Thursday, 18 January 2018

Water Football with Water, Biscuits (1)

Ashbourne is a market town in the Derbyshire Dales, England. It has a population of 7,112. It contains many historical buildings and many independent shops. Due to its proximity to the southern edge of the Peak District and being the closest town to the popular area of Dovedale, the town is known as both the 'Gateway to Dovedale' and the 'Gateway to the Peak District'.

To his shame fbb has passed through only twice; once as a teenager with parents and once in the early days of married life en route to from Derby to Sheffield "the pretty way". His memory from both visits is an advertising sign which spans the main street ...
Entering the town from the south along the A515 from Lichfield, you pass a very railway-like building.
It is all that remains of the town's station infrastructure, being a rather splendid London and North Western Railway (LNWR) goods shed. But, more than that, it is built roughly on the site of Ashbourne's first railway station, a terminus on the line owned by the North Staffordshire Railway NSR). This opened in 1852.

The LNWR desperately wanted a line into Buxton to compete with their arch-rivals the Midland Railway (MR). Thus it was that the LNWR bought the Cromford and High Peak Railway and used its northern section as the start of a line south to Ashbourne.
The exit from Buxton LNWR station involved a sharp curve and a long and substantial viaduct ...
... which still dominates this rather unattractive part of town.
The competitive rail companies operated from matching stations, both with magnificent fan windows at the buffer stop end.
The town council insisted that the stations should match the architectural quality of the town's prominent buildings and the great Joseph Paxton, of Crystal Palace fame, delivered fine buildings each with an overall roof.

The MR station is long gone but the fan window of the LNWR building is, at least. preserved.
The new line approached Ashbourne via a splendid tunnel seen here under construction in about 1879.
A new and bigger station was opened in 1899 slightly nearer the town on the curve that led from the tunnel mouth to the site of the old terminus. Oddly, some maps (dating from the 1930s) show both stations at in operation.
On the opposite side of the road from the station entrance we can see the imposing building of the Station Hotel.
This hostelry still stands ...
... on a station-less Station Road. The platforms and other appurtenances were last used for regular service in 1954, but the line remained in use for excursions for another ten years. Typically it is now a car park ...
... with the Station Hotel to give us its location. At the far end of the car park is the start of the Tissington Trail which uses the tunnel ...
... and continues along the very curvaceous track bed.

Water Football?
One of the dotty delights of Ashbourne's calendar of events is the Shrove Tuesday "Football" match. The "game" moves along (and in!) the Henmore Brook.
A particpant was once asked about the event. "Does it have rules or is it a free-for-all?" he was asked.

"Yes!" came the helpful reply.

Of course, one of the many "spring" waters on which people waste their money in the mistaken impression that it is better for you than the stuff from the tap is/was mined there.
Does it still exist? Its future was dodgy in 2006.
But Biscuits?

 Next Ashbourne blog : Friday 19th January 


  1. This is completely off topic, but in N&P theres a new registration "SOMERSET PASSENGER SOLUTIONS LTD", with some well known names such as Fearnley. Is it some new creature of First?

    1. Not new at all. It is a JV to provide transport for the Hinckley Point construction project - been around since 2014

    2. Thank you, but why is the registration "new"?