Saturday, 20 February 2021

Steaming through Whaley Bridge

 Mark Lomas has kindly sent some photographs from his collection, of railway scenes around Whaley Bridge. Many of these pictures are from the early part of the 20th century when the railway was operated by the London, North Western Railway Company. 

Engine, crew and platelayers. 0-6-2 Locomotive 1590 was built in 1898 to the design of F Webb. It was withdrawn from service in June 1928

An arrival from Manchester. The unidentified engine is a "Precursor" class 4-4-2 locomotive built by the LNWR between 1906 and 1909. The last of this class was withdrawn in 1940.

 A Manchester bound train approaches. The full length women's dresses suggest that this photograph is from the first decade of the 20th century. 

The water tower was at the northern end of the station spanning a siding. The Locomotive a Webb designed "Coal Tank" was built in December 1881. It remained in service until 1955.

Water supply for the tank came from a small reservoir higher up the hillside. Not the brazier to prevent the water from freezing in frosty weather.

The water tower and, on the left, the small goods shed. Most goods traffic at WhaleyBridge was handled at the Shallcross Yard at Horwich End.

The station staff pose for the cameraman. 

 Whaley Bridge Station in the 1950s. The view from the signal box.

The view from the footbridge as a Buxton bound train arrives.

Posing by the weighbridge
A mixed goods and passenger train heads towards Buxton. The engine is either class G or G1 0-8-0 built at Crewe betweeen  1912 and 1918.

An early version of containerisation.

 A goods train heads south in 1959.

Manchester bound in 1959

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Along Industrial Lines.

 Mark Lomas has sent us some locomotive photographs from his collection. These engines were all used in the construction of Fernilee Reservoir during the 1930s and Kinder Reservoir between 1903 and 1911.  Fernilee was built by the Derbyshire Company,  Lehane McKenzie & Shand Ltd.  Kinder was built for Stockport Corporation by  Abram Kellet of Ealing, London.  

Contractor's locomotives frequently changed hands and locations or might be hired for a limited period.

Brownhill was one of the 3ft gauge locomotives that worked on the construction of Fernilee Reservoir. The locomotive was built in 1903 by The Hunslet Engine Company of Leeds.
                                                Only the nameplate has survived

 Locomotive "Kinder" at Fernilee. This 0-4-0 engine was built by
Orenstein & Koppel of Berlin in 1925

An almost identical engine was "Vyrnwy" built in 1930.  It was built specifically for reservoir constrution and was perhaps delivered new to Fernilee, It is named after another reservoir built 50 years earlier at Lake Vyrnwy in North Wales.

No 2 was built by Kerr Stuart & Co. Ltd of Stoke on Trent. This tiny engine was one of the "Wren"  class built in large numbers between 1902 and 1930.

                                        Two further views of No 2 at work.

For construction of Kinder Reservoir near Hayfield, a standard gauge railway was laid from Hayfield Station to the site of the dam, a distance of nearly 2 miles
/ 3 km.  The railway carried both building materials and workmen. The train of four small passenger coaches was known as "The Kinder Mail".


No 6 is a standard design of   Hudswell, Clarke & Company of Leeds who specialised in small industrial engines.

This is possibly the same locomotive hauling wagons loaded with stone.

A lot of activity at the dam site in 1910 with three locomotives visible. 

"The Kinder Mail" The workmen's train of five, 4-wheeled coaches.


Sunday, 14 February 2021

Our Local Railways

 Mark Lomas has sent us some photographs from his collection, featurning some local railway scenes. 


An unidentified loco arrives in 1938 from Buxton with a train of six coaches.

This photograph of Chapel-en-le-Frith South is undated.  The signage and style of dress would suggest early 20th century.

Locomotive 2382 passes Fairfield Halt on its journey to Manchester. The 2-6-4 Tank engine was built in 1932 by the L M S. The station, just outside of Buxton, only had one platform. It was built in 1907 to serve the nearby golf club. Trains arriving from Manchester would call to set down passengers but nobody was allowed  to board  the train. There was no service in the other direction. The station closed in 1939.

A train emerges from Cowburn Tunnel in 1953. The loco appers to be number 40672, an L M S 2P Class 4-4-0 built in 1932.  The tunnel takes the Hope Valley line under the moors between Chinley and Edale and is just over 2 miles, 3.3 km in length. The photograph appears to be at the eastern end of the tunnel, near to Barber Booth.
Chee Tor Tunnel near Millers Dale carried the Midland Main Line through Derbyshire's Wye Valley. The line operated between 1863 and 1967. The locomotive number 1274 had been built in 1881 at the Midland Railway's Derbys Works. It is seen here hauling a local train in 1937,  possibly the shuttle service between Buxton and Millers Dale. The locomotive was withdrawn in that same year.

On the same line as Chee Tor, but near to Peak Forest is Great Rocks. The railway here is still operational and serves various quarries to the east of Buton. The locomotive is probably a class 4F,hundreds of whch were built between 1911 and 1941.

Buxton once had four railway stations.  That at Higher Buxton was on the line to Ashbourne and had opened in 1894. It was never busy and closed in 1951 although passenger trains on this line continued to operate until 1954. The bridge in the background carries Clifton Road across the railway. Out of viewto the left was a goods yard.  The railway is still operational, carrying limestone traffic from Dowlow Quarries. The locomotive 6899, is one of 300 built by the LNWR from 1881.

Hayfield Station at the end of the branch from New Mills. The photograph is either from the 1950s or early 1960s, before the introduction of diesel trains. On the right, a locomotive waits outside the engine shed.  The railway closed in 1970.

Mark Lomas Photography

Mark's photography often features on Facebook, especially among local interest groups. Prints are available as below.  Mark also offers a wedding and special event photography service.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

God Save Us From These Raiding Priests

 The Tithe Maps and Tithe Apportionments of the mid nineteenth century provide us with a valuable research resource.  The data for Cheshire is available online:
Derbyshire maps, however, require a visit  to a local library where they can be viewed on microfiche.
These were among the earliest large scale maps of England and Wales to be surveyed. The Cheshire maps are at a scale of 6 chains to one inch, approximately 1:4750; or 8 chains to one inch 1:6340
The maps indicate individual plots of land marked with a reference number. The Tithe Apportionment shows the historic field name for each plot, its ownership and the name of its occupier. These were often different as many farmers were tenants. The acreage of each field is given, together with its usage. 

 Part of the Yeardsley cum Whaley Tithe Map of 1845 including the centre of Furness Vale. Onthe left hand side, towards the bottom of the map is Yeardsley Hall and its associated barns.

The Tithe system was established in the middle-ages and was a tax on agriculture in support of the church and clergy. One tenth of all produce, originally in kind would be paid each year. Many parishes had their own "tithe Barn" where these goods were collected and stored.

There were three kinds of tithe: Predial tithes were the produce of the land such as grain and vegetables. Mixed tithes were products of husbandry including lambs, calves, wool and milk. Personal tithes were the product of  labour such as fishing and milling.
Predial tithes were also known as "Great tithes"  and were payable to the rector. All others were known as "Small tithes" and were paid to the parish vicar.

                                            Hartpury Tithe Barn, Gloucestershire

At the dissolution of the monasteries in the mid 16th century, much of the church land passed into lay ownership. Rights to the "Great tithes" became personal property which could be traded. The parish vicar continued to be receive the "Small tithe" as before.

Payment in kind was gradually superceded by sums of cash. Initially fixed sums were charge although in later years these were replaced aby an annual assessment. This was formalised by the Tithe Act of 1836 which replaced tithes with a new "tithe rentcharge". The rate calculated was based upon the national price of corn.

The Tithe Apportionment was an outcome of the 1836 act and recorded, as we have seen, details of each plot of land and the amount of the rentcharge. This was a par value and varied annually. It details the tithe owner and a record of the circumstances of ownership.  Common land and  roadways, not subject to tithes was also recorded.

Subsequent acts in 1839, 1840, 1918 and 1925, gradually saw the replacement of tithes with redemption annuities. The Tithe Act of 1936 abolished all tithe rentcharges and replaced them with an annuity payable by the Government for 60 years. Finally, the scheme was wound up by the Finance Act of 1977.

Many parts of the country had seen protests against the tithe system.These were recorded from the early 19th century. Often dubbed "Tithe Wars", they reached an intensity in the inter-war years. At the end of World War One, many tenant farmers purchased their land, often at high prices under heavy mortgages. Resisting payment of the tithes resulted in bailiffs attempting to seize goods or even evict farmers. Resistance, often violent included a large crown in Kent burning an effigy of the Archbishop of Canterbury. A famous incident was the "battle of the ducks" at Westwell, Kent in 1934.  The Ecclesiastical Commissioners seized ducks and other livestock when a farmer refused to pay the tithe. A crowd of up to 100 young men liberated the birds and returned them to their "rightful pond". Embarassed and angered by the incident, the Church sent their agents under police protection to retrieve the birds and to gather additional bounty.

                                                           Tithe protestors

The name "Tithe" originates from the Old English teogo├ża, meaning "tenth".  The practice of giving one tenth of ones income to a religious body is an ancient tradition and predates Christianity. Jesus is said to have advocated it and the practice continues to this day although usually of a voluntary basis.

News In A Nutshell

 These news snippets appeared in the Witney Gazette in the  early 20th century

 Owing to the absence of the clergyman, a wedding party at Chapel-en-le-Frith, Furness Vale, had to return home and wait until next day. (The couple from Furness Vale were due to be married in Chapel-en-le-Frith)                                 

A suggestion has been made in Flintshire to pay teetotal police constables 2s 6d per week more than those who drink.

For striking a match on the panel of a Warrington tramway-car a man has been fines 5s and costs.

ut of the fifty six years of her life an invalid who has just died at Sheffield had been forty six years in bed.

Because she disapproved of her son's marriage, a Welshpool woman drowned herself on the wedding morning.

As the night was very cold a roadworks watchman at Edinburgh put his open fire inside his hut. He was killed by the fumes.

fter he had stolen and killed six fowls and two ducks, a thief at Derbys sat down in a corner of the poultry yard and was found there next morning asleep.

 Burglars who broke into the Casino at Nice have carried off a considerable sum in notes and gold, but several heavy bags of silver were left behind.

Teeth marks left in a pat of butter have led to the conviction of a burglar at Northumberland Assizes.

A terrier whose owner never appears, is a regular spectator of the matches of the Stroud Football Club. He watches the games from the granstand and disappears directly the whistle announces the end of the game.

A singular trial recently took place in Brescia. A regular practicing wizard at a place called Gattolongo pretended to cure maladies, to foretell future events, and to charm fowls from thieves with the assistance of Satan. A woman was actually driven to madness, and afterwards to death, by the machinations of this wizard, and consequently a physician cited him before the Courts of Brescia. He received only a slight sentence.

Prolonged singing took place at an Eisteddfod in a village in Montgomeryshire. The preoceedings lasted without interval for six hours during which three women fainted.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Pink Pills for Pale People


Vaccination is a burning question, and divides public opinion today as widely as ever. "Objectors" and others may like to know, says the "Hants and Sussex News" that at Hawthorne Cottage, The Stroud, near Petersfield, there lives a highly respectable and industrious widow, Mrs L. Tribe by name, lately moved thither from an adjoining parish, and who at one time felt that vaccination had an adverse influence uppon one of her sons, until, thanks to Dr. Williams' pink pills for pale people, the greatest of all blood medicines, saved him.  This boy, now sixteen years old, had been ill ever since he was vaccinated as an infant, andMrs Tribe said, "I blamed vaccination for it, and always shall. Ever since he was vaccinated, he has been ailing on and off. He has suffered from complaints of the chest and chiefly from chronic asthma. There was some internal trouble as well and at one time his  kidneys were in a dreaadful state. He was always a trouble, and I didn't feel free to go anywhere or do anything. The doctor told me he would never live to see fourteen, and only a twelve month ago said, 'it will take a lot to make a man of that boy'. But he is sixteen now and a lot better and has got as fat as can be."

 "How do you account for that?" we asked.
 "Well,she replied, a great improvement took place in him about the end of last March. Several people had said to me 'Why dont you try some of Dr Williams' pink pills for pale people and see what they would do?  They have saved thelives of many young men and women  in a decline'.  Ofcourse, we had tried very nearly everything that we could think of,and had had the best medical advice, but the boy did not get better, so I decided ass a last resort to give Dr Williams' pink pills a trial. After he had taken two or three boxes he said he began to feel better in himself and so continuedto take them regularly until he had so far recovered as to be able to take a situation.  I shall give him some of thepills now and again" added Mrs tribe, " and I hope in time he will be quite well and that I shall be able to get him into a club. They wouldn't pass him for a club before.Vaccination and re-vaccination are blamed for many diseases really due to nothing more than impoverishment of the blood and general debility. It is a wide precaution for all who have been vaccinated to give a little attention to the blood by using Dr Williams' pink pills for pale people (Dr Williams' medicine company, Holborn Viaduct, London. will send them post free for 2s 9d),and, indeed, sogreatly do they strengthen and fortify the system that they are really almost as great a protection as vaccination itself. They have cured a large number of cases of anaemia, consumption, decline, general weakness, spinal weakness, paralysis, coughs, bronchitis, bile and liver disorders: the pure rich blood they give is not only a help to make the most of the protection afforded by vaccination, but also a guarantee against any possible evils which otherwise might follow in the train of vaccination. It is folly to expect anaemia and serious diseases to be cured by purgatives, which gallop out of the system.

  The text of this article appeared in the Buxton Advertiser in December 1901

Friday, 22 January 2021

Starved to Death

 John Warren of Furness Vale kept a diary of local events. This sad story was recorded by him on January 21st 1860.

"1860 Saturday Night Jenuarey 21th Robert EDGE of Gite Clof was starved to Death betwen Buxton and Gite Clof and he Left A wife and 7 children"

 No doubt in modern parlance, he would be reported as having died from exposure.

The story was reported in several newspapers at the time.   Robert Edge was employed by Ellam and Jones at  Goyt's Clough Works. He had left home to purchase provisions and was last seen returning at about nine in the evening. The night was rough and stormy and he didn't reach home. A search was made the following day but it was not until Monday morning that his body was found near Burbage Edge Plantation. He had strayed some distance from the path to Goyt's Clough. The verdict at the inquest was that he "died from the inclemancy of the weather".   He left a wife and seven children who were said to be quite destitute.

Mr and Mrs Grimshaw of Errwood Hall started a collection with a donation of £4 to relieve their needs. John Downs of Goyt's Bridge raised many more contributions in Buxton.

Robert Edge was a native of Reap's Moor, near Longnor.

Val Stenson and Chris Wilman have researched Robert Edge and found that his death was registered at Chapel-en-le-Frith. Records show a Robert Edge, born in 1822/3 and married to Jane Twigg on  16th January 1844 at Earl Sterndale. Jane was 20 and the daughter of a blacksmith; Robert's father was a labourer.  There is no proof that this is Robert Edge who died in 1860 but given the locations, it does seem likely.

 There were few homes in Goyt's Clough; just four Mill worker's cottages and Goytsclough Farm. The farm was for many years occupied by a Lomas family so one of these cottages may have been the home of Robert Edge.  photograph courtesy of David Stirling

  The works was also known as "The Paint Mill"; where barytes were ground into a powder for use as a white pigment in the paint industry. 

 "Starving" is an ancient term from Scotland, Ireland and Northern England meaning very cold. It was certainly still in use in this area in Victorian times and quite often appeared in local newspapers.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Two's Country - Buxton and The Peak District

 Tim Grundy takes us on a lighthearted tour.


Kinder Scout: The people's Mountain

 This is a recording of a presentation to Buxton Field Club by John Beatty on 16th January 2021. We  are taken on a tour of Kinder and learn about the flora and fauna, the history of the mountain and access campaigns and recent conservation work.


Sunday, 10 January 2021

Derbyshire or Cheshire

 There have been a number of occasions when our local county boundaries have been changed. 


A major change, came about in 1936 when Furness Vale, most of Whaley Bridge and part of Newtown were transferred from Cheshire to Derbyshire. At the same time Mellor and |Ludworth joined with Cheshire, becoming Marple Urban District Council’s responsibility, . The original county boundary following the River Goyt had caused numerous administrative anomalies and duplications of offices. Furness Vale for instance was divided almost equally between two civil parishes, Disley and Yeardsley-cum-Whaley, whilst homes across the river were in another county altogether. Whaley Bridge, divided in two, was under the jurisdiction of two county councils, one urban district and two rural district councils as well as three parish councils. The town even had two police officers, responsible for opposite sides of the river. Each of the parishes levied different rates and even the pubs kept different hours.

The Local Government Act of 1972 brought about changes throughout the country. 1st April 1974 saw the creation of new Metropolitan Counties such as Greater Manchester and at the same time, many adjustments to the boundaries of Non Metropolitan Counties, particularly Cheshire. These were however, only administrative changes and the act did not seek to change or abolish the historic counties nor their traditional boundaries. The postal addresses of some towns, such as Marple still recognise the original county distinction. The Department of the Environment stated at the time “They are administrative areas and will not alter the traditional boundaries of counties, nor is it intended that the loyalties of people living in them will change”. Nearly 50 years later, those loyalties have naturally become challenged. Many residents of Stockport and Marple now look more towards Greater Manchester whilst others, remain firmly attached to their Cheshire roots. It is the traditional loyalty that is strictly correct yet it is understandable that many feel that they now belong to the Metropolis.

Less clear is the situation in Furness Vale and Whaley Bridge. There are still a number of people who were born in Cheshire yet local allegiances are firmly with Derbyshire. Technically though, it might well be claimed that we are still within the old county for the notices issued in 1936 referred only to administrative changes.

Nearby Disley remains in Cheshire. The proposal in 1972 intended that the village should be within Stockport Metropolitan Borough but the decision was reversed after local campaigning. The question was raised again twelve years ago when a local referendum was considered to decide whether Disley might transfer to Stockport or High Peak. The village remains however, very much part of East Cheshire.

In the 1900s, it was within the Parish of Stockport but was included in the Hayfield Poor Law Union in Derbyshire (from the outset), despite being separated from Derbyshire by the River Goyt. The Hayfield Poor Law Union came into existence in 1837 and between 1839 and 1841 built the Union Workhouse in Low Leighton. Interestingly, New Mills, Derbyshire, did not join the Hayfield Union until 1885.

Historically, local government had been based upon ecclesiastical parishes with the power to levy a rate for the relief of the poor established by an act of 1601. This replaced an earlier feudal system of government. The 19th century saw numerous reforms including the establishment of civil parishes in 1866. These followed common boundaries but population movement and growth led to many changes. 1894 saw the establishment of Rural and Urban District Councils which took over most of the powers of the civil parishes.

The map extracts below from and the Association of British Counties websites indicate the traditional pre-1936 boundaries. It is interesting to note, and perhaps a surprise that Cheshire has a boundary with Yorkshire.

The third map has been coloured to show the modern Cheshire and the former Derbyshire; the unshaded area being that including Furness Vale and Whaley Bridge,and which changed counties.