Expansion programme at the Quarries

By 1896 Hilt’s Quarry was at risk of being worked out if extraction continued at the then current rate. In the following two years It was  decided to extend Hilt’s Quarry, and to reopen the old (Warner’s) quarry for the dumping of spoil from the new workings. A light tramway was also built to join the two quarries. Unfortunately the extension of Hilt’s quarry proved to be more difficult than expected due to the quality of the strata.

A contract was made with Messrs.Bott and Lewis Jones for barring limestone at the old quarry. The contract was for removing 100,000 cubic yards (76,455m3) from areas north of Hilt’s quarry and in the old quarry. The material to be removed would be soil and stone boulders so as to bare the top of the limestone rock. Some of this material was to be dumped in Hilt’s quarry itself on an area previously worked out. This has resulted in what now looks like an “island” in the middle of the existing quarry. The rest was to be dumped on the north and west sides of the old quarry.The work was undertaken using a “steam navvy” but again the work proved to be more difficult than expected.

In 1901 the company decided to lease the Dale Quarry at Wirksworth as an additional source of limestone. The limeworks business, as recorded in the Butterley archives deposited in the Derbyshire Record Office, from now on included both sites, which means that some recorded figures may not be applicable solely to Crich.

The baring work took two years to complete and the capital works and expansion programme was finally completed in 1904.

The turn of the century improvements had increased the output of the quarries but it peaked in 1906 and then began to decline again (see chart opposite). The maximum output achieved averaged about 200 tons (203 tonne) per day.

Disposing of the waste at the two quarries created massive tips alongside the railway over the years (see illustration left). There was a large tip beside the old incline up to Hilt’s Quarry parallel to Dimple Lane. This was fed by a siding along the top of the tip from the footpath crossing at the quarry entrance.

There were smaller tips to the east of the old quarry and a large rail-connected one just south of the Hat Factory that covered the stream and the site of old buildings.

A very large tip was also situated to the north of the new branch to Warner Quarry. This was fed by a steep track up a terrace that survives today. There was a short shunting neck at the south end from where trains reversed onto the top of the tip.