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Smithy, Upper Lumsdale

A Grade II Listed Building in Matlock, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.1408 / 53°8'26"N

Longitude: -1.5341 / 1°32'2"W

OS Eastings: 431260

OS Northings: 360504

OS Grid: SK312605

Mapcode National: GBR 6B8.2Z5

Mapcode Global: WHCDP.DBP1

Entry Name: Smithy, Upper Lumsdale

Listing Date: 4 February 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1429403

Location: Matlock Town, Derbyshire Dales, Derbyshire, DE4

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales

Civil Parish: Matlock Town

Built-Up Area: Matlock

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Tansley Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Derby

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Mid-to-late C19 smithy.


Derbyshire gritstone, with a stone slate roof covering.

The Smithy is square on plan.

The smithy is single-storey with a gabled roof, and has a chimney to the north-east end. The building is entered through an early C20 double-leaf timber door with metal hinges and straps in the south-west elevation. The doorway has a keystone lintel above a timber lintel, and substantial quoining. There is a single two-light flush mullion window in the south-east elevation.

The smithy building is connected to the walls of the former bleach works by a seven-course gritstone wall extending from the northern corner of the smithy. This corner is indented on both the north-east and north-west elevations, and has been bricked up from the inside. This appears to show how the smithy was previously attached to the rest of the bleach works.

There are two wells associated with the smithy - the first is located outside just east of the northern corner of the building; the second, a covered well, is situated inside the bleach works complex, to the west of the northern corner of the smithy.

There is an area of flag stones to the left side of the entrance, and a gate pier attached to the south-east wall of the smithy, a C20 gate, and the wall then continues to the southern boundary of the site.

On entering the smithy, the hearth is directly ahead, with the chimney tapering up towards the ceiling. There is an anvil stone in the centre of the room, and a rectangular stone water trough on the north-west wall, to the left side of the hearth, used to cool heated metal. A metal rod, used for hanging tools, runs from a central pier on the north-west wall to the corner of the hearth. There is a shallow alcove in the south-east wall, to the right-hand side of the hearth. The hearth is constructed of gritstone blocks, with a wide stone ‘sill’ which is worn away where tools heated in the fire were worked. Beneath the ‘sill’ there are three recesses, perhaps to enable air circulation or to store buckets of water. The hearth’s lintel is made up of a central keystone with a single wide stone to either side. Beneath this is a metal support, presumably inserted in the C20. There is an opening in the left-hand side of the hearth for bellows to be used.

The window and blocked opening on the south-east wall have timber lintels. The timber roof structure, which has been replaced in the C20, is supported by the stone pier on the NW wall.


The name Lumsdale is believed to originate from the old word 'Lum' meaning chimney, implying this was a 'valley of chimneys', a likely reference to the intensive industrial activity recorded in the valley. Lumsdale has been the home to industry from at least the late C16 when the available water power was used for the smelting of lead. By 1790 the lead workings in Lumsdale had ceased to operate and the original lead smelting sites were used for other industrial processes, including bleaching, corn milling and the grinding of red lead, barytes and other minerals.

Lumsdale was also an ideal location within which to take advantage of the late C18 speculative boom in cotton spinning following the development of the first purpose-built cotton-spinning mill by Richard Arkwright at Cromford in 1771, and Lumsdale and Tansley (which lies south of the scheduled area ) saw the development of textile mills and associated textile processing sites. Towards the end of the C18, following the cessation of Arkwright's patents, there was a high demand for water-powered sites which could be converted to textile use, and the industrial remains which are visible above ground in Upper Lumsdale today owe their basic forms to the first wave of expansion of the Arkwright factory system from 1784 onwards.

The earliest purpose-built cotton mill within the Lumsdale Valley was a three-storey building now known as Gartons Mill (also known as Lower Bleach Works), located at the southern end of the currently scheduled area. The mill was built in the 1780s by Watts, Lowe and Co. A mill dam was constructed close to the present Bone Mill site, followed soon afterwards by a second reservoir pond to the north of Pond Cottages. The remains of the cotton mill survives alongside the remains of other water-powered sites such as the Paint Mill, the Upper Bleach works and the Saw Mill, the last major industrial site to be developed in the valley, starting life as a mineral grinding mill. A third pond close to the Saw Mill site was created to provide a reliable supply of water for mills further down the valley.

Lumsdale’s industrial sites were not the only built presence in the valley landscape. Houses, both for workers and for the owners of industrial sites, were built, together with buildings for agriculture, as much of the area surrounding the industrial heart of Lumsdale was fertile agricultural land. Many of these non-industrial buildings remain in use, in contrast to the mill sites which gradually fell out of use in the late C19 and early C20.

Since that time, there has been a continuous decline in the integrity of the standing remains of the industrial buildings, as a result of both natural degradation and the removal of building materials. In 1976 the Arkwright Society leased the land and in 1979 a committee of Lumsdale residents was formed with the aim of conserving the historic character of the valley. In 1980 the Lumsdale Conservation Area was designated by the Local Planning Authority, and in 1981 work began on restoring the pond close to the Saw Mill site, a task completed in 1983. Work has recently begun on dredging and restoring the second reservoir pond near Pond Cottages. In 2015, the national importance of the valley was recognised when a significant proportion of the valley landscape, including the remains of former industrial sites and their associated water management systems were scheduled by English Heritage (now Historic England).

Located to the south of Lower Bleach Works, the smithy served what was formerly known as Garton’s Mill. The mill survives as a two storey ruin with blocked window openings; the bleach works later functioned within the adapted mill building. The first edition Ordnance Survey (OS) map of 1876 shows an outline of the bleach works, incorporating the smithy in its present position, together with the portion of wall extending to the south. The footprint of the bleach works and smithy remains the same on the 1922 OS map, and it is not clear when the smithy became detached. A late-C19 photograph of Garton’s Mill shows the smithy in the foreground, with what appears to be a lean-to roof between it and the main bleach works building to the north.

Reasons for Listing

The Smithy, Upper Lumsdale, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: as a good example of a small early-to-mid C19 smithy which clearly reflects the industrial process for which it was built;

* Intactness: the fixtures and fittings required for metal working survive with a high degree of intactness;

* Historic interest: as an important reminder of the role of smithies in the industrial process in general, and within the context of the Lumsdale valley in particular;

* Group Value: strong geographic and historic group value with the scheduled monument at Lumsdale, notably the scheduled remains of Lower Bleach works (also known as Gartons Mill), as well as the local conservation area.

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