Browsing the Internet on my mobile telephone one evening, my eyes stopped on the following passage on the Wikipedia entry for Castleton:
Castleton used to be on the A625 road from Sheffield to Chapel-en-le-Frith, on the way to Manchester. Leaving Castleton, the western road used to go over Mam Tor, but after continual collapses and repairs (Mam Tor is called the 'Shivering Mountain' because of its very loose shales) it was eventually abandoned.
Did someone mention an abandoned road?
The above map shows the area around Castleton as is was nearly half a century ago, as recorded in the ever-fascinating AA Book of the Road 1966 edition. You can clearly see that the main road through Castleton is called the A625. The route from Sheffield, through Hathersage, continues to Chapel-en-le-Frith.
But what's this? The current map as depicted by Multimap shows no sign of the A625. Instead, the route through Castleton is labelled the A6187, and takes a different route to the west of the village. Look, no kink!
The explanation is that kink, or rather, the ground upon which it lay. The original 19th Century route from Castleton to the west threaded though Winnats Pass, a difficult mile long 1 in 5 climb between two pillars of rock. In 1847 the Manchester & Sheffield Turnpike Company decided to bypass this route, and built a more gentle road up the western slopes of nearby Mam Tor.
I don't know if the 1,700ft peak was known as the Shivering Mountain in 1847, but if t was the Manchester & Sheffield Turnpike Company missed a vital clue as to the certain failure of their project. The above southerly view shows a shady scar, known as the Mam Tor Landslide. This is essentially a 4,000 year old landslip, which when last measured ten years ago was found to be still moving at an average annual rate of 25cm.
The instability of the ground, plus the increasing amount of traffic (especially heavy lorries from the mid-20th century) resulted in major repairs being required in 1912, 1933, 1946, 1952, and 1966. In 1974 and 1977 major landslides put the road out of action for many weeks at a time; after the latter event some sections were reduced to single carriageway.
But keeping the road open was always going to be a Sisyphean task, and Derbyshire County Council recognised they were fighting losing battle in 1979. Interestingly, they chose to simply abandon the road that crossed the landslip area (just half a mile or so of tarmac) from the hairpin bend just beyond the disused Odin Lead Mine to Blue John Cavern at the top of the hill. The road was re-numbered in the year 2000; the new A625 turns south-west just before Hathersage, and joins the A623 beyond Froggatt.
The map above is the most recent Ordnance Survey map of the area. Compare this to an Ordnance Survey from around 1930 (below), and one from 1899 (double below).
And now I suppose you might like to see some pictures? Well, seeing as you've been good enough to read this far...
Gemma and me at the bus turning circle, near Blue John Cavern. This is the end (or start) of the road at the top of Mam Tor. It was a little windy.
I walked about two-thirds of the way down the road. Here is the view of the hairpin bend, just before a major section of missing road. I was amazed at how in places, the road just wasn't there; the asphalt and foundations had simple crumbled into tiny pieces and dribbled down the hill.
From the same spot, looking uphill. Note the massive steps in the road, which here is slipping down towards the bottom-left of the picture.
A little further up the hill, looking down towards Mam Farm. See how the Chapel-bound carriageway has dropped around four feet, and has then been swaddled in ballast washed out from under the Castleton-bound lane.
Below are a trio of views towards Castleton. You might just be able to make out the out-of-place cement works in the first two.
Here's my beautiful girlfriend sat on the above 'step'.
Next, a downhill view from the same step (check out the white lines still in evidence), and then a close-up of the large crack.
The same step, again from below, models unknown. Even cyclists are forced to dismount at this point.
Finally, look at this hole. JUST LOOK AT IT!
I thought that we'd have the place to ourselves, but there were plenty off people walking and cycling on this thirty-one year old tarmac corpse. I wonder what it will be like in another thirty-one years, and how long nature will take to erase any trace of the old A625. I don't feel like the Shivering Mountain is under any obligation to rush.
Coming back from a sojourn to Mothercare this afternoon, I found that the northbound carriageway of the new John Smeaton (this one, not that one) viaduct had opened up. I was surprised by this as I had thought the works would be completed in December, but the council website seems to suggest that the opening is in fact a little late.
Nevertheless, I indicated right and drove onto the new bridge. Gliding on a freshly laid tarmac surface scores of feet above a small industrial section of the Aire Valley was nice, although it was strange to be suddenly be confronted with a new vista of a familiar scene. The short section of road was light on traffic and saved me approximately 30 seconds.
i though i would resurrect a topic which started, and quickly fizzled out, at the back-end of 2005; the ever-popular investigation into 'the people behind the street names. today, it's the turn of malcolm sargent.
sir harold malcolm watts sargent lived between 29th april 1895 and 3rd october 1967. he is remembered for being a conductor, a composer, and an organist. he broadcast for bbc radio, and from 1948 until his death, we was the chief conductor of the proms. as you can see from the picture above, he was a keen collector of pairs of hands.
john harrison was a carpenter from foulby, west yorkshire. he was born on 24th march 1693, and died on his birthday, 1776.
the main thing that john harrison did during his life was to invent the world's first successful maritime clock, which was accurate enough to allow the successful determination of longitude over long distances. he is a contemporary of edmund halley, and has the intervention of king george the third to thank for obtaining the £20,000 prize promised by the board of longitude to the first man to devise a solution to the problem of measuring a ship's longitude at sea. today, his timepieces can be seen in the national maritime museum at greenwich.
another one! lloyd maunder road is in cullompton in devon, but who is/was he? i guessed maybe a star of silent movies, but this lloyd maunder made his name slightly before cinema took off.
in 1898, lloyd took over his father's butchers shop, and, er, that's it. the business continues to operate today, boasting of 'honest, inspirational west country food', and making much of it's status as a family business.
i suppose 'eight parallel production lines in our main poultry packing hall provide a capacity of 100,000 birds daily. each can be switched rapidly to different products, packs and weights before being distributed automatically by a new sorting conveyor to the waiting transport trays' is less catchy.
further in my sporadic series on the people behind the names of streets i chance upon at work.
michael tippet was born in london in 1905, and grew up in suffolk. he developed an interest in music at stamford grammar school, and enrolled at the royal college of music in 1923. after completing five years there, he moved to oxted to teach french in a prep school, and conducted a concert and operatic society.
but after the debut of his first piece in 1930, he went back to studying music, and by all accounts got rather good at composing. his work was coloured by the events of the day (recession, world wars). in fact he was sent to wormwood scrubs in 1943 for three months because he was a conscientious objector. awards include a cbe in 1959, a knighthood in 1966, and an order of merit in 1983. he continued to compose and perform until late in his life (his last major work was premiered on his ninetieth birthday), and remained a committed pacifist, as well as a humanist. he died in in london in 1998.
the road i spotted is in worcester, although i can find no link between him and it.
i come across addresses at work featuring streets, roads, avenues and lanes named after people. i often wonder who these people are, or were. so, in this first post in what will be an occasional series, i have done a little light research into cardinal hinsley.
well, i have been unable to find a picture of arthur hinsley, and there doesn't seem to be too much information about him either. he was born in selby, west yorkshire, in august 1865, and by the time he was 28, he had become a priest in the archdiosese of westminster. he was made a bishop in 1926, and at the age of 69 he became an archbishop. he was elevated to cardinal status on 13th december 1937, and obtained his final promotion in march 1943, when he died.
hinsley also gave his name to a school in north-west london.