Cawdor Quarry Complex, Matlock - Jan 07

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85 Vintage

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Jul 7, 2008
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This was my very first visit to anywhere, armed with a crappy compact and no tripod :lol:
It was my first explore and I was a bit edgy and spent some time dodging lorries coming and going from the Permanite Asphalt site at the far end of the old quarry. With plans to build houses in and around where these builds were, would be interesting to see if the lorries will have their own route. Cant exactly see lorries going through the middle of a new housing development.

I haven't managed to find much info about the quarry itself apart from it quarried limestone or slate. There are some old buildings tucked away that i've seen whilst driving past the site since. Apart from that the only real evidence of the quarry is the lagoon at the far end of the site.

Non of the buildings looked that modern, I got that impression from the styles of the window frames. I guess it's possible some were the old quarry buildings

Flashearth linky

First views when I entered the site




Not sure what this building next to the river was for, but it had big pipes and valves, with an outlet to the river. Most likely some kind of filter building for drain water from the quarry or the bitumen producing building up the bank from it.


Were these marks on the wall

Which are the levels the flood water reached in the floods of those years. In the 2nd pic of the building you can see how far above the river it is, goes to show the floods must've been terrible.


Obligatory smashed up toilet

Next is the building in james.s's thread.







My way to the upper level, first step 6ft off the floor and i haven't got long legs :(


These pipes came from the tanks in the above pics and were in smaller building next to them.




Bitumen Emulsion labels


These bits were in the same building



Next building is the one in the first pic, had it's on tracks leading in to it

And old style gantry type crane


Hundreds of paint tins in here, someone had had some fun with them



Next is the building in the second pic, had a big workshop area and sizeable office area too

Whats up here?

Be another gantry crane then!

It went the whole length of the building, was pretty dark in there and couldn't get a shot looking along the rails for the crane :(





Surely you need more than 11 people to make a 'massive' or were they just 'massive' people? :mrgreen:

SAFE innit :lol:

Surprising intact, considering all the building it was in was trashed








Lots of big rolls for something





This was on the wall behind the 'thingy' in the above pic


Quite alot of pics but, work better all being in one thread. Rest of them are here
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Nice one!
Shame it is nearly all gone now. I wonder what has kept "my" building standing?

Cheers, took a while to upload all and sort the pics on photobucket, comp was on a go slow:mad:

I'm guess the asbestos lagging on the pipes:question:
I used to work there !

I'm treading carefully here as I'm a noob, and dont want to offend by posting a long missive, but if anyone is interested I will gladly put names / uses to most of the places in these photo's.
Hi Paul K,

Yes please on letting us know what each thing was for and the different buildings etc. It's always better to find someone who worked in these places, and can explain what things were, and what was made/used for. More pictures too if you have any old ones. :)

Stick up a little intro bit about yourself too in the introductions forum. :) Welcome aboard.

:) Sal
Memories of Cawdor Quarry

I worked there 1984 - 1985 when all of the buildings were occupied, most by Tarmac a few by private firms. As a young person of Thatchers Britain, it was a YTS placement and I earned the grand sum of £26.25 a week, with a day to Chesterfield tech on a Thursday

I'll try and keep things in order ....

Pic 1
The white'ish building to the right of the shot was the machine shop. It contained Lathes and milling machines, if one of the local Tarmac quarries wanted anything machining that was where it was done
The buildings to left were the joiners workshop and the fabrication shop,where anything from chutes, walkways to hoppers were fabricated and painted up.

The main workshops, stores and offices for The Central Engineering Department.
There were three workshops here, Mechanical Plant, Electrical and Fabrication
Mechanical fixed and re built all the plant that moved, e.g. cranes, loading shovels and dumpers.
Fabrication worked in conjuction with the workshop mentioned above, and the electrical workshop pretty much did anything electrical, motors etc.
The big crane thats featured in the later photo's I seem to remember was a bit of beast, it used to lift crusher jaws and dump trucks off delivery vehicles and take them to the lower part of the building.

Not entirely sure about these, but there used to be a pre cast stone firm trading somewhere around here, they made concrete lintels and beams

Cant remember this building at all, must have been further down towards the Permanite plan

The pumphouse.... Sorry to report that you are all wrong on this one!
It was used to extract water from the river derwent, to two locations
Firstly to the dust mill, a huge buidling thats long gone (locals will know it, it was directly across the river from Kennings garage on theA6). Stone came down from Hall Dale quarry, the quarry above all these pictures, was crushed into a fine powder and sold to various industries. The water was used to clean the mill out periodically, once rinsed through the sludge was taken to the lagoon at the end of the quarry.
Secondly it was used to proved water to Hall Dale quarry

Pic10 - 27
The buildings in James report
This I seem to remember was run by a firm call Constable Hart.
The took limestone powder mixed it with hot bitumen and cast it into small blocks, (think breeze block size), once set they stacked, shipped out to building sites and re heated to use as a flooring material.
It was avery labour intensive process, its demise was hastened by the then new automatic Permanite plant, which I think still operates from the other end of the quarry, near the Oker road

Pic 28 (The one with the tracks leading into it)
This is a back of the buidling to the left in Pic1
Originally a loco repair shed when Matlock had a rail line to Buxton, notice the long deep inspection pit, this was used to service large or long vehicles

Pic 29
Gantry crane in the building to the left of Pic one

Pics 30+31+35
Not Sure

Pic 33
The BSW Sign
Not long after I left, circa 86/87 Tarmac decided it was no longer viable to maintain such a large operation, closed it, made the staff redundant and then promptly encouraged them all to become self employed contractors doing the same job!!
BSW engineering was set up by three of these chaps, messers Birds, Smith & Watts, who specialised in joiner and fabrication. From memory the electricans set up a company called Quarry electrical services, which I believe still is in business today

Pic34 Cawdor Commericals
The large building in Pic two then became a truck repair depot

Pic35-38, the big crane inside the main buidling

Not really sure about the rest of the pictures, there was also another division of Permanite that made roofing felt further down and past the buildings in the photo's above, so some shots may be of that.

Although I dont live in Matlock anymore I hear that they've had to shelf plans to put 400 homes over most of what you see in the pictures over, due to hydrocarbon contamination in the ground.
For many years tarmac used the various levels of the cawdor quarry as a storage yard for plant and machinery, so its not entirely surprising that the ground is so contaminted

Also plans are a foot to develop Hall Dale Quarry, the old quarry above it, but knowing how long it took to devlope Cawdor this may be a while off, theres something about it last weeks Matlock Mercury

Hope you like the info,

Sorry as I havent got anything to add photographically, I'm a lazy so and so, and didnt get into snapping stuff until digital came along !!!
Great explore - everything a derelict building should contain.

and thanks for the comments Paul K. Anything that helps put an explore in context is always welcome.
Great report mate. "Sh*tting up a door handle" sounds a bit painful:mrgreen:

The big building in your first few photos has a real 'swiss challet' look about it.