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The Common, Crich (Crich Common), before 1919


Crich Common, today known as The Common, is a road bordering Crich Common to the south of the village. Crich Parish Councillors decided to re-name Crich Common as Crich Common Road to meet the requirements of the Ordnance Survey Authorities in 1939[1]. Maps up to 1955 show the thoroughfare as Crich Common Road, but those of 1967 to the present day give the road name as The Common.

The houses in the picture are opposite Dial Farm, which is out of shot on the right, and are sited between New Road and Woodside. The field on the extreme left was later developed for housing but otherwise the houses look almost the same today, excluding improvements to the various homes and their gardens.

At 1.35 p.m. on 24 March 1903 properties at Crich Common were affected by the severe earthquake that was felt over the neighbouring district and the Derwent Valley. Mr. J. Burtt of Fritchley wrote that his own cottage "shook as though a steam roller were careering down the road". He reported that a vase and cups were upset at Crich Common and residents who were standing at their garden gate felt the shocks underneath their feet; others ran out of their houses. At Crich Post Office, just further along the road (in the Market Place), the noise was likened to the rattle of a motor car[2].

There is a gas lamp part way down the right hand side of the road on the postcard above; street gas lighting was later replaced by lights powered by electricity. The road before 1920 looks to have been very quiet and peaceful but by 1930 the vehicular traffic was said to be "increasing enormously". In February that year "the electric light on Crich Common road has not been so brilliant as usual, and perhaps the fogs may have been the cause of it. One electric standard at a dangerous bent [sic] on that road has not been lighted for several nights"[3]. Whether or not fog can be blamed for the street lights malfunction is debatable, but the comment raised the question of night time road safety on a road that was getting busier.

Crich and surrounding villages were facing a housing problem not long before the Second World War; in 1936 the local Council were in the midst of negotiating for building land at Crich Common. Many people were said to be opposed to the development but the parish council pointed out that there would only be 16 new houses and "the type of house to be erected would be much better than a good number in the parish"[4].

On 27 July 1937 Belper RDC made a number of property clearance orders that were about to be submitted to the Minister of Health in readiness for their demolition. The list included properties at Crich Common occupied by Mr. B. Wragg, Mr. G. Wragg, Mr. S. Wetton, Mr. H. Martin, Mr. H. Wetton. Mr. A. Stocks and Mr. B. H. Lawrance respectively[5]. The Minister of Health ordered an Inquiry which was to be held in Belper on 30th Nov 1937[6]. There it was announced that the owners of two houses on Crich Common had withdrawn their objection. The Inspector intimated that the Council was prepared to accept a scheme put forward on behalf of Job Hopkinson, who owned three of the houses, with the proviso that the work was to be carried out within six months. Mr. Hopkinson's representative said the owner was prepared to demolish one property and convert the other two into one house[7]. The Inquiry learned that affected residents were to be re-housed and a Derby architect submitted a reconstruction scheme by Mrs. Brown, who owned two of the houses houses at Crich Common. She hoped to convert her two houses into one[8]. As the properties in this picture are still standing they would have been unaffected by the clearances.




Crich is mentioned in the following on-site transcripts:

Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811, Parishes C, which has more about the village.
Kelly's 1891 Directory, Crich


The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire - Charters, Documents & Deeds : Places C - E, mentions Crich.
The Wolley Manuscripts, Matlock, Places Index

"Crich Common". D.S.B. Series. Posted 12 Aug 1920 at Crich. One of a number of cards sent by a daughter to her mother.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References:

[1] "Ripley and Heanor News and Ilkeston Division Free Press", 6 January 1939.

[2] "Gloucester Citizen", 25 March 1903. The Earthquake (letter from Mr. J. Burtt of Fritchley, dated 24 Mar 1903).

[3] "Derbyshire Times", 1 February 1930. Gleanings in the Peak and West Derbyshire.

[4] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 5 May 1936. Crich Housing Problems.

[5] "Derbyshire Times", 13 August 1937. Belper Rural District Council. Housing Act 1936.

[6] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 19 November 1937. Clearance Orders 1, 2 and 3.

[7] "ibid.," 30 November 1937. Council's Slum Clearance.

[7] "ibid.," 1 December 1937. 58 Houses Inspected. Demolition Scheme of Belper R.D.C. Objections at Inquiry.
Council's proposals was raised in most cases, and two schemes of reconstruction were accepted, one at Kirk Langley and one at Crich Common. In four cases objections submitted by the owners were withdrawn at the inquiry.



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