Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Lady Pit. A Local Coal Mine

Lady Pit, one of our local collieries closed in 1903. It was operated by the Beard and Bugsworth Colliery Company  and was one of several mines owned by  L & E Hall. This mine, also known as Beard Colliery was opened in 1816 – 1818 and was the largest in the vicinity of Furness Vale.  There were numerous shafts: Air Pit; Chain Pit; Furnace Pit, Lady Pit; Blind Pit, Deans Piece Pit and Bullbower Pit.

A feature of the mine was the Jowhole Tunnel which was dug in 1853. This ran in a straight, almost westerly direction to a yard off of Marsh Lane near Gow Hole Farm. Here was a wharf where coal could be loaded by tipplers on to road vehicles. A horse drawn tramway ran through the tunnel and this opened into a number of sidings at Gow Hole. The site is now Nick Rowleys Yard.

The opening of the railway between Sheffield and Manchester allowed high quality, inexpensive coal to be transported across the Pennines and our local mines could not stand up to the competition.

Lady Pit was sited at the point where Dolly Lane meets Lady Pit Road. The buildings have been demolished and the land restored to farming.  The colliery was served by a short railway line which extended from Gowhole sidings, crossing the field on a low embankment which may still be seen in the photograph below.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Just published on Kindle -our latest electronic book -  "Furness Vale - An Illustrated History". Comprising over 110 photographs from the History Society archives many of which have nor been previously published. This pictorial history of a Derbyshire village is divided into 60 sections each with its own narrative. Approximately 150 pages.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Don't miss this superb video "Celebrating Ardwick 1930s -1960s" just released by the Ardwick Green Histories Project. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5hvfrzeMug  You may even recognise one of our members towards the end.

Friday, 4 December 2015

The Things They Made.

We often associate local industry of the past with the textile trade or perhaps coal mining. A much wider and sometimes unusual range of products was also made in this locality. Here are just a few:

Bed Springs.
              The Britannia Mill at Bugsworth was built as a cotton spinning mill.  In 1903 the Britannia Wire Works Company took over the business manufacturing springs for upholstery and mattresses as well as fro the railway and aviation industries.  It closed in 1969.

Soap and Leather
                In the early 1860’s a hatters leather manufacturer was established in Ringstones Clough by John Scholes and John Handford. The business continued for more than 20 years and at one time employed 21 people. The site was

Thursday, 12 November 2015

David Frith

Sadly we heard of the death yesterday of David Frith after a serious illness. 
David was a regular guest speaker at Furness Vale History Society and last visited us two months ago when he gave a talk about Kinder Scout.  David had a wide range of interests which enabled him to talk knowledgably on many topics. He was certainly one of our most popular speakers and will be very much missed.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Tin Bath

Two "Black Fives" crossing Brierley Park Bridge in Buxworth on Sunday Morning.  This was a steam hauled excursion train from Preston to Sheffield.

Photo courtesy of Jack Hardman

Friday, 30 October 2015

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Another Look At Our Archives

One of the earliest schools in Furness Vale. The farm was part of Mr Saxby's estate which also included the Printworks. Mr Saxby allowed a building to be used as a church and school. 

R. E. Knowles Furness Vale Brickworks. One of the famous "beehive" kilns can be seen between the white office building and the double chimneys.

Furness Vale Post Office before it was extended 

An accident on the A6

The road beneath the railway at Bridgemont regularly floods.

The Australian Bungalows, "Diglee Road"

An illustration of the proposed St John's Church.  The tower was never completed.

Even in 1960, the A6 was a busy road.

The Posting House at Stoneheads. Here was an adjacent coaching inn which closed in 1805 when the new turnpike road opened through Furness Vale.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

A Look Back at Furness Vale

Some photographs recently added to our archives.

Two photographs showing the remains of Lady Pit which stood at the corner of Ladypit Road and Dolly Lane. The mine, owned by the Beard and Bugsworth Mining Company closed in 1903. All that is visible today is a large ventilation shaft and earthworks which carried a railway siding to the colliery.

Jackson's butchers shop at the corner of Station Road. Note the sign advertising the Station Hotel on the gable end.

Opposite the village school. The archway housed a joiner's shop where coffins lined the walls! Next door had been a confectioner's and bakers. Alongside was for a long time, the doctor's surgery and almost out of view is a shop which many will remember, Mrs Nash's off licence.

The Cornstore.  A familiar building which is now the Fish and Chip shop. Pictured here when it was owned by Scowcroft's grocers next door. At other times it has served as a cycle shop and Beswick's office. Below ran the tramway which linked Furness Clough Colliery with the canal.

The busy A6.  The Soldier Dick is still a Gartsides Brewery house so the photo is probably pre-1967 when that company became part of Bass.  Scowcrofts grocers is seen on the right and next door Bennett's ironmongers. Just beyond is the blind in front of the wool shop.

Riddick's builders yard, Charlesworth Road.

Only the bench is still at this location.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

The Tin Bath

A steam hauled excursion train "The Tin Bath" is due to pass through our valley between New Mills and Buxworth on Sunday 1st November. Hauled by locomotives London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMSR) Black 5s No. 45407 and No. 44871, the train will be making a journey between Preston and Sheffield. The timings are below.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Building of Fernilee Reservoir.

Two films from the North West Film Archive have been added to the "Manchester and Derbyshire" film scenes page. Please use the button at the top of this page or click this link: http://furnesshistory.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page_17.html .
 These films  show the building of Fernilee Reservoir in the 1930's. Here are some stills.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Growing up at Garswood

Garswood, 7 Diglee Road, Furness Vale

Garswood is one of the three "Australian Bungalows" on Diglee Road. This story, by a previous resident, at present un-named, is an account of the house where she was born. The introductory, and perhaps closing pages are missing.  The author of this article is believed to be Olive Wallwork. The introductory paragraph refers to her parents.

Later they moved further into the country, to Whaley Bridge, renting Lochaber, a large stone-built semi-detached house on Start Lane at the top of Whaley Lane where they had an Irish terrier called Kerry and a white cat. They also took on a live-in-maid, Sarah Kelly, who came from Hensingham near Whitehaven. She had previously been a laundry maid at St Bees School, walking daily across the cliff tops from Hensingham to the school together with other domestic workers, many of whom became her lifelong friends Sarah had left St Bees ‘to go into service’ a few years before she joined my parents at Lochaber, though I don’t know what families she was with. I think they must have been fairly wealthy, because she was a stickler for doing things correctly and for good manners. In those days people who came to stay still tipped the maid when they left !  her knowledge of the right way to lay a table and fold table napkins, take in the letters and visiting cards on a silver tray, cook and serve meals and other niceties was second to none. She was an extremely good cook and baked marvellous cakes, lemon meringue pies, bread, made jams and marmalade and so on. These talents were particularly impressive given the rationing and general restrictions of the war years.

The house where I was born, Garswood, Furness Vale.

About 1933, the year before I was born my parents decided that Whaley Lane was too steep to push a pram up and therefore moved to Furness. Sarah came too.  Yeardsley Lane, which leads up from the village to Diglee Road was still a hill, but shorter!  Garswood overlooked fields and farmland.
There were three bungalows built by the Knowles-Barton family who lived higher up Diglee Road at a house called Heatherby. The Knowles-Boltons were the gentry of the village

Neighbours in Bugsworth

Bugsworth Basin Heritage Trust has taken over the work of the former Inland Waterways Protection Society. Formed in 1958 this organisation has been instrumental in the restoration and management of this once busy inland port.  The Heritage Trust has a brand new website full of historical information as well as a guide to the canal basin.  http://www.bugsworthbasin.org/
The Protection Society published a quarterly newsletter containing articles about the restoration of Bugsworth as well as news and historical features of the canal system. An archive of newsletters between 2001 and 2012 is available online: http://old.bugsworthbasin.org/pages/news.htm

Don't miss our December meeting when Ian Edgar tells the story of the restoration of Bugsworth Basin.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015


Keith Warrender, the speaker at our October meeting brought along a selection of books of which he is both author and publisher. Keith also publishes titles of local and historical interest by other authors. Below are just a few of the available editions offered by mail order.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

A Village Secret

The white pipeline markers around our village are a familiar sight. They indicate a system serving many parts of the country which started out as a closely guarded secret.

Britain’s oil pipelines were planned in 1936 when it was realised that supplies to the RAF might be vulnerable in time of war . The first was completed in 1938 and linked the ports at Avonmouth and Liverpool which at the time were the principal oil importation docks.  It would allow delivery of oil by road and rail to continue should one of the terminals be out of action.

With the outbreak of war in 1939 it was decided to build a number of underground oil storage facilities linked directly to the pipeline which would then extend eastwards to supply the key airfields in East Anglia, Lincolnshire, Essex, Kent and the south Midlands . Work was carried out at dead of night lest the Luftwaffe should see what was going on.
It was re-named The Government Pipelines and Storage System (GPSS) and in anticipation of the invasion of France was extended further with additional storage depots. RAF and USAF bases could now be fully supplied as could the English Channel pipeline, Operation Pluto.

With the end of the war, ownership passed to the Oil and Pipelines Agency (OPA), part of the Ministry of Defence and whilst remaining secret, private use was encouraged. The pipeline was extended as a result, to serve each British oil refinery as well as major airports and that passing through Furness Vale, supplies Manchester Airport. Following fuel protests in the year 2000 and blockages of refineries, it was decided by the M O D to further extend the network.

March 2015 saw the system privatised when it was sold for £82 million to the Spanish company Compañía Logística de Hidrocarburos (CLH)

Until the sale, the RAF flew the entire 2400 km length of the pipeline each day to check for damage.
There are only two reported incidents, one at Patchway near Bristol in 1998 and another in 2000 when some workmen severed the pipe at Yeardsley Lane. The event prompted a live TV news broadcast while residents were evacuated from their homes.

Here is one of the few places where the pipeline is exposed as it crosses Furness Clough. There is another white marker at the top of the bank.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Brierley Green

A digitally coloured  photograph of Brierley Green Congregational Chapel, Bugsworth

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Monday, 24 August 2015

A Dabber's Nantwich

Not many miles from here is the historic Cheshire town of Nantwich. Those who know the town, or would like to learn more will find the "Dabber's" website full of interesting information. Click on the "Old Nantwich" pictures for a fascinating look back at the past.  You will find the web site at http://www.dabbersnantwich.me.uk/

This is Beam Street, Nantwich about 1910

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Chapel-en-le-Frith's Bus Station

The Chapel-en-le-Frith factory of Ferodo opened in 1902,  The Company took its name from the founder Herbert Frood who in 1897 had used his garden shed in Combs to experiment in brake materials. The first factory opened in Gorton in 1901 but trade quickly expanded and the Sovereign and Howden Mills in Chapel were rented. As Ferodo grew it employed large numbers of people, many of whom travelled from neighbouring towns and villages. Most of these workers travelled by bus. In 1931 special works services were provided by the North Western bus company as the regular bus services could no longer cope with demand. A works bus station was built in 1937. It  was only in use for 90 minutes each day, at the start and end of each working shift. In 1954, a new, larger bus station was built, capable of handling 24 buses at a time.  In the morning peak,  28 vehicles were needed with services from as far afield as Stockport, Buxton, Hayfield and many other localities.  There were 50 departures each day with the peak period being at 5.30 pm when 25 buses left within a 10 minute period carrying  1100 passengers. 

The photos are from the archives of “Commercial Motor”

A North Western Bristol passes the Old Hall Inn at Whitehough en route for Horwich End.