Quantcast

Buxton Lime Works, Cowdale, Derbyshire, October 2020

Help Support Derelict Places:

HughieD

Regular Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
5,171
Reaction score
10,353
Location
People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
1. The History
Lime quarrying has been common in this part of Derbyshire ever since the 1800s. In 1891 fierce competition saw 13 quarry owners consolidate their 17 quarries into the Buxton Lime Firms. They were controlled by four directors who tried to create a monopoly by raising the price of lime. Around the turn of the 20th century they were produced 280,000 tons of lime per year and dominated the industry in Derbyshire. The Cowdale quarry was initially established in 1898 by the New Buxton Lime Co and listed as 'Staden Quarry'. The large stone-built kilns standing 50-foot-high included a network of railway sidings above the A6. The four shaft kilns were taken over by the Buxton Lime Firms in 1908 and, shortly afterwards in 1909, three concrete buildings (the gate-house, power house and ancillary building) were built close to the A6 in a highly unusual 'neo-Egyptian' style.

The firm supplied high quality lime to Brunner Mond who finally bought BLF in 1918. In the mid-1920s concrete buttresses were added to the kilns shortly before the works were merged in 1927 to form I.C.I. Ltd. Quarrying ceased in 1948 but the works remained in operation until 1955 in order to store stone. In the latter part of the 20th century the tramlines were removed and some of the mine's buildings were demolished. The remaining works were left to slowly decay.

The only (very small) archive picture I could find:

50482432472_322c7b7296_n.jpgBLF by HughieDW, on Flickr

In 1997 English Heritage assessed the quarry as part of its 'Monument Protection Plan', concluding that the site contained 'very impressive remains'. In 2010 a development proposal by Buxton Water to use the site as a water bottling plant and for storage was tabled. It also included plans for the development of a heritage visitor's centre and heritage trail. This required the need for the establishment of improved road access and the subsequent demolition of the powerhouse. The planning application was refused in June 2011 and again on appeal in September 2012. However, the powerhouse was demolished in controversial circumstances in May 2011 just prior to the first planning application on the grounds that the structure was considered 'dangerous' by High Peak Borough Council (Section 80). A pretty tall story given it was built like the proverbial brick shithouse.

This was seen by many as a significant loss in terms of the site’s heritage. The BLF logo on the building was the last that bore such a mark. Shortly after English Heritage scheduled the remaining structures on the site, ensuring the two other BLF buildings and the buttressed kilns were now, thankfully, under statutory protection.

2. The Explore
Not the most spectacular explore but interesting and pretty picturesque one. I love these old industrial heritage sites. Remember driving along the A6, before you reach Buxton the monolithic buildings of the former Cowdale lime works rise up on the hill to the left. Next time I was passing parked up on the layby on the A6 and walked back to the entrance and had a look round. Since the first time here back in 2014 I’ve been back twice. The most recent visit was during Autumn. The leaves are off the trees and the place reveals itself to the road. It’s an easy access and relaxed explore. The first time I came I remember looking for the powerhouse and being puzzled why we couldn't find it (we didn't know it had been demo'ed at that stage). Then, the second time we came across a very big pile of rubble where on one stone, you could still make out the BLF initials.

Explored with two non-member mates of mine…

3. The Pictures:

The first structure you come to is the gatehouse clearly visible from the A6:

50452684342_9ec06c6fb5_b.jpgimg9336 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inside it’s a shell:

50452518876_57ec28dff6_b.jpgimg9341 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50451811703_39bc2c78d3_b.jpgimg9345 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50452641907_d1349667b3_b.jpgimg9411 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This was once the powerhouse:

50452517026_d2b6069280_b.jpgimg9349 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A second neo-Egyptian building further up the hill.

50452515666_6c805576ef_b.jpgimg9350 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A fist glimpse of the buttressed lime kilns:

50452514021_2c9db08216_b.jpgimg9353 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50451805208_6a84f4212d_b.jpgimg9354 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inside the first one:

50452510196_a887df88bc_b.jpgimg9358 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50451800118_2ab9b2056f_b.jpgimg9360 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50451801953_c509dbcff9_b.jpgimg9359 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And on to the second one:

50452501076_364e20d652_b.jpgimg9368 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50452668262_ef298304b2_b.jpgimg9365 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50472716282_9b846dedd0_b.jpgCowdale 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50471858288_d9a3d5220f_b.jpgCowdale 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

An old fading Colorquix:

50451793453_264f03bc38_b.jpgimg9369 by HughieDW, on Flickr

How does a copy of Five Star’s “Can’t wait another minute” come to be here?

50452662597_bff0183b86_b.jpgimg9372 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50452661227_93bf0c0591_b.jpgimg9374 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50471853958_ce44b4054d_b.jpgCowdale 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Slightly further along:

50451785328_3650d4ee7d_b.jpgimg9382 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50452658662_da299e86d3_b.jpgimg9377 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50471855088_704d982908_b.jpgCowdale 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Up top:

50452652467_30fb54e97e_b.jpgimg9393 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50452479936_6f15892fd7_b.jpgimg9406 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Part of the old tramway system:

50472552776_e818c5d0ab_b.jpgCowdale 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

50452486501_983e34538f_b.jpgimg9398bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

And finally, the old boiler. Was it for powering some kind of incline chain?

50452482271_f0351aa068_b.jpgimg9402bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

50452481156_ded682e177_b.jpgimg9403 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

Muddy Wader

Regular Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
3
Hi Hughie. Brand new member with some great locations. I live only a handful of miles from Buxton and remember going to an illegal rave in one of these buildings. It looked a lot different that night, oh so many years ago (mid-90's), with the laser light shows and the smoke machines. Great pics and concise info.
Roll on summer.
Stay safe.
Muddy.
 

250swb

Regular Member
Joined
May 11, 2009
Messages
6
Reaction score
2
Hi Hughie. Brand new member with some great locations. I live only a handful of miles from Buxton and remember going to an illegal rave in one of these buildings. It looked a lot different that night, oh so many years ago (mid-90's), with the laser light shows and the smoke machines. Great pics and concise info.
Roll on summer.
Stay safe.
Muddy.

I imagine that would have been in the building that has now been demolished (up the hill above the gatehouse) a large art deco style concrete building. Last time I photographed it before it being knocked down (six or seven years ago?) there had clearly been parties going on. I can't believe it didn't have a preservation order on it.

HughieD, a great set of photos and description, I must visit the site again.
 

HughieD

Regular Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
5,171
Reaction score
10,353
Location
People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
I imagine that would have been in the building that has now been demolished (up the hill above the gatehouse) a large art deco style concrete building. Last time I photographed it before it being knocked down (six or seven years ago?) there had clearly been parties going on. I can't believe it didn't have a preservation order on it.

HughieD, a great set of photos and description, I must visit the site again.
Cheers mate. Much appreciated. And I think you are spot on there RE: the raves being in the now demo'ed building...
 

Muddy Wader

Regular Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
3
I imagine that would have been in the building that has now been demolished (up the hill above the gatehouse) a large art deco style concrete building. Last time I photographed it before it being knocked down (six or seven years ago?) there had clearly been parties going on. I can't believe it didn't have a preservation order on it.

HughieD, a great set of photos and description, I must visit the site again.
Yeah, shame. I guess time creeps on for us all, along with these old places. Great times, hazy memories. The 60's of my generation.
Sad to hear the building has gone. They were like bomb shelters.
 

Derelictman7

Regular Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2020
Messages
25
Reaction score
10
Hi Hughie. Brand new member with some great locations. I live only a handful of miles from Buxton and remember going to an illegal rave in one of these buildings. It looked a lot different that night, oh so many years ago (mid-90's), with the laser light shows and the smoke machines. Great pics and concise info.
Roll on summer.
Stay safe.
Muddy.
Hi Muddy Wader....fantastic set of images...I am going to at some stage document this site....
1. The History
Lime quarrying has been common in this part of Derbyshire ever since the 1800s. In 1891 fierce competition saw 13 quarry owners consolidate their 17 quarries into the Buxton Lime Firms. They were controlled by four directors who tried to create a monopoly by raising the price of lime. Around the turn of the 20th century they were produced 280,000 tons of lime per year and dominated the industry in Derbyshire. The Cowdale quarry was initially established in 1898 by the New Buxton Lime Co and listed as 'Staden Quarry'. The large stone-built kilns standing 50-foot-high included a network of railway sidings above the A6. The four shaft kilns were taken over by the Buxton Lime Firms in 1908 and, shortly afterwards in 1909, three concrete buildings (the gate-house, power house and ancillary building) were built close to the A6 in a highly unusual 'neo-Egyptian' style.

The firm supplied high quality lime to Brunner Mond who finally bought BLF in 1918. In the mid-1920s concrete buttresses were added to the kilns shortly before the works were merged in 1927 to form I.C.I. Ltd. Quarrying ceased in 1948 but the works remained in operation until 1955 in order to store stone. In the latter part of the 20th century the tramlines were removed and some of the mine's buildings were demolished. The remaining works were left to slowly decay.

The only (very small) archive picture I could find:

View attachment 262921BLF by HughieDW, on Flickr

In 1997 English Heritage assessed the quarry as part of its 'Monument Protection Plan', concluding that the site contained 'very impressive remains'. In 2010 a development proposal by Buxton Water to use the site as a water bottling plant and for storage was tabled. It also included plans for the development of a heritage visitor's centre and heritage trail. This required the need for the establishment of improved road access and the subsequent demolition of the powerhouse. The planning application was refused in June 2011 and again on appeal in September 2012. However, the powerhouse was demolished in controversial circumstances in May 2011 just prior to the first planning application on the grounds that the structure was considered 'dangerous' by High Peak Borough Council (Section 80). A pretty tall story given it was built like the proverbial brick shithouse.

This was seen by many as a significant loss in terms of the site’s heritage. The BLF logo on the building was the last that bore such a mark. Shortly after English Heritage scheduled the remaining structures on the site, ensuring the two other BLF buildings and the buttressed kilns were now, thankfully, under statutory protection.

2. The Explore
Not the most spectacular explore but interesting and pretty picturesque one. I love these old industrial heritage sites. Remember driving along the A6, before you reach Buxton the monolithic buildings of the former Cowdale lime works rise up on the hill to the left. Next time I was passing parked up on the layby on the A6 and walked back to the entrance and had a look round. Since the first time here back in 2014 I’ve been back twice. The most recent visit was during Autumn. The leaves are off the trees and the place reveals itself to the road. It’s an easy access and relaxed explore. The first time I came I remember looking for the powerhouse and being puzzled why we couldn't find it (we didn't know it had been demo'ed at that stage). Then, the second time we came across a very big pile of rubble where on one stone, you could still make out the BLF initials.

Explored with two non-member mates of mine…

3. The Pictures:

The first structure you come to is the gatehouse clearly visible from the A6:

View attachment 262922img9336 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inside it’s a shell:

View attachment 262923img9341 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262924img9345 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262925img9411 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This was once the powerhouse:

View attachment 262926img9349 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A second neo-Egyptian building further up the hill.

View attachment 262927img9350 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A fist glimpse of the buttressed lime kilns:

View attachment 262928img9353 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262929img9354 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inside the first one:

View attachment 262930img9358 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262931img9360 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262932img9359 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And on to the second one:

View attachment 262933img9368 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262934img9365 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262935Cowdale 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262936Cowdale 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

An old fading Colorquix:

View attachment 262937img9369 by HughieDW, on Flickr

How does a copy of Five Star’s “Can’t wait another minute” come to be here?

View attachment 262938img9372 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262939img9374 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262940Cowdale 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Slightly further along:

View attachment 262941img9382 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262942img9377 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262943Cowdale 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Up top:

View attachment 262944img9393 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262945img9406 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Part of the old tramway system:

View attachment 262946Cowdale 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262947img9398bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

And finally, the old boiler. Was it for powering some kind of incline chain?

View attachment 262948img9402bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

View attachment 262949img9403 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

RedRob

New member
Joined
Jun 19, 2016
Messages
1
Reaction score
1
Location
Buxton
Hi HughieD,

It wasn't the current Nestle/Buxton Water company that applied for planning at Cowdale, it was a seperate water company at Staden Lane. On refusal the applicant demolished the powerhouse as a form of retaliation, using the unsafe building part as an excuse, he has since passed away. It's such a shame as I loved that building and used to walk there regularly. I'm so glad the rest are being preserved.
 

HughieD

Regular Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
5,171
Reaction score
10,353
Location
People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
Hi HughieD,

It wasn't the current Nestle/Buxton Water company that applied for planning at Cowdale, it was a seperate water company at Staden Lane. On refusal the applicant demolished the powerhouse as a form of retaliation, using the unsafe building part as an excuse, he has since passed away. It's such a shame as I loved that building and used to walk there regularly. I'm so glad the rest are being preserved.
Hi @RedRob thank you for the correction. Unfortunately I can't go back and correct the original report.
 

Latest posts

Top