|Derwent's Packhorse Bridge and Derwent Hall
Above and below are two illustrations showing the narrow packhorse
bridge which used to span the River Derwent close to Derwent
Hall. Firth described the stone bridge as "a
beautiful two arched bridge ... flagged with stones like
a pavement and much too narrow to admit the passage of any
He observed that the triangular recesses allowed those travelling
on foot to step into them to avoid the packhorses. In the
centre of the south parapet was the base of a cross or a
the bridge was believed to have been built in the seventeenth
although both Firth and
it as ancient.
Derwent Hall (shown below), "a fine and picturesque
old gable building", was built in 1672 by Henry Balguy.
It was then owned by the Newdigates until it was bought by
the Duke of Norfolk. The property was said to have lovely
The Derwent Valley Water Board purchased the house and its
land from Viscount Fitzalan of Derwent in 1927 and
it was used as a Youth Hostel Association holiday centre
from 1932 until 1943.
In 1934 the Derwent Valley Water Board met at Nottingham
to discuss constructing the great Ladybower Dam. Before
the First World War it had been estimated that the project
£750,000 but by 1934 the cost was believed to be half
as much again. It was also estimated that the Dam would take
10 years to construct.
A year later "The Times" reported that the
Water Board had decided to complete the programme of works
they had begun in 1899, with the third instalment which included
the construction of a third dam at Ladybower and construction
Derwent Hall's fate was sealed. The historic Hall, together
with the villages of Ashopton and Derwent, would disappear
beneath the water.
In 1939 members of Derby Photographic Society visited the
Hall to take pictures for the County photographic survey. The
photographs were considered to be of considerable importance
as, within a few days of the Society members visit, work was
to begin on felling trees and dismantling buildings to make
way for the new giant reservoir.
King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, visited Bamford
to open the third and final phase of the Ladybower scheme which
would supply water to Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield
in 1945. When
it was completely filled it would hold 6,300,000,000 gallons
of water. The new dam had taken the estimated 10 years to build
with work on the project continuing throughout the war,
despite problems. The villages of Ashopton and Derwent were
submerged by 1945, with only the tower of the church built
in 1867 showing where Derwent village had been.
The fine oak panelling and some other things were saved from
the Hall. Following
a public appeal to save the packhorse bridge
before the war it was dismantled, the stones were numbered
and then they were stored. In 1959 the bridge, by then scheduled
as an ancient monument, was rebuilt to span the Derbyshire
- Yorkshire boundary at Slippery Stones; the work was estimated
to have cost about £3,000.
1. "Pack Horse Bridge, near Derwent Hall", by Nelly
Erichsen. From: Firth, J. B. (1908) "Highways
and Byways in Derbyshire" MacMillan & Co., London
2 & 3. Pen and ink sketches from: Thomas Linthwaite Tudor
(1926), "The High Peak to Sherwood, The hills and dales of
old Mercia", published London by Robert Scott. With drawings
by Fred Adcock and others.
All images in the collection of, provided by and © Ann
Andrews. Intended for personal use only
 Firth, J. B. (1908) "Highways
and Byways in Derbyshire", MacMillan & Co.,
 Cox, John Charles, (1915, 2nd edition,
revised), "Derbyshire" - Illustrated by J.
Charles Wall, Methuen & Co., London.
 "The Times", 25
Sep, 1945. The Ladybower Reservoir.
Daily Telegraph", 24 January
1934. Fate of villages in the balance. Completion of Derwent
 "The Times", 29 Apr, 1935. More Water.
 "Derby Daily Telegraph",
12 June 1939. Visit to Derwent Hall.
 "The Times", 24 Aug, 1959. Rebuilding
Of Derwent Bridge Completed
1891 Directory of Derbyshire: Derwent-Woodlands, Derbyshire
Two external links, showing the Packhorse Bridge. They will
open in a new tab or window:
Stones Pack Horse Bridge
ride around the Derwent reservoirs - Ladybower There is a slide show
of the Derwent Reservoirs