Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Well Dressing in Derbyshire!

Today we walked the towpath back to the junction and then walked the towpath to Whaley Bridge. There is not as many moorings available along this stretch of canal and it is heavily covered by tree’s.

The canal basin still has the original railway/canal transhipment warehouse built in 1832 with the dockway for the boats in the centre and a railway line on each side affording all over cover for loading and unloading.

Peak Forest 052 Whaley bridge canal/railway transhipment warehouse decorated for a forth coming festival.

Alongside this building was a temporary marquee with a sign about Well Dressing on a huge banner, inside were 12 ladies busy doing some Well Dressing pictures. This craft is peculiar to Derbyshire and dates back to the Celts and involves the use of clay as a base with pictures being made out of stones, flowers and petals. It takes these ladies about a week to make the pictures and they only last about the same length of time. It is a fascinating art and one that would take too long to explain here.

After this little interlude we walked up into the village where we found an historic plaque about the Goyt Cotton Mill that had been a major employer in the district. The mill has now been replaced with pensioner bungalows but the old mill workers cottages are still there. It was also fascinating to trace the old railway sidings that supplied the mill and nearby gas works also long gone.

Peak Forest 057Yours Truly reading up on the history of the Goyt Mill, now a pensioners village.

Peak Forest 058Mill workers cottages adjacent to the old Goyt Mill site. No excuse for being late to work.

The village was very picturesque with most of the buildings being built in the 18th and 19th centuries. One amusing sign on a building stated “Don’t park on the footpath or you could finish up in my cellar” Fair enough warning I would say. Due to the typical British summer we found ourselves having to take shelter on the railway station as despite the forecast we had a couple of real heavy downpours. After spending the best part of an hour on the station platform and watch 2 trains thunder through non stop we had to make a run for it between showers. The station was also interesting in that even though it is in full time use it has a local “Friends of Whaley Bridge Station” society. Perhaps Network Rail only want bare platforms which are cheaper to maintain which we have seen at other stations around the country.

Peak Forest 056 This was a railway siding leading to a gas works and cotton mill, now long gone.

This evening we spoilt ourselves with drinks and dinner at the Navigation pub (once owned by Pat Phoenix who played Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street) at the end of the basin. The pub has a very much canal/narrowboat theme with many colourful artefacts' and interesting photo’s all around the walls.


Jenny and Robin said...

Well Dressing - now that is an interesting concept. Especially to those of us out here in the colonies. We love to read about all these "Old English" customs.

Cheers from Jenny and Robin in wintery New Zealand

Derek and Dot said...

Hi you two
Thought that might be a new one on you, was for us too. Very decorative, shame they crack and die in about a week.
Take care Dot