2014:  April 01


My Second Day at Crich

There was so much to see and experience at Crich that, having come this far, a second day would certainly pay dividends. Indeed, yesterday's ticket was valid for one whole year! At the museum itself there were still things to see, and outside the museum some of the pleasant landscape also attracted my attention. I was not disappointed!

The War Memorial looks down upon the cars operating today, which included the Leeds 20s tram, the Blackpool "boat" tram (in the far distance) and the Chesterfield tram.

This is what I have in store for you today. Enjoy your visit!

Walking up to Crich

Today I looked a bit more at my surroundings. The walk up to Crich was about 1 mile with a height difference of about 0.25 kilometres. This implied an average gradient of about 16%. The weather was good, but not too hot. Perfect to enjoy the countryside - not as high as in the centre of the Peak District, but to someone like me from the South East, very attractive.

I stayed at this B&B in Whatstandwell and had immediate access to a network of suitable footpaths

Here is a view northwards from the very quiet but steep road up to Crich.
Perhaps the road was quiet because it was steep.

The road levels out as it gets closer to Crich.
The War Memorial is clearly visible, centre stage as it were.

Another view, looking back the way I came.

Passing the Town End terminus at Crich, I could see that the primrose and brown Chesterfield balcony car was running today. In fact, there were four trams in the picture: from left to right, the East Berlin tram nicknamed "Eric", the Leeds 20s tram, the Blackpool "boat" tram (in the far distance) and the Chesterfield tram.

And here is a closer view of the scene that welcomed me. The blue police box is apparently not as roomy inside as the one of Dr Who fame!

Tram Rides - Morning

It was again quite quiet today. I mean, the school parties came later in the morning and were not really an intrusion. Anyway, I think it is right that the youth of today (Hmm! Hmm!) should get some insight into of the world of their grandparents. So this morning I took some more rides and was impressed by the Alpine-like tram stretch at the northern end of the tram route. There are always new things to take in and enjoy!

The view from the Chesterfield tram is probably grander than that enjoyed in its native city (or should I say borough)! We look onto the Derwent Valley, which is a U.N.E.S.C.O. World Heritage site, being regarded by some as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Indeed, Cromford of Arkwright fame is only about a mile away.

At the Glory Mine terminus I can enjoy the full visual splendour of the restorers' craft.

As expected, the tram proudly sports the the Chesterfield crest, but look, no Latin.
Surely this was not a sign of a lack of erudition and classical knowledge on the part of the Chesterfield councillors in Edwardian times!

Here is the Paisley/Glasgow four-wheel open-topper again,
arriving after the departure of Chesterfield 7.

The inside of the open-topper looks somewhat spartan - no cloth or leatherette seating. Admittedly, it is known that not all Edwardians paid as much attention to personal cleanliness, as might be the case today; the spartan wooden seating fitted well into this situation! Edwardian cleanliness was regarded more as the province of the Edwardian well-to-do.

I catch up with Chesterfield 7 again at the Town End terminus ...

... and take the opportunity to photograph the spartan lower deck ...

... and the similarly spartan upper deck - spartan despite the top cover. As was generally the case, the top deck seats are reversible to ensure that passengers are always facing in the direction of travel. This means a bit of extra work when the tram has reached its destination: not only does the motorman change the driving controls, ensuring that the previous driving end is "deactivated", but additionally the conductor ensures that all the seat backs on the upper deck are reversed so that the seats face the new direction of travel.

As Chesterfield 7 "heads out of town" I get this shot from the tram's front balcony of
the Derby Assembly Rooms, ...

... the nicely recreated townscape with stone sets and period street furniture, ...

... and the bandstand at "Victoria Park". The Victorian bandstand was retrieved from a park in Stretford, Manchester.

At the Wakebridge stop we meet the Leeds 20s tram coming the other way.

Between Wakebridge and the Glory Mine (end of the line) there is a nice view over the Derwent Valley - the U.N.E.S.C.O. World Heritage site referred to earlier on this page.

Ahead is the Alpine-style single track leading to the Glory Mine terminus.

Coming back to Town End we pass the 20s Leeds tram on its return journey
to the Glory Mine terminus.

Workshop, Depot, Exhibitions

In the middle of the day it's time to walk around a bit and see what I may have missed yesterday. Certainly, the workshop is worth a visit. Then there are other trams and memorabilia that may have escaped my notice yesterday.

Trams need to be maintained and, where appropriate, restored. This work requires the skills of volunteers and occasionally bought-in labour. The gallery provides a nice viewing area. To the left, a 1903 LCC tram, which ran out from the centre of London towards Greenwich and Deptford, is being overhauled.

In the depot, one can see the operational Sheffield four-wheeler dating from 1900.
Queen Victoria was still alive then.

Sheffield's last tram was built in 1950 only to be withdrawn just ten years later in 1960. What a proverbial waste of money! Anyway, two of this type survived, one here and the other at Beamish.

This is one of the - I think six - Blackpool "boat" trams built in the 1930s.

Here is the London E1/1 tram again, this time sandwiched between a Blackpool and a Glasgow car.

This car may look similar to the E1/1 above, but was actually LCC's "swansong", built in 1932, as the prototype for a vast new fleet of trams that never was. This tram was the first and last of its type; in 1933 London Transport took over from the LCC and decided on tram replacement. The design features of this one-off car did however influence the design of new trams
in other cities such as Liverpool and Glasgow.

The destination blinds on this car show that it was deployed on the long route
from the Embankment to Purley.

Tram track in the centre of London used a conduit between the rails for current collection - more complicated and costly, but less unsightly, than the overhead system. As a very approximate analogy, we can compare the Southern 750 V DC third rail system to the 25 KV AC overhead system used elsewhere in Britain and on the Continent. In the case of the tram however, it was about 600 volts DC for both overhead and conduit systems.
Conduit tram track is still visible in Holborn to this day.

Here is another picture of the recently restored 1902 London United tram, ...

... which allowed its "inside" passengers to travel in sumptuous luxury. Where would you find that on today's urban transport?

Tram Rides - Afternoon

This was my last afternoon at Crich, so why not be taken for a ride? - A very scenic ride, that is. So I first caught the Paisley/Glasgow open-topper and then switched to Chesterfield 7. In each case, I took some more pictures from the front balcony. British trams were of course, usually double-ended, so the "front" always pointed in the direction of travel.

The 20s Leeds car is returning to Town End as the Paisley/Glasgow car is leaving for Glory Mine.

Here is a view from the Paisley/Glasgow open-topper across the Derwent Valley.

Having switched to Chesterfield 7, I have a chance to take in the one of its steep staircases - daily exercise for Chesterfield's able-bodied urban Edwardian commuters.

Here is another view of the "Alpine" track (leading to the Glory Mine terminus) as seen from Chesterfield 7's balcony.

On its return, Chesterfield 7 passes the "out-going" Paisley/Glasgow tram at the Wakebridge loop.

And here is the "Red Lion" pub, the pub that Stoke on Trent did not want anymore. The Red Lion roars away from his roof-top position.

Towards the Closing of the Day

There is still time to walk up to the Crich War Memorial which stands guard over Crich, the quarry and the Tram Museum. There is a panoramic 270° view from its base. Then a last there-and-back tram ride, and I am ready for "home".

I took the tram back to the Glory Mine terminus and walked up to the War Memorial high above the quarry and Crich. I assume that the quarriers have been told not to quarry too close to the memorial.

Recent storms have caused some damage, so the memorial is temporarily closed to visitors. However, even from base level, there is a good view.

Here is the view southwards towards Crich and its Norman church.

I take a last ride on Chesterfield 7, its lower deck woodwork shining in the evening sun.

Here is a final view from the top deck across the Derwent Valley.

I left Chesterfield 7 at the Glory Mine terminus
to start my walk back down the valley to my B&B in Whatstandwell.

Walking Home

It's a short walk back down the valley to my B&B in Whatstandwell. The woods are alive with the green shoots of early summer. The birds are staking out their territories with a bird song here and a bird song there. That's the way they have done it for millenia.

There is still some evening sun as I descend to the hamlet of Wakebridge.

Across the road, and I am in the final stretch of woodland.

Spring has sprung ...

... and the woods are alive with the green shoots of early summer. My B&B is close at hand. It's the end of another eventful day.