Derwent Village – Peak District

Brick made by Skyers Spring. Found in the remains of Derwent Village. Peak District
Brick made by Skyers Spring. Found in the remains of Derwent Village. Peak District

Here is a little bit of social industrial history.

I found this brick sat in the remains of the flooded Peak District village of Derwent, it was sat in the mud on what would have been the main street. The brick was made at Skyers Spring brickworks in Hoyland, Barnsley around 1880 and found its way to the village for some use or other. It is an engineering brick, not used for adornment, so probably formed some infrastructure of the village.

It probably travelled over via Penistone, either across Strines along the Mortimer Road and then hang a right at Moscar Cross, up the bridleway to Whinstone Lee Tor and then down via Grindle Barn to the village. Or alternatively via Cut Gate from Langsett over the top and into the Upper Derwent Valley. The brickworks were run by James Smith and had connections to the Earls Fitzwilliam, who still have extensive shooting moors along the Strines Road. There was extensive trade between the two areas which accounts for the routes across the tops. It’s nice to see artifacts around that were from local sources.

 

Derwent Village School – Peak District

 

I took a few moments on a recent walk through Derwent village in the Peak District National Park to have a look around the old school porch.

The education act of 1870 required all children between the ages of 5 and 12 to receive an education, and this meant that a new school was needed at Derwent to teach in excess of 50 children. The Duke of Norfolk who owned the land and was at the time making extensive alterations to the hall was advised by his managers that failure to provide a school would not be well received in the local community and worse a school governed by local officials would be established to comply with the act. The Dukes main concern was the position of the school which needed to be unseen from the house. A site further down the valley was an alternative but the owner would not relinquish it without a transaction of money. Hence the school and its present position.

Derwent Hall and school were redesigned by Joseph Aloysius Hansom the designer of the Hansom Cab out of Kinder Scout stone with ironwork by local blacksmith. The beautiful porch entrance has a Minton tiled floor, leaded side windows and stone benches. It is a delight to view.

Dark Peak Walk No.12

Derwent Village – Peak District

George VI Lamp Box, Derwent Village, Peak District
George VI Lamp Box, Derwent Village, Peak District

This is a Post Office lamp box. I never knew it had a name until I started to research Derwent Village. It is called a lamp box because it was designed to be attached to lamp posts. You can also find them attached to telegraph poles as this one is in the village of Derwent in the Peak District National Park. Some were also placed into walls, in fact I used to have one in the bathroom of my old house.

Along this section of the walk you can find lots of historical heritage. The old school is just on the opposite side of the road, it was a catholic school and still has the Virgin Mary statute above the doorway. A little further along the road is the old gateway to Derwent Hall and going the other way is the gateway to the old vicarage.

If you look carefully along the roadside you can spot benchmarks placed there by Ordnance Survey surveyors in the 1852 and 1896 surveys.

The Post Office lamp box appears on Walk No.12 in Dark Peak Walks published by Cicerone Press

Changing landscapes

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Derwent Village, Upper Derwent Valley, Peak District National Park.  Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland     http://maps.nls.uk/index.html

A changing landscape has always fascinated me. I think the interest comes when I find out things are there that I never even knew about. I have a boyish attraction to the man made artefacts that were once of use and even important but now are long forgotten.

Benchmarks are a particular delight when I find one. A friend and fellow Ranger sent me a picture of one this week and it prompted me to look for more, so I got out my old maps and started to look.

The map above is from a survey in 1880 and it shows the now submerged village of Derwent. You can still walk around the village when the waters or low, discerning streets and boundary walls. Some of the village still exists, the school for instance, the one at the top, not in the village, I had not realised there were two. The gates to the Vicarage can be seen but the building along with Derwent Hall and the church have long gone. Grindle Barn is still there although the path up now sets off from a different place.

What is interesting are the OS benchmarks. There is one by the road between the upper school building and Wellhead at a height of 712 feet and 4 inches. Something to go and seek out next time I am there.