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Limestone Quarries and Limeworks


Francis Beresford, co-founder of Benjamin Outram & Co. (later Butterley Company), purchased and leased land at Crich for limestone extraction in 1791. He leased a quarry, later referred to as the old Warner quarry, under the Leys Close from the Hon. Nathaniel Curzon for 21 years (see illustration below left). Around the same time he also purchased land beside the Cromford Canal at Bullbridge and lime kilns were built on the site to fully establish the Amber Wharf site.


The Butterley Gangroad was built to transport the limestone extracted from the mine to the Amber Wharf for burning in the lime kilns or for onward transportation on the Cromford Canal to the Butterley works. In his publication dated 1813, Farey stated that the railway (and presumably the quarry) were in operation from 1793. The old Warner Quarry when purchased and first operated was a mine but in 1802/03 work was undertaken to open up the quarry and access was gained by using the mine as a tunnel. At the same time an extra kiln and a kiln road were built at the Amber Wharf site.


In parallel with the need to increase the production of iron, there was a growing requirement for lime for agriculture and building works at this time. The accounts show lime being purchased from George Young of Crich from October 1793, which corresponds to the opening of the Cromford Canal.  A house (now known as Lime Grange) was built at Amber Wharf for the use of the manager in 1796-7. John Crofts undertook the joinery and Benjamin Outram & Co. supplied seven cast iron window frames. The illustration below left shows the extent of the Amber Wharf site at Bullbridge in 1805.


The Butterley Company issued specific rules for working at the Bullbridge lime works in 1803. The rules emphasised the company’s desire to have good business relations with customers, for each customer to be served in turn and to be sold the exact measure without partiality and engagements with customer to be punctually met. In addition the daily duties of the lime burners included the cleaning of the holes and the yard and ensuring the kilns were well filled, regularly drawn and kept in the best possible order.


In 1805 Edward Banks & Co. leased the quarries, kilns and railway (including the works at Codnor Park and associated plateway) for 14 years. Edward Banks had previously worked for Outram as a sub-contractor building the Derby-Alfreton turnpike and on the Croydon, Merstham and Godstone Railway.

Amber Wharf site at Bullbridge c1805

John Nuttall plan showing extent of limestone extraction at Crich c1800