Review of ‘Cromford Station - A History’, by Glynn Waite

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

CROMFORD STATION - A HISTORY

One does not have to be a railway buff to recognise that Cromford station is a true gem - in 1970 the setting provided memorable opening scenes for the film The Virgin and the Gypsy, based on the novel by D.H.Lawrence.

Fortunately, this photogenic station with its unique Grade 2 listed buildings has good friends, including a private owner and The Arkwright Society, whose ongoing Station Project will benefit from all profits from this new publication by the highly regarded railway historian, Glynn Waite.

The story involves endless aspects of local life and the changes seen since Cromford station was opened 160 years ago by the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock & Midland Junction Railway. This was an era of fierce competitiveness between railway companies, giving rise to various plans for a line along the Wye Valley to Buxton via Rowsley and Bakewell. In 1869, the Midland Railway proposed a railway from Wirksworth to Rowsley, running some distance west of Cromford station, but this became unncessary when two years later the Midland became sole owner of the existing line, enabling them to achieve the Buxton goal.

Day excursionists (Matlock Bath was the next station down the line) and merchandise from John Smedley's mill at Lea Bridge were to contribute to the financial success of Cromford station. In 1872 - when the Midland 'startled its competitors by allowing 3rd Class penny-a-mile passengers on all its trains' - over 24,000 passengers were booked in, not to mention 226 'Parcels, Horses, Dogs, etc.' Passengers peaked at 35,960 In 1901 and passenger traffic eventually survived the 'Beeching Axe' in modern times.

Cromford Station - A History is generously illustrated with photographs, tickets, timetables and fascinating local news cuttings. Written by Glynn Waite and published by Pynot Publishing priced £11.95, the book is in stock or available to order through local outlets. (ISBN 978-0-9562706-0-3)

Review by Julie Bunting


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