Late nineteenth century
advertisement, from Kelly's Directory
"In the early years of the sixteenth century the quarry at 'Brokewalcliff'
or 'Brodewalcliff' in Matlock manor was let on lease at an annual
rent of 20d".
Stone has been quarried in the district, and used for building and
walling, for hundreds of years.
Before the development of the Britain's
canal system and the railway network farmers would
have their own quarries. Production was small in scale and
where the underlying, or outcrop of, rock was limestone local
farmers would also have had their own lime kiln.
So when John Smedley was building Riber Castle, for example,
he used stone from a quarry on
Riber Hill just a short distance to the north east of his castle.
The large blocks he needed did not have to travel far.
Demand for local stone increased when it became easier to
transport the raw materials further afield.
George Stendall Drabble's advertisement,
above, is an excellent example of the many uses for Matlock
and District's stone, which was used in country wide building
brother, Mr. Thomas Cooper Drabble, owned quarries at Bentley
Brook, Farley, Cromford and Matlock Moor though his business
amalgamated with the former Darley Dale stone quarry (the
Darley Dale Stone Company) in 1897. They became the Stancliffe
Estates Company Limited, chaired by F. C. Arkwright of Willersley,
with Mr. Drabble and Mr. J. H. Dawson as managing directors.
Stone from Bentley Brook Quarries was used to build the depot
for Matlock's Cable Tramway on the corner of Rutland Street
and Wellington Street the following year.
Gritstone outcrop, Jackson Tor, Matlock Bank.
Jackson Tor was a former quarry and the exposed stone in
the photograph has clearly been cut at some stage. There
are other disused quarry sites close by, including Bank
Quarry to the west (hence the road called Quarry Bank off
Smedley Street West)
The main gritstone quarries in 1903, when Benjamin Bryan was writing
were at Cuckoostone, on Matlock Moor, and in Lumsdale. The stone
from these quarries was used for making millstones and grindstones
and for local buildings.
There were sawing sheds in the station yard at Matlock
and large blocks of gritstone from several local quarries were
taken there to be sawn. George Boden quarried his stone at Tansley
but cut it at Matlock Bridge Station. The "Masonry
Work" George Boden advertised below included headstones for
the memorials in St Giles Churchyard. Examination of the lists
of known monumental masons for St. Giles compiled by the Derbyshire
Ancestral Research Group shows
that George Boden, the Boden Brothers and the Dakin family supplied
the largest proportion of headstones in the local churchyard.
Limestone has a variety of uses. For example, broken limestone
was crushed and used for road surfaces. An example of the use of
broken limestone in the Matlocks was given in 1885 when the Highway
Committee of Matlock's Local Board discussed road surfaces in Starkholmes.
Mr. Fisher was reported as saying that stone from "Mr. Statham's
quarry at Matlock Town could be had on the payment of 2d per load,
and with a stone breaker they would save money".
Limestone was used as a flux in blast furnaces when smelting iron;
lime-burning also took place in the district. The stone was also
used as railway ballast, for making building mortar, cement and
ground for agricultural use.
There were several limestone quarries in and around
the town quarry was on Dale Road opposite the footbridge
across the river at the beginning of the twentieth century and
limestone was quarried here; it became known as the Harvey
Dale quarry (see right). Next door to it, behind the Boat
House Hotel, was Holt Quarry.
In 1930 Messrs. J. Greatorex and sons, the limestone quarry
owners and tarmacadam manufacturers of Harvey Dale Quarries,
bought the Dale Road quarries, having already purchased Holt
Quarry. This gave them a monopoly, with
sole quarrying rights from the Dale to Holt Lane.
In late 1935 the Harvey Dale Quarries were under the
ownership of the newly formed Derbyshire Stone Ltd. who
became big employers in the district.
At different times over the years there must have been other
Parish Quarries. In 1848 there were five; Lumshill, the Wishing
stone area, Jackson Tor, Harvey Dale and a piece above Starkholmes.
At the time, Holt, accessed via the lane by the Rock Inn,
was owned by Wm Smith & Brother
and occupied by Wm Webster.
Cawdor quarry, to the north-west of Matlock and beside the
railway line, was also quarried for limestone. Early maps
show quarrying activity on either side of Bakewell Road.
In 1854 the quarry, part of the Megdale estate, was owned
by George Nuttall and leased by his friends Sir Joseph Paxton
and Job Knowles. The quarry was subsequently left to Knowles,
subject to conditions of the lease and with the proviso that
Knowles should not "injure destroy or interfere with
the occupation road leading to Megdale".
Interestingly, at the end of the nineteenth century the quarry
was considerably bigger and was much closer to the Megdale
property. Megdale was to survive a further fifty or so years
before it finally disappeared from the Masson hillside. It
was still shown on maps in the 1950s but had gone from the
landscape before 1967.
The house had been used as offices by Derbyshire Stone in
the 1940s when the accounts department was based there. A
wooden staircase lead down the quarry face to the canteen
and other offices below.
The Matlock Bridge Limestone Company at Cawdor had been
taken over by 1886 and in 1891 William Edward Constable & Co
were listed as tar paving contractors there; their stone
was used in asphalt macadam. Constable
became Constable, Hart & Co. and their quarrying activities
at Cawdor eventually became part of Derbyshire Stone.
At the beginning of the twentieth century Josiah Smart took "the
field between the station and the Snitterton road, which
overlies the limestone rock".
Smart advertised as a tar paving contractor at Matlock; he
also owned Station Quarry, close to the railway
tunnel entrance at Matlock Bath.
By 1922 the Station Quarry in Matlock had expanded considerably
and by the maps of 1967 Cawdor and Station quarry were almost
joined, extending almost to the edge of Snitterton Road.
The two quarries were operating as one concern by 1931.
By the 1970s the Hall Dale quarry, slightly higher up on
the Masson hillside between Snitterton Road and Salter Lane,
had also become large. It had been opened by Derbyshire Stone
in the 1950s but is no longer quarried.
Other names listed as quarry owners in Matlock Directories
over the years include John William Wildgoose of Matlock
and Thomas Twyford, who lived in Matlock Bath.
Derbyshire Fluor Spar Co. Ltd. were mineral merchants
at High Tor works in Matlock Dale 1932.
Quarrying for fluor spar also took place in the Upperwood
area of Matlock Bath and in what had been the grounds of
the original Matlock Bath Pavilion. However,
fluor spar was mainly mined and lead was found amongst
the fluor spar rock.
Whilst providing both employment and building materials for
local people, it was the existence of the large quarries
that prevented Matlock from being included in the Peak District
Many will recall the warning whistle followed
by the thump of the blast, the dust that seemed to cover
everywhere and the large lorries with their massive tyres
thundering along the narrow local roads.
The conflict between need and nature is highlighted in the
poem by the English poet John Betjeman, a visitor to nearby
Chatsworth and a friend of the Duke's family, in his poem
entitled 'Matlock Bath'
. On 31 March, 1999 a newspaper article by Linus
Gregoriadis was published in The Independent which
also drew attention to conservation matters and used the
extract below from Betjeman's poem.
From "Matlock Bath"
by John Betjeman
How long before the pleasant acres
Of intersecting Lovers' Walks
Are rolled across by limestone breakers,
Whole woodlands snapp'd like cabbage stalks?
O God, our help in ages past,
How long will Speedwell Cavern last?
||Matlock, The Quarries
See Greatorex's "Coffee Pot" at Harvey Dale Quarry
Mountain Limestone Quarry, about 1900
Bank and Bridge - from near the Quarry, 1907
Boat House Hotel & River, early 1900s
Boat House Hotel & River, about
Boat House Hotel & Quarry
||Constable and Smart had their own sidings at Matlock
||Matlock Station: Smart's Quarry, 1928
of Derbyshire Stone, about 1945
The huge Cawdor quarry is no longer operational
and the site has now been put to other uses.
There's another photograph showing the extent of the quarry,
and showing the impact on the landscape, at the bottom of
There's a story behind the poem. In the
early part of the twentieth century George Drabble owned
the saw mills near Matlock Bath station and Josiah Smart
owned the quarry. At some stage it was proposed to extend
the quarry near the station. If the plan had been carried
out a whole section of hillside would have been removed and
the Lover's Walks beside the River Derwent would have disappeared.
Matlock Bath's quarries also included the former Long Tor
Quarry on Dale Road (see right). One of Matlock's longest
living residents, Thomas Green of the Rock Inn, had worked
as the Manager at Long Tor for Mr. S J Claye of Long Eaton
Ironworks. In 1909, aged 97, he said spoke of the blasting
ruining the beauty of the rock, although the quarrying provided
The Shaw brothers, who were involved with the Dale Road and
Holt quarry in Matlock,
owned Long Tor quarry at the beginning of the twentieth century
but could not make it a going concern
It was later run by first George Crowther and then by Job
There were two basalt quarries in the Dale opposite High
Tor, between the High Tor Guest House and the houses surrounding
A quarry on Temple Road, shown as no longer in use on very
early OS maps, also existed at some stage and stone was also
removed from behind what is now North Parade. The quarry
face is especially obvious behind the former Derwent Terrace
Tufa stone from Matlock Bath's tufa shelf has also been
quarried over the years and used for both garden rockeries
and for building (see right).
By modern standards quarrying was extremely hazardous and until
better safety measures were introduced loss of life and serious
injury were commonplace. There were a large number of accidents
and fatalities at several Matlock quarries in the first three
decades of the twentieth century. For example, in 1900 a quarryman
named Adam Smedley laid a charge of explosive for blasting purposes
at Cawdor but it did not fire. He rather unwisely went to see
what had happened when it exploded, hitting him fully in the
face and he was lucky not to lose his sight.
A few months later there were two accidents at Cawdor; J. Marsden
of Bonsall received hand injuries and _ Charlesworth broke his
leg. In 1908 a
serious explosion at Smarts caused another Adam Smedley, who
was unmarried, to lose part of one hand; he also sustained terrible
leg injuries whilst William Land, a widower, badly injured his
Fire was another risk and in 1913 a huge oil tank at Constable
Hart's tar-making works in the Cawdor quarry caught fire.
Within a few minutes flames and volumes of dense black smoke filled
the sky and the valley between Matlock and Darley Dale was polluted
by oil fumes. Fortunately there were no explosions and no injuries
Joseph Statham of Riber, who was 50, was working at the stone-crushing
plant at Cawdor in 1915 when he became entangled in the machinery,
which threw him into the running shaft and on to the roof. He was
Ernest Carline (46), of Scarthin, was struck on the head by a piece
of falling stone at a quarry in Matlock Dale in 1926. He died at
Whitworth, leaving a widow and a large family.
Fred Flint, a single young man, of Cross Green, Darley Dale was
working on the rock face in 1928 when he he lost his footing and
fell 16 feet into the bottom of the quarry. The men would not wear
the harnesses at that time as they got in the way.
However, possibly the worst accident was in 1929 when Joseph Taylor (53)
of Wensley and Herbert Holmes (28) were killed within twelve hours
of each other. Joseph Taylor was killed when 20,000 gallons of
tar exploded and he was caught in the flames. Herbert Holmes fell
into a crusher, having been hit by a 15 cwt. [hundredweight] piece
of stone that became dislodged.
Derby Daily Telegraph,
Tuesday 17 December 1929
MATLOCK QUARRIES QUERY
Is Limestone Dust Harmful to Health ?
Complaints that the noise of the machinery in the limestone
quarries and the amount of smoke and dirt from them were
detrimental to the value of the property and menace to
the town in its position as a centre for the treatment
invalids, was made in a letter from Matlock and District
Publicity Asscociation, read at a meeting of Matlock's
Urban District Council last night. ...
Mr. C. W. L. Cross moved that the Association be informed
that the council were capable of managing their own business.
High Medical opinion, he said, has been given that limestone
dust was in no way injurious to health and possibly it
did the invalids some good.
Mr. White, seconding, remarked that
the industrial undertakings were of vital necessity
and they would have been in a sorry plight without them
this winter. One could not have industry without a certain
amount of dirt.
Mr. Baxter said that the idea that limestone dust was
harmful to health was dead years ago. It was too valuable
today to waste.
The resolution was carried.
[Note: it is accepted today
that you can get silicosis from limestone dust but to
be fair to these Councillors they would not have known
that in 1929, whatever you think of the rather high-handed
manner with which they dealt with the complaint.]
This panoramic view of Masson provides a sense scale and shows just
how extensive the quarries were.
The photograph was taken from Farley Hillside on a misty June morning
on 23 June 2001.
There was a recruitment drive for
school leavers in the aftermath of the Second World War and
in 1946 an Industrial Exhibition was held at the Grand Pavilion
Matlock Bath. Derbyshire Stone was amongst the exhibitors
hoping to attract youngsters to join the company. Below is
a page from the exhibition catalogue.
about the exhibition
In 1947 the men from Matlock's quarries, who were unable
to work because of the terrible conditions, were amongst
those helping to clear the snow.
Bath: Winter Scenes, 1947
An external site well worth visiting is:
Places - Cawdor Quarry Complex, Matlock, Jan 2007. Photographs
of the quarry prior to re-development
Peak District Mines Historical Society
Peak District Mining Museum
History: The Bulletin of the Peak District Mines Historical
Society. Volume 14, No. 2, Winter 1999
Jack Beck and Masson Hill, a tribute by Neville Gregory
To view the PDF file, you may need to download the free Adobe
Images of Cawdor Quarry supplied by and Copyright © Paul
Derbyshire Stone advertisement part of Jane Leslie's personal collection
and photographed especially for this web site by Andy Andrews.
Other Images Copyright © Ann Andrews.
Information written and researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
hyperlinks lead to more on site information):
 "The Victoria History of the
English Counties. A History of Derbyshire Vol. I.",
Constable & Co., Pall Mall, London (1907) : (Ed. 1970) University
of London. ISBN 0 7129 0447 6, p. 365.
Also see The Wolley Manuscripts, Matlock -
a major collection of pre 1828 documents - for more information.
 Willis, Lynn and Parker, Harry (1999) "Images
Of England: Peak District Mining and Quarrying", pub.
Tempus Publishing Limited, Gloucester ISBN 0-7524-1710-X.
 Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History
of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London by Bemrose
& Sons, Limited
 "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield
Herald", 2 October 1897.
Times and Chesterfield Herald",
22 October 1898. See: Bank Road & the Steep-Gradient
 See Matlock & Matlock
Bath's MIs, Monumental Masons - St. Giles' Church, compiled
by Derbyshire Ancestral Research Group (there are also Contact
details for the group).
 See Boden and Dakin on Letterheads
of Local Businesses, 1900-1949 (1) and T. Shaw & Son on Letterheads
of Local Businesses, 1900-1949 (5)
 "The Derby Mercury",
14 January, 1885.
 Colin Goodwyn has most kindly checked
the Annual Returns of Quarries under the --- Act for 1925 and 1931.
The 1925 Return shows: -
i. Shaw, Alfred, Dale Road Quarries, operating at Dale Road (9
people). By 1931 Alfred Shaw was no longer in Matlock, but had
interests in a Limestone Works at Wirksworth and quarry sites at
Coal Hills, Pensend, Steeplehouse and, at Brassington, Royston
ii. Shaw, Wm B., Holt Cottage, Matlock operating at Holt, Dale
Road (15 people).
iii. Job Greatorex & Son of Harvey Dale Quarries were
operating Harvey Dale and also Long Tor quarries.
The 1931 Return shows: -
Job Greatorex & Son were operating Dale Road (5 people) and
Holt Quarry (9 people).
So like Cawdor joined Station quarry, Harvey Dale joined Holt.
 "Derby Daily Telegraph",
3 November 1930. Matlock quarry merger. Greatorex's had already
bought Holt quarry from Mr. W. B. Shaw when they merged with the
Dale quarries of Mr. Alfred Shaw.
 "Bath Chronicle and Weekly
Gazette", 28 December 1935. Derbyshire Stone, Limited,
had just been formed to take over all or part of the businesses
of Constable Hart and Co., Ltd., and John Hadfield & Sons
Ltd., and not less than 90% of the issued shares of Greatorex
and Son, Ltd., the Hartington Quarries Ltd., and the Hopton
Wood Stone Firms. Also "The Times", 12 Jun, 1936. Notice of shares,
Derbyshire Stone Limited.
 Information from various Ordnance
Survey Maps. Although the Megdale property disappeared from its
original position on the side of Masson hillside, the name has
been preserved and there is a road in Matlock still bearing the
 PCC Will of George Nuttall of Matlock
(Prob 11/2234), dated 15 Sep 1854. Nuttall left "the stone quarry
situate in the Parish of Matlock ... in the occupation of Sir Joseph
Paxton and Job Knowles of Matlock ... to Job Knowles to work the
quarry". Nuttall died in 1856 and his Will caused
much controversy, resulting in a very prolonged court case. See The
Great Matlock Will Case, the Official Report.
 With thanks to Harry Salt, who worked
there. He thought Megdale was a beautiful house.
 Smart advertised in Kelly's
Directory 1908 | Kelly's Directory 1912 | Kelly's
Directory 1916 Matlock) | Kelly's
Directory 1916 Matlock Bath) and in 1922, 1925 and 1928.
 Colin Goodwyn has provided the business
addresses from the Annual Returns of Quarries under the [Quarries?]
Act for 1925 and 1931 for the following:
Smart, Josiah & Son, Great Northern House, 345 Gray's Inn Road,
WC1, who operated Station Quarry, Matlock in 1925 but were not
listed in the 1931 Return.
Constable, Hart & Co Ltd, of Broadway Buildings,
Broadway, Westminster SW1, who operated Cawdor Quarry, Matlock Bridge
in 1925, also operated Station Quarry in 1931. So like Harvey Dale
joined Holt, Station joined Cawdor.
 Neither Wildgoose nor Twyford were
linked to Matlock quarries in checked directories, but their
occupation was given as quarry owner. Twyford's home and office
were listed in Matlock Bath in 1925 and in 1931, but his descendants
are known to have been involved with quarrying at or near Birchover.
John William Wildgoose advertised in 1928 and 1932 directories,
and his quarry was on Matlock Moor.
 Peak Mining & Minerals Co Limited,
with a spar mine at Upperwood Mine, advertised in Kelly's Directory,
 John Betjeman's Collected Poems,
John Murray (Publishers) Ltd., 50 Albermarle Street, London, WIX
4BD © John Betjeman 1968, 1962, 1970. To read the poem in full
go to the Poetry section
 The Independent: 31 March, Wednesday
1999, p.9 : 'Betjeman's 'pleasant acres' in danger' by Linus
 "Derby Daily Telegraph",
19 June 1909.
 The Shaw brothers ran into financial
difficulties and were listed in "The London
Gazette" in 1915. Job Greatorex was operating Long Tor
Quarry in the 1925 Annual Returns of Quarries under the --- Act.
Crowther advertised in Kelly's Directory, 1928, Matlock
Bath section, as the owner of the Tor Quarry. His name is in neither
the 1922 nor the 1925 directory and this is the only directory
entry for him.
 Tufa is mentioned in "Bemroses'
Guide" | "Gem
of the Peak" | "Holmes
Times and Chesterfield Herald", 7 July 1900. Adam Smedley's
accident was on 2 July.
 "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield
Herald", 19 Jan 1901.
 "Derby Daily Telegraph",
16 September 1908. The accident had occurred on the previous day.
A shot had missed fire during the morning.
 "Derby Daily Telegraph", 5
 "Derby Daily Telegraph",
27 November 1915.
 "Derby Daily Telegraph", 30
 "Derby Daily Telegraph", 19
 "Derby Daily Telegraph",
15 January 1929.
 "Kelly's Directory of of
the Counties of Derby, Notts, Leicester and Rutland" (May,
1891) pub. London. There are online transcripts - see 19th
Kelly's Directory of Bonsall,
1891 refer to Drabble's advert
Kelly's Directory of Tansley,
1891 includes George Boden's one line advertisement.
 "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire",
 "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire",