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Thread: Rockwood Pigments, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, June 2019

  1. #1
    Join Date
    January 2013
    People's Republic of South Yorkshire.

    Default Rockwood Pigments, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, June 2019

    1. The History
    The works are located on the east bank of the River Derwent, immediately to the north of Matlock Bath, and are accessed from a metalled road off the main approach to Matlock Bath Railway Station or via footbridge over the river from Dale Road (A6).

    The site was originally known as Viaton and was established for the mining of iron ore in the first half of the 1800s. When this was exhausted in 1850, Lead carbonate or ďwhite leadĒ (a pigment used in white paint since the 4th century BC) was ground by a water-wheel of 80 horse power, capable of raising 1, 000 gallons an hour.

    At the end of the century in 1900, the Via Gellia Colour Company then took the works over and installed a turbine to drive four pairs of Peak stones to grind-up iron oxide. After that, bone char (the waste product from sugar refining) was ground until the late 1960s. The works were then used for the blending of pre-ground chemically-produced colour products for use in paving slabs and other cement products.

    Finally, the site became part of the Rockwood group and although they closed the site down when they revised their operations, they went on to change their name to Huntsman Pigments and Additives, and are currently the second largest manufacturer of iron oxide colour pigments in the World.

    The site also contains the entrance to Side Mine, a former lead mine. It was opened up as a Show Cavern between 1825 and 1845. Mining finished in 1844 when the owner gave up his attempts to drain the workings of water. The red colour on the walls and roof comes from residue from the pigment factory when excess pigment was blown into the mine via ventilation fans.

    The Former High Tor Colour Works site, which covers approximately 4 acres, is currently up for sale on a freehold basis which includes part of the river bed although Heights of Abraham have reserved rights in respect of their cable cars that pass over the site restricting any development within 10m either side of the centre line of the cables.

    2. The Explore
    Been meaning to do this place for ages but never seemed to get around to it. Finally though, managed to explore it with two non-forum members one morning, albeit on a slightly rushed schedule.

    Thereís two ways in. One involves spikes, the other doesnít so this was an easy choice. Once in itís a relaxed wander. The place is pretty well worn and thereís nothing of mega interest left. Itís quite photogenic though and thereís so fab graff throughout the place. Thereís also two mines here that make the place a bit more special. We had a quick peek in the old lead mine but only went as far as the giant game of jenga. For a good look at both mines see @Tarkovsky and his excellent report HERE. The mine that has its entrance in the factory itself we game a miss as itís really dusty and we didnít have the gear or the time. So if youíre in the area add it to your list along with Permanent Asphalt, the pair of sites that make a trip out to this lovely bit of Derbyshire worthwhile.

    3. The Pictures

    The main factory space roller blind:

    img1340 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And weíre in:

    img1322 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Factory roof:

    img1338 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Factory roof 2:

    img1337 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Not too sure what this is:

    img1335 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Like this large piece (canít remember the artistís name)

    img1334 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1328 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1327 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Some sort of grinding gear:

    Rockwood 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The second mine is entranced from here:

    Rockwood 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Rockwood 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    This is a decommissioned cable car!

    img1325 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    A nice bit of Colorquix:

    img1344 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    One for the kids:

    Rockwood 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    A nice bit of Brayk:

    Rockwood 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And my fave bit of graff in the whole place:

    img1323 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The admin bock:

    Rockwood 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1331 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1342 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1369 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1364 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Pretty trashed to be honest:

    Rockwood 17 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The famous washer and dryer:

    Rockwood 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The now smashed-up wash-rooms:

    Rockwood 14 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1360 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And another coloquix:

    img1362 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Looking towards the factory complex from admin:

    img1361 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The Electrics room:

    img1368 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1367 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The High Tor Grotto show cave entrance. Looks like someone never called the hot-line:

    img1343 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    In we go:

    Rockwood 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And a bit further:

    Rockwood 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    As far as we went in the mine:

    img1353 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Factory doors slowly rusting away:

    img1352 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    More wacky graff:

    img1365 by HughieDW, on Flickr

  2. Thanks given by: etc100, Mearing, Mikeymutt, MrGruffy, noiseboy72, Romford Reject
  4. #2
    Join Date
    February 2009


    Good to see this one again! Doesnít look as if much has changed here recently.

  5. #3
    Join Date
    October 2013


    Nice mate. I enjoyed my trip here. And looks like some new graffiti there.
    I like to go where others fear to tread.

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