This wonderful picture of Job Greatorex's Harvey Dale quarry and the
advertisement below were amongst the last of the images the late
Kenneth Smith gave me from his extensive collection. We dated the
rare photograph to around 1900, though it could have been taken
marginally earlier than that. The sign for J. Greatorex & Son
sign can be seen opposite the iron footbridge over the Derwent
and the building where the limestone was crushed was just to its
left. There are several piles of crushed limestone in front of
Until 1895 Greatorex & Son used gunpowder for blasting the
rock but they then applied for a license to store gelignite, a
new explosive, which, they said, was twice as powerful as gunpowder.
In 1903 there were two extensive rock falls at the quarry. One
gentleman, a Mr Taylor (a lighting contractor) had a narrow escape
when one of the small pieces of rock flew across the road and
pierced his hat.
Job Greatorex died on 20 May 1905, aged 76, leaving the business
in the hands of his youngest son Alfred.
The Great Masson Cavern was shown by Alfred Job
Greatorex up until at least 1912.
In 1914 Messrs J Greatorex & Son charged 2s[hillings]. per
ton for broken limestone. When they were approached
by the Urban District Council after the war (1920) to supply the
same material, they tendered for 7s. a ton for broken limestone.
This caused the Matlock Profiteering Tribunal to prosecute them despite
Greatorex & Son withdrawing their quotation. At the end of 1918
prices had been fixed under State control but the increase in the
cost of explosives, oil and wages in the following year had been
enormous. William Shaw, of the adjoining Holt Quarry, was already
supplying the Council with the same material for 5s. a ton, although
when he was asked about the price he said that he made no profit
from the contract; when asked why he responded that it was
"better to have half a loaf than none at all". Mr Hadfield,
who was secretary of the Matlock branch of the Union of General Workers
at the time, stated that the rate for time workers in the quarries
was 1s. 3d. hour, and for piece workers 9½d.
a ton, but that in Greatorex's quarry the wages varied from 1s. to
1s. 2d. per hour, and 9d. a ton. The Tribunal decided that 5s 6d
a ton was a reasonable price so decided to prosecute.
J. Greatorex and Son made two important purchases in 1930, one in
January and the other in November. They first bought Thomas Shaw's
quarry and later bought the one belonging to Alfred Shaw, giving
them three quarries next door to each other. At the same time as
they made their second purchase they completed an agreement on the
Platts Estate, giving them 18½ acres
of quarrying land behind their existing holdings.
During the 1930s the Council received several complaints about
the quarry and had to write to the owners. The first was concerned
with the dust created; Captain Harry Douglas observed that the trees
nearby looking as if there had been in a snowstorm! The second, made
by property owners nearby, was about fumes emanating from their works.
J. Greatorex and Son were still trading under the name in 1941,
but had become part of Derbyshire Stone at the end of 1935.
Alfred Job Greatorex of Commonwood, Cliff-road died on 10 Nov 1943.