Saturday, 29 December 2012


Hidden away behind the high hills of North Derbyshire and served only along a by-road, Chinley feels remote.  The fact that one can be in Manchester in 30 minutes by a fast train has turned Chinley into something of a commuter village. It is the presence of the railway that caused this community to grow from a small hamlet, for this was once a major railway junction with a station of six platforms. London trains regularly called here as did services to Sheffield, Derby, Buxton, Manchester and beyond. The station once boasted a refreshment room and bookstall as well as the usual waiting rooms and booking offices. There was a large goods yard, a turntable and two signal boxes. The station now has a train every two hours and passengers wait in a glazed shelter on the single island platform.

On the train  from Manchester Central to Chinley

Sleep descended upon the ruddy gentleman who had been with friends and when the train stopped at Withington a "good samaritan" joggled him and shouted "Withington, D'y' want to ger out 'ere?. The dreamy one shook his head in sleepy denial and snored again until awakened at Didsbury by the same kind hand and voice. . At Heaton Mersey the voluntary knocker-up repeated his dose of questions, accompanied by the usual shaking, and finally, at Stockport, really aroused his patient and harangued him thus: "I'm gerrin' out 'ere myself. This is Stockport!  See Stockport!.  D'y want to ger out 'ere?  "No" said the patient. "Where d'y' want to ger out then?"  "Chinley". "Oh!" muttered the good man as he banged the door. "An' now" murmured his protege, settling himself in comfort, "now p'raps I can get a wink o' sleep."

February 1912

A Sleepy Stranger

On Easter Monday 1913, a stranger turned up in Chinley. Despite never having seen the man before, a railway official and his wife took him in. He immediately fell asleep and despite the efforts of doctors did not awake for a week. He stated his intention to walk to Bakewell but he got no further than Buxton where he was found sleeping at the roadside. He was carried into a house and then to Buxton Cottage Hospital where he remained for three days. Still asleep he was transferred to the infirmary at Chapel-en-le-Frith Union Workhouse where he slept for another five days.45 years old he had arrived in Englad after spending 25 years in the United States. He said that he could feel the coma coming on and had at times walked the streets of New York, all night long in order to stay awake. He carried papers which gave his case history in America. He was treated for neurasthenia in a Californian sanitorium. He had been found in October 1910 in an old log cabin in Canada. Barely alive, a number of men had assembled to hold an inquest on him but they were able to nurse him back to health. A New York charity had supported him and his relatives had spent a great deal of money on his treatment.

A Horrible Nuisance

In March 1926 the Parish Council received a complaint about open air religious services.  Councillor Murray asked if the Council had the power to stop these services which he described as a horrible nuisance. Chinley had plenty of churches and chapels and there was no need for "Salvation Army" tactics. The services were held by people who shouted at the top of their voices while children "lolled on walls and joked".  Mr Green said that the services were a damned nuisance and that personal remarks were made.  The Council chairman thought that this was a matter for the police and would see what could be done.

A Gruesome Event

As the 12.47 train from Chinley passed through Edale, a railwayman noticed two men throw a parcel onto the platform. On examining the package he found that it contained a child's decomposed body. He telephoned ahead to the next station where the two men were interviewed. On boarding the train at Chinley, they found a parcel in the compartment. On reaching Edale, they could no longer stand the smell and threw it out of the window.

An Electricity Boycott.

Electricity was arriving in Chinley in July 1929 supplied through overheard cables along the roadside. Such was the objection to this eyesore that a petition of 120 names demanded the immediate removal and burial of the cables. The Chinley Women's Institute also objected to the cutting of trees that were in the way of the power lines.  Unless immediate action was taken by the electricity company, the petitioners would refues to use the power supply. The Paris Council endorsed the petition and resolved to submit it to the electricity company.

Let Parliament Decide

An argument over a footpath reached Parliament in 1930. The L.M.S.Railway had sought to close a footpath which crossed it's tracks in Chinley and which they considerd dangerous. Local magistrates had granted an order stopping the footpath but this had been overturned on appeal to the Derby Quarter Sessions. The railway company was having to resort to a parliamentary bill in order to achive their aims. The Peak District and Northern Counties Footpaths Association was fighting the closure which they stated was used by thousands of people each year.

Pull The Other One

A Chinley doctor appeared before Salford magistrates in November 1934 charged with driving under the influence of drink and of driving without due care and attention. He had been observed by a police superintendent, holding onto his car following a collision with a taxi. He was unsteady on his feet and smelled of drink. He was later seen by the police doctor and by an inspector both of whom wer of the same opinion. In his defence, itwas said that his slurred speech was due to bad teeth and his unsteady gait due to one leg being shorter than the other. Consultation with another doctor had caused the police surgeon to change his opinion. He had learned that the accused suffered from a complaint that always gave the impression of being under the influence.
The magistrates believed the defence and found the Chinley man guilty only of the lesser charge.

Not Chinley's Turn

A squabble over which village should host the 1937 Coronation celebration lasted for two months. It was Chinley that held the Jubilee celebrations, now it's our turn said Bugsworth.  Every resident on Brownside was on their committee so they rsolved to hold their own event. The row started when the vicar said that Bugsworth was being "left out in the cold". The Parish Council eventually agreed that Bugsworth should be the venue and that beacons should be lit on the peaks of Cracken Edge and Eccles Pike

Another Chinley motorist acused of drink driving gave the excuse that he was a beekeeper and having been stung, drank two double whiskies as he felt ill. The magistrates were not sympathetic and suspended his licence for two years. He was also fined £40, rather a large sum in 1939.

An Aeroplane Crash

Seven year old George, from a farm near Chinley reported seeing a plane crash at the top of Jacob's Ladder, a path leading up Kinder Scout. He ran home to tell his mother. His sister ran down the hill to tell the railway signalman at Cowburn Tunnel. He sent a telegraph to the Station Master at Edale Station who passed the message to Police Sergeant Birch at Castleton.  The police called out the R.A.F., the Fire Brigade and Ambulance and jeeps with wireless transmitters. The moorland was frost and ice bound but visibility was very good. At last, at dusk, the Flight Lieutenant in charge decided to call off the search thinking that a crash had been unlikely. It was thought that George had seen a plane disappearing behind a bank of cloud and hearing a loud noise had come to the wrong conclusion.

Cracken Edge

Crichton Porteous, writing in September 1951, tells of the stone quarries and mines, high up on Cracken Edge.

"Stone for floors and roofs came out of special quarries. On Cracken Egde, over Chinley, the stone was got from underground, as out of a pit.  The orad to this quarry was so bad that my father-in-law's father after going up once with a horse and cart swore he would never do so again. But soe men went up regularly and having no brakes, would chain a greatheap of slates behind - as many as they had in their carts- and let them drag. At the bottom the chains were undone, the load in the cart was delivered, and then the secod load waiting at the foot of the Edge was returned for. The floor in my father-in-law's father's kitchen consisted of two slabs only, out of this quarry, each six feet square. They must have weighed half a tom apiece. Before the quarry shut down, flagstones could be had for very little indeed. Next they could not be got rid of. Concreting had killed the trade"

A Tourist Attraction

For 40 years Chinley had campaigned for the provision of a public lavatory. Now,  this new facility, was causing great controversy. Some local residents and the Women's Co-operative Guild went so far as to accuse the Parish Council of treating the matter frivolously.
There was criticism of the siting and type of signs indicating the convenience. A councillor stated that if they were not removed, the village was in danger of becoming a rendezvous for busloads of tourists, revellers and bottle parties. A colleague pointed out that it was no good building a convenience and then hiding it away.
A letter had been received by the council compaining that "All dignity and peace had been destroyed. There was aconstant banging of car and lavatory doors, even in the early hours of the morning. It is a sorry state of affairs in a bit of rural England."
The council resolved to plant a hedge around the building.

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