Tuesday, 14 August 2012

These boots were made for talking

Winding House at the top of Sheep Pasture Incline

We were walking the High Peak Trail above Cromford yesterday. The area is stuffed with industrial heritage, including Cromford Mill built by Richard Arkwright and now a World Heritage Site.

We came across Tony Robinson with a film crew, as he inspected the Sheep Pasture Winding House. It used to be part of a system by which trains were wound up and down the 3/4 mile long 1 in 9 Sheep Pasture Incline between Cromford Canal and the Cromford and High Peak Railway.

The first part of the line from the wharf at High Peak Junction, on the Cromford Canal, to Hurdlow opened in 1830. From the canal it climbed over a thousand feet in five miles, through four inclines ranging from 1 in 14 to 1 in 8 - Cromford, Sheep Pasture, Middleton and Hopton.

It was a remarkably ambitious piece of nineteenth century civil engineering, making a rail connection between the High Peak, Cromford Canal and ultimately the River Trent.

I don't know much about Tony Robinson apart from his role as Baldrick in the Blackadder series.

Mr Robinson seemed to be wearing substantial walking boots for this filmic occasion at Sheep Pasture Incline. Possibly an unnecessary precaution as it cannot be much more than two hundred yards between the Winding House and the car park.


Demetrius said...

Aha, either a C4 Time Team or one of his "specials". For near on twenty years he has been doing well out of these. In this case good luck to him in that these programmes have brough archaeology to the screen with a breadth and sometimes depth that have taught us a lot. On the Sky documentaries the repeats are a regular and often interesting to return to. Certainly, there are critics but on the whole it has been a valuable contribution. Also, the style of the programmes make a welcome change from the bossy boots this is what you must think too often found in BBC items.

Anonymous said...

Did the entire winding apparatus fit in there? Looks too elegant.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - "Time Team" rings a bell. I may even have seen one of those programmes. It was quite good too as I remember. I have to confess I had the guy linked with the BBC in my mind.

Roger - the Winding House was really the engine house.

Outside there was a large winding wheel like a colliery pit wheel laid flat on the ground. This has gone, but you can still see where it was.

It was only required to haul loaded trucks up from the canal of course. Trucks loaded with stone from the quarries went down under their own weight and at the same time pulled up the empty trucks.

There were one or two runaways as you might imagine.

James Higham said...

You didn't see Miliband or any of that crew with him, did you?

A K Haart said...

James - no, but I presume they know each other. Actually I'm not sure I'd recognize Miliband, but Robinson's voice is very distinctive.