Delving Along the Derwent

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Delving Along the Derwent: A history of 200 quarries and the people that worked them

Delving along the Derwent, tracks the stories of about 200 quarries between Derby, Cromford, Matlock, Wirksworth and Brassington. Starting during the Stone Age, in forensic detail, the account comes right up to the present day industry. It traces their origins, the families and companies who worked them and the methods they used.

No other book can tell stories such as how Florence Nightingale settled industrial quarrels, how Spitfire plans were kept safe, about Stephenson’s plan to use his unsalable coal which created a whole new industry and how we probably each use local stone a hundred times a day. Even now, this small area, largely unseen, still manages to produce about two and a half million tonnes of stone every year.

A fascinating book for anyone interested in industrial heritage, its impact on social history and local communities as well as the underlying geology that makes the area such an important part of the UK quarrying industry.

‘Delving’ began as as one of 60 projects that were part of DerwentWise, a scheme administered by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and supported initially by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The ‘Delvers’ consisted of a team of about a dozen talented and pasisonate individuals who were recruited and coordinated by Ian Thomas, one of the founders of the National Stone Centre.

In 2019, the national organisation for library professionals (CILIP) judged ‘Delving along the Derwent’to be the UKs best local heritage publication and was awarded the Alan Ball Award.

The Institute of Quarrying and National Stone Centre have now merged. Together we will work to inspire people to engage with the origin, the industry and the history of stone. Visit our website to learn more.