|Hathersage, Hillside Houses, 1930s
In the early years of the nineteenth century there were about
a hundred houses in the village and,
although steel wire and needles were made, "farming interests
Brass buttons, needles, hackles, gills, pins, cast steel wire
and millstones for were all manufactured in Hathersage.
By the 1850s there were five mills producing needles and in
1854 there were riots and confusion caused by misunderstandings
between the needle manufacturers and their men.
Fifteen years later the needle trade wasn't brisk, the
hackle pin business was depressed but there was still
a reasonable demand for the umbrellas that were also made in
the village. The millstone quarries were in full work, though,
with a very good demand generally for millstones.
By the mid 1880s trade had declined and the the population
decreased by 25%;
needle manufacturing and wire drawing disappeared
Perhaps the village's most famous visitor was Charlotte Bronte
who stayed at Hathersage with her friend Ellen Nussey in 1845
whilst Ellen's brother Henry, the then vicar, was on his honeymoon. "Jane
Eyre", written by Charlotte a few years later, contains
descriptions of Hathersage - Morton in the novel - and the
spectacular moorland scenery. After Jane had fled from Thornfield
Hall the coach set her down at Whitcross "no town, not
even a hamlet; it is but a stone pillar set up where four roads
meet. ... There are great moors behind and on each hand of
me; there are waved of mountains beyond the deep valley at
my feet". In the village shop Jane asked what the chief
trade of the place was: "Some were farm labourers; a good
deal worked at Oliver's needle-factory and the foundry".
She eventually stumbled upon the home of St. John E[yre] Rivers
and his two sisters Diana and Mary, Moor House in the novel
but believed to be Moorseats in Hathersage.
Even the surname of the heroine, Eyre, would have been suggested
to Charlotte by this visit as members of the Eyre family are
commemorated in the church (see previous
"Hathersage. The hillside Houses". Sepia image from Mee,
who acknowledges the work of his Art Editor, Sidney Tranter, but
is not specific about who provided which picture, although contributors
included the National Trust and Valentine and Sons.
In the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
 Rhodes, Ebenezer (1824) "Peak
Scenery" pub. London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown,
and Green, Paternoster Row.
 The industries are listed in various
trade directories, with all of those items being made in the
Times and Chesterfield Herald", 29 July 1854.
 "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield
Herald", 27 March 1869.
 "Derbyshire Times and
Chesterfield Herald", 30 July 1884. An article about
the Dore and Chinley Railway said that "Hathersage was
once a flourishing place, with population of about 1,200".
It blamed the lack of a railway for the downturn in trade.
 From 1895, for a period of around
3 years, Mr. Stead's wire drawing factory at Victoria Mills,
which had run on water and steam power was advertised for sale.
It finally closed in 1910, following an explosion. Needle Manufacturing
was mentioned last in Kelly's Directory of 1899. Robert Cook
was still manufacturing needles in 1897,
but a quick look at the 1891 census showed that few were employed
in the industry.
 Ellen Nussey was a school friend
of Charlotte Bronte, and was visiting Charlotte and her father
Patrick at Haworth Parsonage at the tome of the 1851 census.
 Bronte, Charlotte (1847), "Jane
Eyre", Penguin English Library Edition, 1966. Chapter
 Mee, Arthur (ed.) (1937) "Derbyshire:
The Peak Country",The King's England Series, Hodder
and Stoughton Limited, London.
Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire
Directory of Derbyshire, 1891, Hathersage
The excellent Peakland
Heritage website has more information about nineteenth century
Hathersage industries (this is an external link, so will open
in a new window).