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Chinley and Buxworth

Taken from 'The Derbyshire Village Book' published by the Derbyshire

Federation of Women's Institutes & Countryside Books 1991. ISBN 1 85306 1336


Until the making of the Peak Forest Canal and Tramway at Buxworth in 1806, and the coming of the railway through Chinley in 1867, both villages were only isolated areas with a few scattered farmsteads except for Buxworth Hall and Whitehough Old Hall. There were small farms, quarrying of stone on Cracken Edge, and a little coal mining. Chinley was well wooded as there is record of hundreds of trees being felled and sold in 1843. Buxworth used to be called Buggesworth and until recently Bugsworth. The natives did not like that, so it was changed to Buxworth.  [NB There has recently been a referendum to change the name back to Bugsworth but the proposal was defeated].

After 1806 Buxworth grew and rapidly achieved fame as an inland lime port, despatching 70 narrow boats each week loaded with coal, limestone and powdered lime, stone and slates.

The nucleus of Chinley - as it is today - began when Mr James Waterhouse of Plarr Farm (now Heatherlea) built 20 cottages and a shop in 1852 at Chinley End where Wesley was entertained.[at an earlier period?] In 1862 he built and gave the first Methodist church in the centre of Chinley, always known as `The Preaching Room'.

After the widening of the railway line the new large Chinley station was built in 1902, a junction for Manchester, Liverpool, London and Sheffield.  This railway venture involved the building of two joining curved viaducts, a brilliant piece of building. The station had five waiting rooms with big fires, a refreshment room and a bookstall. At first, a confused Stationmaster (Ould Sammy Hart the locals called him) in top hat and frock coat, with a huge timetable in his hand, rushed up and down the six platforms, sending trains `all over t'country', as the locals said, highly amused. Something like 100 trains a day passed through Chinley station with 180 on August Bank Holiday.

Until recently there were two large mills in the valley, employing hundreds of people in bleaching and dyeing and paper and printing at various times.  The mill hooters, formerly, could be heard at 6.00 am each day telling the workers to get up, and at 6.30 am telling them they should be at work. The workers stopped for breakfast at 8.00 am at another hooter.

During these years and until his death in 1951 at 83 years of age, Mr Joseph Waterhouse of Albany House (built by saving all his threepenny bits over many years) chronicled the happenings of the village church and all his family in verse. These he would read in his high-pitched squeaky voice. He had a very dry sense of humour and his verses were witty and humorous. Some he would write in broad Derbyshire, then later bring up to date in King's English. He was a notable preacher and sometimes flautist and organist.

Eventually the railway and the now tarmacadamed turnpike roads took the trade from Buxworth, the port and buildings went into decline and the canal silted up. Now Buxworth Basin is being rebuilt as it used to be and the canal is also being cleared.

A large piece of limestone can be seen high in the gable end of the old British school, carried and placed there for a wager by a workman who had to walk and carry it from Dove Holes four to five miles away at 5.00am.