urban75 country weekend: Walking around Hathersage, Derbyshire.
Report by urban75 editor, November 2006
A small village in the Derwent valley in Derbyshire and the Peak District National Park, Hathersage is renown for its historical associations with Robin Hood and the Eyre family.
Situated on the River Derwent between Manchester and Sheffield, Hathersage's overlooking moorland, gritstone ridges and dramatic tors have made it a popular destination for walkers, rock-climbers and, of course, wheezy drinkers from urban75.
Arriving at Hathersage station after changing at Sheffield from London
Hathersage existed as a small agricultural village until a German immigrant called Christopher Schutzhad invented a process for drawing wire in 1566, followed by Henry Cocker's Atlas Works which set up in 1750.
The needle, button and wire drawing works eventually spawned five mills belching out thick black smoke, leaving the village enveloped in a pall of smoke from the steam engines that superseded water power in the 19th century.
Walking through the village, with the Little John pub to the left.
To serve the new industry, a paper mill opened up nearby in North Lees supplying wrapping paper for the pins and needles produced.
The needle workers suffered appalling conditions, with the sharpening gritstone wheel sending out fragments of dust and steel.
The health of the grinders suffered considerably as their lungs filled with dust, reducing average life expectancy to a disgraceful 30 years.
View of the main road through Hathersage.
Eventually a Royal Commission was charged into investigating working conditions in 1867, leading to one of the first Factory Acts.
This capped working hours and made requirements for machinery to be protected while outlawing the use of children for some types of work.
By the end of the 19th century, wire and needle making had moved to Sheffield, with the last mill closing in 1902.
Old and rather ornate sign post in Hathersage.
Walking up to our bunkhouse at Thorpe Farm.
View from near the bunkhouse.
Dusk at Thorpe Farm.
Hathersage is veritably festooned with outdoor activity stores, reflecting the village's popularity with hikers and rugged outdoor types.
George Hotel, Hathersage. The George is believed to have been first built in the fourteenth or fifteenth century to serve packhorse trains carrying metal wrought from the quarries of Castleton to the foundries of Sheffield.
Friday night the assembled urban75 massive assembled in the Millstone inn for beers and to take part in their weekly pub quiz.
A satisfying selection of beard-snagging real ales.
Victorious! One of the urban tables scooped first prize and proceeded to taunt us with their winnings.
The fridge back at the Bunkhouse. You can see how seriously we take this walking lark.