Goyt Valley memories
On these pages I’ll feature people with personal memories of life in the Goyt Valley before the construction of the two reservoirs. Simply click on the ‘Read more’ links to view any story. All contributions would be very gratefully received. To get in touch, simply use the site contact page.
Bill Brocklehurst has lived and farmed in and around the Goyt Valley for most of his life. A recently published book includes a brief profile of a man who knows the land like the back of his hand.
A photo of two young ladies dressed in mourning posing on an early motor car outside Errwood Hall has always intrigued me. A ‘Then & Now’ fade shows the scene today.
A 1937 newspaper article published just before the opening of Fernilee Reservoir tells of a glorious landscape that has been lost forever – wrecked in the interests of the community.
Chris remembers ‘Bunty’ Sidebottom, a very special teacher at Fernilee Infant School: “She was extremely glamorous and had friends in high places in TV land: the BBC and Granada, Manchester.”
Mr Oyarzibel took the opportunity of denying the stories that the bodies of the Grimshaws in the vault are embalmed in glass-topped coffins, and that the corpses still wear gold watch chains…
A wonderful tale of a loveable Whaley Bridge rogue who won a bet with the Disley police. And also hunted for the Grimshawe’s treasure which was said to be buried close to Errwood Hall.
An early ’60s black and white photo of skaters on the frozen pond at the head of the Bunsall Incline brings back memories of an earlier scene, described in Strephon’s typically flowery style in an 1880 article.
The first chapter of Clifford Rathbone’s ‘Goyt Valley Story’ describes a walk he made in the summer of 1955 from the Cat & Fiddle to Goyt’s Bridge, before the flooding of Errwood Reservoir.
“One by one the farmers and their families have strapped their ancient bedsteads on to hay wagons, and tracked off up the lane leading out from Derbyshire’s deceased village of Fernilee…”
“A carriage from Buxton passes us just before we reach the Cat and Fiddle. Its inmates, although covered with shawls and rugs, are shivering with cold. (The date is the 4th of May, 1888.)”
Rob has been in touch to say his family once lived at Goyt’s Moss, scraping a living mining coal from the small pits which once littered the landscape of this windswept part of the upper Goyt Valley.
It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally managed to complete a short, 12 minute video showing how the twin reservoirs completely changed the landscape of this part of the Goyt Valley.
An account of a walk in the late 1890s from Buxton, via Burbage, Derbyshire Bridge and Goytsclough, to Goyt’s Bridge and Errwood Hall. It includes some wonderful detail.
The Cromford & High Peak Railway ran through the Goyt Valley from 1831 to 1892. Mike has discovered a fascinating report from the Victorian writer, Strephon, of a trip along the entire route.
Another of Strephon’s wonderful articles describing his walks through the Goyt Valley. This one tells of a circular walk from Buxton, via Goyt’s Bridge and Derbyshire Bridge, taken in early 1880.
Our 19th century travellers are “soon in the deep cool solitude of the Goyt valley, beautiful with colours that the miserably inadequate art of word-painting is utterly lost to reproduce.”
A writer in 1880 describes the Goyt Valley: “Boughs interlace above; the bare-bell, the fox-glove, and the blade-like fern are at out feet; at our side the beautiful campanula…”
A shorter version of the 1932 cine film of Goyt’s Bridge set to music, showing views around the stepping stones and packhorse bridge, with glimpses of Gatehouse Cottage.
“These rich Lords and Ladies had a London Home and also one near Manchester. It was called Errwood Hall and there were five Lords and Ladies, a Priest and 20 servants…”
“In the valley at the foot of towering heights, clad with trees and verdure, there are situated the Fernilee Gunpowder Mills, occupying a very extensive area.”