Changes at the Hat Factory

A new branch line, about 700 yards (630m) long was constructed from the Hat Factory to serve Hilt's Quarry. This included a 550 yard (503m) double track rope worked self-acting incline with a gradient of 1 in 15 (7%). Extensive changes were made at the Hat Factory to accommodate the new branch line that involved changing levels and altering the course of Dimple Lane (see opposite). The new line was laid on stone blocks.

From 1841 there are references to "pedestals" and parts for the incline being acquired. Pedestals were probably track chairs indicating a different form of track construction. "Trough rails" were supplied in 1843: these could have been for the altered arrangement by which the older route now crossed Dimple Lane by means of a level crossing.

The following year castings were supplied for a bridge, these are believed to be for the new bridge by which the new branch line to Hilts quarry passed under Dimple Lane. The photograph below, taken in the 1950s looking south, shows the bridge. The iron castings survive today and have been used in the garden as part of the renovation and conversion of the engine shed (built around 1870) into a private dwelling.

The second Hat factory building, south of the re-aligned Dimple Lane, was demolished in the 1930s.