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DorisMemories of Golden Valley By Doris Una Ball (Nee Palmer)

Thanks to her daughter, Maureen Taylor, for these pages - Page 1 Life And Times
(Go to Menu)

Doris was born in Golden Valley in 1926,
her books were on sale in aid of The Air Ambulance Service

Dedication to my Mother
Lucy Palmer - nee Hawkins

1905- 1993
Mrs Daisy Miller (retired)
who was affectionately known as "Mrs Golden Valley",
who taught at St. Mathias Church of England School for
33 years. She was an inspiration to everyone.

After writing of my own memories of Golden Valley, I have received requests to write another chapter of the history, characteristics and characters of the village.

Owned by Butterley Company Ltd., which was established in 1790, known originally as Benjamin Outram & Co. Coal Mine, Foundry and Landowners. The derivation of the name "Golden Valley" is said to be because of the great mineral wealth in the area.

Cromford Canal was cut through from Cromford to Langley Bridge and opened in 1793. Benjamin Outram and William Jessop were the engineers of the canal which became an essential development of the Company for the transportation of coal, iron ore, and other sundries. Housing accommodation for the men working in the new industries was necessary. Ironville and Golden Valley were born.

Stone Row at the bottom of the 'Valley'

The first twenty houses built in Golden Valley was the long Stone Row in 1795. Later, in the early 1800's several rows of brick houses were built with gardens at the front or back, a small back yard with a coal-house and bucket lavatories. Three "gennels" gave access to either the back or front of the houses. There were walled ash-pits, one to each row of houses where housewives emptied cold ashes and buckets of rubbish.

There was no road lighting in the early days. My mother remembered gas lamps being erected, she was born at No.12 in 1905. A lamplighter travelled around with a long pole lighting the gas lamps each evening and extinguishing them each morning, at the same time tapping with the pole on the upstairs windows of the men who needed arousing for early shifts at the mine. Eventually set time clocks automatically lit up the lamps and put them out. The row of houses parallel to the main road and the two cottages at the bottom of the village standing by the reservoir were the property of mine owners James Oakes & Co..

Group of miners digging for coal beneath the Church during the 1926 Strike

The main road cottage's lavatories were on the opposite side of the road situated at the bottom end of long gardens. Just imagine going out to the privy on a cold, frosty or snow and wet nights. Often they were rat infested as the outhouses consisted of a hole in the ground with a holed board over it. I was told by one of the old residents, they often threw a brick into the privy before entering, ensuring no wild life was present.

Knowts Hall Farm and cottage were built in the year 1665 of stone bought from semi-ruins of Codnor Castle, possibly by retainers of the Castle. The farm and cottage together with land around Butterley Park was bought by Benjamin Outram and Co. in 1801. Recorded in the Census of 1841 there lived at Knowts Hall, the farming families of Benjamin Outram and his wife Hannah. Benjamin was a relative of the engineer and founder of Benjamin Outram and Co.. By the year 1861 a farmer named John Wayne and family occupied Knowts Hall, farming 96 acres of land. From the late 1890's until late 1930's, the farm was rented by Richard Briddon (Dickie). The last farming tenant was George Payne until 1948. The Butterley Co. Ltd., as it became known, decided to farm many of the farms which they owned, thus ending the tenancy of the farms. This was in the year the mines were Nationalised and became "The National Coal Board".

Butterley Co. no longer owned the mines, their interests were directed into farming. The farms were given a new look. Farm managers or Bailiffs were appointed to manage the particular branch of farming whether it be arable, pig, poultry or cattle. It was at this time my husband and I were given the living accommodation of Knowts Hall Farm House, which was divided into two houses. Myhusband began farming for the Farms Department. Our daughter was born at Knowts Hall in 1950.

The Newlands Inn was most certainly built before the village, somewhere around 1759. The road was already in existence according to old survey maps and was called Greenway, an extension of Greenhill Lane, Riddings. The earliest known landlord was Richard Elnor who married into the farming Briddon family. The Briddons followed Elnor as landlords and owners of the Inn which was then taken over by James Oakes, the mine, land and foundry owners. They had come to live in the area 190 years ago. Other landlords were Mr J Burton, Mr Aloysious King, who was an abstainer of intoxicating drink, Mr. R Hunt, Mr. Nuttali and Mr Watts, the present landlord is Mr. Paul Birks.

Golden Valley Co-op 1910
Golden Valley Co-op 1910

In the year 1861, it is recorded that a Dr. John Tyler Featherstone resided in the stone house attached to the shop, living with his sister, a groom and a servant. His horse and trap housed in the Top Yard Building opposite the Newlands Inn. The shop was once kept by a grocer named Cartledge, he and his family lived in the Bank-side Cottages by the canal, behind the shop. His neighbour and grocery assistant was William Habgood and family. The shop eventually became the Ripley Co-operative Society until closure in the early 1960's.

St. Mathias Church was built in 1876, it became a combined Church and Infants School. A Church of England School was a Golden Valley tradition. An old building which served a similar purpose once stood at the bottom end of the village. This building was eventually converted into two cottages and were demolished many years ago. The bricks for St. Mathias Church were brought down the Cromford Canal from Buckland Hollow. For a considerable distance from Hammersmith, Ripley to Golden Valley, the journey was by tunnel (known as Butterley Tunnel). The only means of propulsion was for the bargemen to lie flat and foot it against the roof of the tunnel. One of the Church's features was a lovely stained glass window unveiled in memory of the Rev. Henry Wright of Swanwick.

During school hours a partition separated the alter from the nave. At the age of seven the children were transferred to Ironville or Riddings Junior Schools. In 1865 the certified teacher was Hannah Fawcett followed by Ann Sharratt, Katherine Clegg, Henrietta Colburn. Annie Ratcliffe and for many years a Mrs. Bramley from Codnor Park. She was succeeded by Mrs. Ruth Cox who was Head teacher for over 20 years. Mrs. Daisy Miller followed Mrs. Cox and she held office for 33 years, she was affectionately known as "Mrs. Golden Valley".



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