Cromford waterwheel


near Matlock, Derbyshire

Derbyshire index            

Canal ViewThe Canal
Cromford had a canal that linked the village to the Erewash Canal and hence to the rest of the world. Although the waterway is no longer connected it is being maintained by a body of local enthusiasts who hope to link it up once again some time in the future. The canal route runs for about 14 miles from Cromford to Langley Mill but it is not all in water. It has some particularly important aspects including Butterley Tunnel, one of the longest canal tunnels in the country. Another important landmark is the nearby Lea Wood Pumphouse. At the Canal Wharf, very close to Arkwright’s original mill, can be seen a collection of old canal buildings including a canopied dock and the remains of a wooden crane. The original cobbled wharf paths are still in situ as well as a canal carrier’s warehouse.  The dock was operated by Nathaniel Wheatcroft and his family, who lived at Via Gellia House, in Cromford village.

No description of Cromford would be complete without a mention of its inns such as the Boat Inn on Scarthin, which plays host to a large beer festival at Easter. The Greyhound Hotel gets described in other parts of this site for its historic importance and the Bell Inn deserves a mention because of its proximity to the Landmark Trust property in North Street.

Scarthin Books
Scarthin BooksJust a little further up the road from the Boat is Scarthin Books, a friendly but decidedly odd place full of new and second-hand books in a fairly haphazard arrangement that needs time to unravel. It is certainly possible in there to believe Terry Pratchett’s theory of L-space. (If you don’t know it then you should go and read some Pratchett to find out about it. It explains why second-hand bookshops are always bigger on the inside than they are on the outside!) The sculpture outside the shop has "bookshop" worked into it in a number of languages, including Japanese, and the cascade of items falling through it includes several items that the owner is renowned for losing - such as spectacles and keys.

The Mill Wheel
Close by the Market Square is a waterwheel but it has nothing to do with Arkwright or any of his mills. The premises were used to grind locally mined barytes, which was used to colour paint, and the machinery was driven by the overshot wheel that is still visible today. The water flows from a former corn mill pond over the top of the wheel and into Cromford (or Greyhound) Pond. The wheel dates from the mid 19th century. While it still turns, it no longer drives any machinery.

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