At the start of the project Trevor Griffin searched the catalogues for the National Archives and the records deposited in the Derbyshire Record  Office (DRO) at Matlock. A research register was produced detailing the documents requiring further investigation.

The previous publications (e.g. Farey, Riden and “Dowie”) provided invaluable information and these details were challenged, where necessary, and reconfirmed as the research progressed. Also a few years ago David Smith, a railway historian living in Crich, showed that the route of the Butterley Gangroad had been altered considerably over the years. It had originally followed a curving contour hugging alignment and was later straightened over most of its length.

From July 2013 to May 2014 members of the project team undertook the detailed review of the documents and historic maps in the archives, photographed relevant sections (where possible) and in some cases prepared as yet unpublished short papers on key topics. These papers will be included in the Archive page and include:-

  • The top level analysis of relevancy to the project of the documents in the DRO;
  • The output and profitability of the works;
  • The management and labour deployed at the works; and
  • The land acquisitions and leases obtained to operate the works.

Freda Raphael also interviewed a number of local residents who either had relatives or friends who had worked for the Butterley Company and/or had distant memories of the Butterley Gangroad and works at Crich and Bullbridge when it was still operating in the 1930s. These interviews have been transcribed  and collated into a  paper  – Local Residents Memories – and this will be available in the Archive page in the near future.

The resident’s memories include:-

  • As a young child around 1930 waiting with her cousin to wave to her father driving the locomotive taking a load of limestone down from the quarry to Bullbridge;
  • The Butterley Company’s local works manager, J P Hamilton, who resided in Lime Grange for over 40 years. He was the last manager to live there and he had initiated significant expansion at the quarry and the Amber Wharf in 1893 and purchased two new steam locomotives for the gangroad;
  • As a young child living at Lime Grange (previously The Limes) after the works had closed;
  • His grandfather being the foreman driver in Hilts quarry;
  • Horses working at Amber Wharf moving trucks in the yard and into the sidings; and
  • The locomotive being housed in the engine shed at the Hat Factory overnight.

The research activity was concluded by submitting a paper – The Butterley Gangroad – for publication in the Derbyshire Archaeological Society Annual Journal (Volume 134) for 2014 and this is available for purchase from the society (

In parallel with this project, but separate from it, a paper – William Brunton’s walking engines and the Crich rail-road – was prepared by Dieter Hopkin for publication by the Early Railways Conference. This paper provides a supplement to the findings of this project.

Research - BG5A0005 Lime Kilns at Amber Wharf
Remains of lime kIlns
Research - BG5A0003 Swing Bridge over Cromford Canal
Comford Canal with Lime Grange top right
Research - BG5B0018 Fritchley embankment
Fritchley embankment
Research - BG5C0001 Hat Factory and Engine Shed
Hat factory and engine shed
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