Picture Gallery> Derbyshire Pictures Index> This page
The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Derbyshire
A selection of photographs, prints and postcards. Some have personal or family connections
 
Crich Market Place, before 1919


In many respects this scene is typical of many villages of the day: a village green with a trough where the horses could drink and be tied up whilst their riders did other things. The photograph for this card was possibly taken during the First World War. If you look carefully at the "signpost" on the left, just behind the small child, you will notice that it was a street light although there was no lamp. This was probably because a blackout was in place to help prevent attacks by Zeppelins. But it might have simply been vandalised.

Crich Post Office used to be in the left hand side of the two semi-detached houses on the left of the picture, enlarged below. In 1891 John Higton ran it and he was still there in 1901, aged 70, as the Sub Postmaster[1]. He was also a butcher. The building behind the stocks is Archway House. Next is a tall, fairly narrow curved archway. To the right is a row of four cottages - Archway Cottages - with Thornedge next door and then the Hollies, formerly a bank, on the far right[2]. The building then had two doors at the front and there was a signboard over the central doorway.

In 1911 a widow named Sarah Hannah Frost was living with 4 children in a private house in the Market Place. She was still there in 1939. Some of the heads of the household from that time have been extracted from the 1939 Register[3]:

The Hollies: Thos Hutchinson, Chauffeur to a medical doctor and family
Thornedge: Arthur Gaunt, Boiler Fireman at the Wireworks 22
Archway Cottages (sch79): Frederick Harrison a Joiners labourer
Archway Cottages (sch80): Sarah Frost, a widow
Archway Cottages (sch81) Vacant
Archway Cottages (sch82): Walter Perry a galvaniser at the wire mills (Walter Perry was with his parents, Charles and Eliza + siblings in 1911).



The Post Office was here.
In 1928 George Brumwell, ran the post office as well as a
stationers (Kelly's Directory)
 
The curved arch was part of a "tramway", carrying
four-wheeled cars or waggons filled with limestone from
Cliff Quarry, that went down to the Ambergate works.
A second, shorter, tramway connected Hilt's Quarry
to Ambergate and passed through Fritchley.
If you look carefully at the top image you should be
able to see the embankment continues behind
Archway House and the Post Office block.


George Stephenson purchased a considerable amount of land near Crich Stand in 1840; he wanted to quarry the mountain limestone, and it was estimated that he would take about 2,000 tons along the line into Yorkshire each week[4]. He needed a means of getting the limestone down to the railway lines in the valley below Crich. The tramways, mentioned above, were constructed to carry the stone; these lines were called tramways because there was no engine to push or pull the load. Willis and Parker describe the stone as "being lowered by gravity using a brake drum at the top of the incline[5]". Perhaps the empty cars were then pulled back up the track by horses at first, just as they were on the High Peak Railway.

Unfortunately, there were some who tried to hitch rides. In 1846, for example, a married woman called Sarah Hatfield fell off on the incline going down to Ambergate as empty waggons were going uphill. She was quite badly injured but was recovering when incident was reported in the paper[6]. The description shows that by this time two tracks were in use, probably using a pulley system.


Yorkshire Gazette 26 April 1845
Reports of the Board of Trade on ...[Railway] Lines.
Midland Railway. Ambergate to Crich.
"The Ambergate and Crich branch, 2 miles and 25 chains, appears to be intended for mineral traffic only, the severity of the gradients being such as to unfit it for locomotive traction. It will form an extension of an existing tramway, having gradients of 1 in 6, 1 in 5½, 1 in 4 and 1 in 3½. The proposed branch has gradients of 1 in 27, and 1 in 13. The object appears to be the connexion [sic] of some limekilns with the limestone quarries.
We are of the opinion that .... there are no public reasons which should lead us to recommend to parliament to withhold its sanction from .... branches of an existing and important railway".


In November 1932 Derbyshire County Council agreed that Crich Market Place was to "be adopted as a highway repairable by the inhabitants"[7]. The following year complaints were made at a Parish Council meeting about motor vehicles parking all night in the Market Place without lights. "As many as five cars and lorries had been parked there all night without lights". Although it wasn't a problem during daytime, the Council resolved to ask the police to see that parking after 10 p.m. was stopped. Presumably there wasn't adequate street lighting in 1933[8]!

Whilst of the buildings shown on the postcard are all still the market place today and so is the old stone water trough, the grassed area in the middle has been covered in tarmac and the large archway that is almost in the centre of the photo has gone. So has the embankment to its right. The arch was still shown on the 1974 1:2,500 OS map but the tracks disappeared from maps between 1955 and 1967. A telephone kiosk is now behind the trough which rather spoils the view.




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

"Market Place, Crich". D.S.B. Series. Posted 11 Oct 1919 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] John Higton was at the Post Office in Kelly's 1891 Directory, Crich | Kelly's 1899 Directory and the 1901 census. In 1899 and 1901 he was sub-postmaster.

[2] Property names, etc., from various old maps.

[3] The 1939 Register and census returns are available on Find My Past.

[4] "Sheffield Independent", 4 July 1840. The newspaper report added that "Near the Ambergate station an extensive range of lime kilns and coke ovens, which we understand belong to Mr. Stephenson, are in process of erection".

[5] Willis, Lynn and Parker, Harry (1999) "Images Of England: Peak District Mining and Quarrying", pub. Tempus Publishing Limited, Gloucester  ISBN 0-7524-1710-X.

[6] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 6 November 1846. Frightful accident.
Sarah Hatfield was riding on one of the limestone waggons belonging to Messrs George Stephenson and Co. She wasn't the first to have had such an accident.

[7] "Derbyshire Times", 5 November 1932.

[8] "Belper News", 8 December 1933. Night Parking of Cars. Parish Council to Stop Practice at Crich.



Derbyshire Pictures Index
Next page
Previous page
Also see
Our Genealogy
Images of
Matlock & Matlock Bath


Crich Common



Crich Stand
(and quarry)