Stanley Village - Part 6 - A Bus To The Pit
w/e 31 December 2006
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Welcome To Stanley Village

Station RoadWe started our journey through Stanley Village at the south west corner in July 2006 under clear blue skies and in warm sunshine. Now as we approach the north eastern edge of the village we have travelled not only through the village streets but also through the seasons and this sixth part will see us reach the end of our travels on a misty day in December under a featureless grey sky. We will however refer back to some previous sites we have already seen as we head off along Station Road picking up the route at the end of New Street where we left off in Part 5. It was in New Street that a certain Norman Frost set up his business.

Felix Bus

Bridge HouseNorman Frost's GraveMr Frost was born at the Bridge Inn (see Part 1) and he became the pioneer of the local bus service - Felix. Starting with a service into Ilkeston at weekends only he soon developed a two-hourly service to Derby. Further expansion necessitated a move from New Street to Station Road and it still operates from there today. Mr Frost died in 1975 and is buried at St Andrew's Church in the village (see Part 4).
Felix Garage

The move to Station Road took place in 1936 and both the house and the garage were built using the "Stanley Building Block" made from locally quarried sandstone by the Stanley Excelsior Rubbing Stone Company (also mentioned in Part 1).
Stanley Grange Farm

Access to Stanley GrangeAlmost directly opposite the Felix Garage and accessed by this farm track (right) is Stanley Grange Farm. The farm straddles the boundary between the Stanley and Dale parishes although most of it lies on the Stanley side. Zooming in on the farm below shows its proximity to the Cat and Fiddle Mill, also known as Dale Windmill which we saw previously in the series about Dale Abbey Village. In that series we also saw Baldock Mill, a water-powered corn mill which is situated in the same valley as the farm at the side of Cat and Fiddle Lane and a little further to the left of the view below. The water supply was taken from Stanley Brook.

Stanley Grange Farm

Stanley Grange Farm has developed on the site of a monastic farm that belonged to the Abbey at Dale and remnants of earlier buildings can still be found on the farm. In the seventeenth century the Grange was for a time a Catholic School but suffered under the religious persecution of the time. It was raided three times, the second time in 1637 after questions had been asked about it in the House of Commons and again in 1642 when a Parliamentary Force searched for Royalist arms. The school eventually moved to a "safer" place!
Our route now continues along Station Road to a "T" junction. If we were to carry straight on along Cat and Fiddle Lane we would pass the West Hallam Storage Depot and Baldock Mill and climb the hill to the Cat and Fiddle Windmill. But our route out of the village is to the left and over the old railway bridge. From the bridge, we can see in the middle distance on the right of the image below, the storage depot. The site was developed during the Second World War as an ordnance depot with a staff of about 100 and its own rail network and was at its busiest in 1944 storing and preparing equipment prior to the D-Day landings. In peace time it has continued as a storage place and is now used by a number of different companies.

Station House

Apart from the bridge little else remains of the railway except Station House which is now in use as a garden centre/nursery. The Great Northern Railway (GNR) cut an east-west line through Stanley in 1876/7 and the Stanley Station opened in 1878. Confusion with another GNR station of the same name in Yorkshire soon resulted in Derbyshire's station being renamed "West Hallam for Dale Abbey". See here for more images of Station House captured in 2002. It is difficult to believe given its present appearance that at the start of the twentieth century, some 90,000 people used the station each year.
Milk Gate

As well as passenger traffic, coal was of course an important commodity that utilised the rail network and the farming community also used the service. A daily milk train stopped to collect churns that farmers unloaded at the "milk gate" at the side of the road bridge. The line was closed in 1964 but more than forty years later, the "milk gate" still survives at the side of the bridge.
Nibby Pit

Much of the coal transported by the railway came from the adjacent Stanley Colliery, one of many pits in this corner of Derbyshire until its sad demise in the middle of the last century. Stanley Colliery acquired a nickname of "Nibble 'em" or "Nibby". The name arose due to cuts in the miners' wages in the early days of mining and stuck throughout its life - and beyond as even today people who remember the mine, still refer to it as Nibby Pit. The main shaft was sunk in 1895 by the Mapperley Colliery Company - the same company that donated the base for the War Memorial (see Part 3). Discovery of an underground stream hindered progress but the water was harnessed and produced some 300,000 gallons a day to supply the surrounding villages of Stanley, Stanley Common, West Hallam and Smalley Common.

BathsDeep mine working continued through the first half of the twentieth century but ceased in 1959. The drift mine closed two years later but at its peak Nibby Pit had employed between six and seven hundred men. Only a few years earlier in 1953, the new pit baths (right) had been opened and when not being used by the colliery, they were made available to the local community. The baths and some other of the old colliery buildings (above) are still standing but nowadays they are used by a number of alternative companies. Like coal mining, this series about Stanley Village has now come to an end but while the mining industry may be a thing of the past, the camaraderie of the workforce is still fondly remembered in the area.

 Back to Part 5

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