and 12 in 1899.

Originally the building consisted of the present hall, kitchen, kitchen store, boys' cloakroom and toilet. A separate Infant Department was formed in September 1895 and an Infant School was erected and opened on Monday 27th February, 1899. By then the school had sufficient accommodation for 300 children and had an average attendance of 200.

Until 1891 a fee of up to 9d a week had to be paid by children who attended a Board School, although the very poor might be admitted free. Education was made compulsory for all children between the age of five and ten in 1880 and the leaving age was raised to 11 in 1893 and 12 in 1899.


People from Bibbington, Great Rocks and Upper End made use of the Board School and Holy Trinity Church which were sited together in a relatively isolated spot but within easy reach of all three hamlets.


Left to right - The schoolmaster's house Peak Dale School and Holy Trinity Church.

Holy Trinity Church

The church was built during 1885 and 1886 at a cost of £1,500, the official dedication taking place in November 1886. It was known as the New Mission Church, Upper End until 1893 when it became Holy Trinity Church, Peak Dale. It is a building of stone in a modern Gothic style, consisting of a chancel and nave and an unfinished western tower containing one bell. The interior, which seats 200 people, is plain with pitch pine pews and woodwork. One of the memorial stones is dedicated to the Reverend C. E. Bagshawe who founded the church. Before the organ was installed in 1904 music was provided by a harmonium. The parish room which is attached to the church was originally used as a club and reading room. In 1890 a burial ground of half an acre was granted by F. W. Bagshawe and this was consecrated by the Bishop of Southwell. The first burial took place on 19th September. 1891 and was that of Thomas Smith aged 28 who had died as a result of an accident in Great Rocks Quarry.


Taken in 1890 this photograph shows the New Mission Church. Upper End which became the Holy Trinity Church in 1893

The following extracts from the Preacher's Book provide glimpses of church services and annual events. Preacher's Book

1896 June 21

Service for men only

  July 12 Open air service suspended during hay harvest
  September 20 Small congregation on account of Harvest Festival at Great Rocks
1897 Feb 14 WONDERFUL attention (service was about gratitude)
  June 20 Bible classes for young men, a full church
  Aug 29 Volunteers present offertory for repair of belfry
1898 Aug 21 Parade Sunday, 120 children present
1900 May 20 Collection for Indian famine fund £1 10s 6d made up to £5
  July 24 Sunday School excursion to Darley Dale
1905 Aug 25 Hospital Sunday 133 present, offertory £1 1s
1914 May 24 Church parade of Territorial’s and reserves

Extracts from the Church Minute Book show how church matters were organised.



At the annual vestry meeting held in the Schoolroom the following resolution was proposed:

That this vestry appoints 4 additional sidesmen, two nominated by the vicar and two by the vestry, and these six gentlemen, (with the vicar and curate) to be known as the 'Church Council'. After an animated discussion the resolution was carried by five votes to four.

1904 April It was pointed out the advisability of having a plan of the cemetery. There was no record whatever of the graves.
  June The bellringer to receive £2 this year. Six months notice to be sent in Oct in that on and after Easter Sunday 1905 the fee for bellringing would be reduced to 30 shillings. Proposed that the organ blower receive £1 per year. Caretaker's salary £9 per annum from Easter 1904.
1906 May

Repair of harmonium. It was generally agreed that as the instrument had been in use 20 years and was second

hand to begin with, it had had its day and was hardly worth repairing.
1907 April

The following resolution affecting the Church Council was passed. That this meeting empower the Church Council vestry meeting to co-opt two lady members.

  May Agreed that, it be left to the discretion of the vicar, to charge non-parishioners a burial fee of £5.
1911 March There were six applicants for the post of organ blower.
1912 Aug There were five applicants for the post of bellringer.