Category Archives: The Derbyshire Derwent Valley 2016 tour

Bell-mouth spillway

Bell-mouth spillway, Ladybower Reservoir, Derbyshire

Bell-mouth spillway, Ladybower Reservoir, Derbyshire

One of the best free shows in the Peak District National Park, in rainy seasons, is the bell-mouth spillway beside the A6013 road that skirts Ladybower Reservoir, the biggest of the three Derbyshire Derwent valley reservoirs.

The original Derwent Valley water scheme of 1899 envisaged six reservoirs but only two of these, Derwent and Howden, were built.

The engineer, Edward Sandeman, pointed out that repositioning the Derwent Dam slightly further upstream would dispense with the need for the top dam, Ronksley. Geological problems in the tributary Ashop valley led to the abandonment of the other three dams, Hagglee, Ashopton and Bamford, which were superseded by a single huge reservoir, contained by a dam at the next available nick-point, Yorkshire Bridge.

This great dam, named Ladybower after a local farm, was begun in 1935.  It drowned two villages, Derwent and Ashopton, and was so badly needed that construction continued without interruption throughout the Second World War.

It was opened by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on September 25th 1945. Designed by G H Hill & Sons of Manchester, and constructed of earth around a clay core by Richard Baillie & Sons, East Lothian, the dam is 416 yards across.  Its trench and embankment required 100,000 tons of concrete, 1,000,000 tons of earth and 100,000 tons of puddled clay.

Unlike its predecessors at Derwent and Howden, which spill their excess water over the stone sill of the dam, at Ladybower the dam has a clay core and a grassed slope downstream.

The overflow water is directed into two bell-mouth spillways, which from above look for all the world like plugholes, but are actually shaped like ear-trumpets, 80 feet across at the rim, tapering to a 15-foot pipe that emerges at the foot of the embankment.

This footage brings the still picture to life:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cg-mjoLm1Jo.  In-depth explorations can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqXGM_L7Zp0 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5BVsk9o9hw.

End of the line: Rowsley

Rowsley Old Station, Derbyshire (1978)

Rowsley Old Station, Derbyshire (1978)

The Manchester, Buxton, Matlock & Midland Junction Railway, the little railway with the long name, was an ambitious project to connect the East Midlands with Lancashire, starting at a junction with the North Midland Railway at a place called Toadhole which the railway renamed Ambergate.

The MBM&MR opened in 1849 through Cromford and Matlock as far north as Rowsley, where the Duke of Devonshire’s Chatsworth estate bounds the Duke of Rutland’s Haddon estate.

The intention, had there been sufficient capital, was to continue up the Derwent Valley, tunnelling beneath Chatsworth Park, towards Baslow, Edale or Castleton and Chinley to Cheadle.

The 6th “Bachelor” Duke of Devonshire was in favour of this route.  The company chairman was the Duke’s cousin, Lord George Henry Cavendish, and he was succeeded in 1854 by the Duke’s agent, Sir Joseph Paxton.  (Paxton’s original sketch for the Crystal Palace was in fact drawn on a sheet of MBM&MR blotting paper during a directors’ meeting at Derby.)

The 6th Duke died in 1858, and his successor had no intention of letting a railway through Chatsworth.

As it happened, the 5th Duke of Rutland died in 1857, and his successor was prepared to allow the Midland Railway to build a cut-and-cover tunnel at the back of Haddon Hall which was at the time practically derelict.

The Midland line to Manchester consequently went up the Wye Valley, through Monsal and Miller’s Dales on its way to Chinley.

And the original Rowsley station, designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, was left at the dead end of an unbuilt main line, made redundant by a new Rowsley station a few hundred yards away.

The old building survived as the goods office for sidings known as ‘The Old Yard’, and was the very last rail facility to close in Rowsley in July 1968.

After the railway closed the Old Yard was occupied by a construction company, and in 1999 the old station became a feature of the Peak Village shopping outlet:  http://www.peakshoppingvillage.com.

The original MBM&MR track is now operated from Matlock to just short of Rowsley by PeakRail, with the ultimate intention of extending the heritage railway through Haddon to Bakewell and beyond.

The 56-page, A4 handbook for the 2010 Waterways & Railways across the Derbyshire Peak tour, with text, photographs, maps, a chronology and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £15.00 including postage and packing.  To view sample pages click here.  Please send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.

Little Liverpool

Trent & Mersey Canal, Shardlow, Derbyshire, Clock Warehouse

Trent & Mersey Canal, Shardlow, Derbyshire, Clock Warehouse

All the mileposts on the Trent & Mersey Canal measure the distances between Preston Brook, at the Mersey end of the Canal, and Shardlow, the Derbyshire inland port where goods were trans-shipped between the canal barges and the bigger river boats that plied the River Trent.

The Trent & Mersey Canal was built between 1766 and 1777, and was open between Shardlow and Stafford by 1770. Its surveyor, James Brindley, died of overwork in 1772, and the responsibility for the canal passed to his brother-in-law, Hugh Henshall.

Not only did the route of the new canal lie beside the river at Shardlow, but the turnpike road that formed part of the route between London and Manchester (later the A6 road) crosses the river a few hundred yards away at Cavendish Bridge, built for the 4th Duke of Devonshire by James Paine, and swept away in a flood in 1947.

The ancient village of Shardlow lies some way to the west of the canal, so the waterside buildings grew very quickly around the road bridge and the Shardlow lock. As such it presents a collection of eighteenth-century industrial buildings, houses and inns to rival the more famous Stourport on the River Severn.

By the time John Byng, later Viscount Torrington, passed this way in 1789 the place was distinguished by –

…so many merchants’ houses, wharfs etc, sprinkled with gardens looking upon the Trent and to Castle Dunnington Hill as to form as happy a scenery of business and pleasures as can be surveyed.

Indeed, the place was known colloquially as “Little Liverpool”.

Its heyday was over by the mid-nineteenth century, though the North Staffordshire Railway maintained the Trent & Mersey Canal as a means of extending their catchment area for freight.

Most of the warehouses were adapted, particularly to store corn.

The last grain traffic on the canal ceased in 1950, and the port became moribund. The canal stables and the brewery were demolished, and much more might have been swept away during the 1970s but for the creation of the Shardlow Conservation Area in 1975.

Now the canal warehouses are back in use for boat-building, housing and leisure. The Clock Warehouse is a busy pub [http://www.clockwarehousepub.co.uk], and the Navigation Inn, which has been an inn since 1778, is a particularly fine place to eat and drink: https://www.facebook.com/navigationinnshardlow.

Caudwell’s Mill

Caudwell's Mill, Rowsley, Derbyshire

Caudwell’s Mill, Rowsley, Derbyshire

One of the most attractive Derbyshire places to visit for morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea is Caudwell’s Mill at Rowsley, a few minutes’ drive from Chatsworth or Haddon Hall:  http://www.caudwellsmill.co.uk.

The mill itself was built to produce flour and animal feed by John Caudwell in 1874, and he and his son Edward modernised it by replacing the original millstones with roller mills to make finer, purer flour for baking and installing water turbines to power them.  The last phase of this installation, by the manufacturer Amme, Giesecke & Konegen, was in progress in August 1914:  the German labourers were promptly sent home but the engineers, having finished their work, were apparently interned in the Isle of Man until 1919.  Edward Caudwell eventually settled the bill in 1924.

Caudwell’s ran as a going concern until 1977, by which time it was recognised as an intact, complete example of a distinct phase in the development of modern milling technology.

It was listed Grade II* and taken over by a trust with support from the landowner, the Duke of Rutland’s Haddon Estate, the local planning authority, the Peak Park Planning Board, and a small army of local people, industrial archaeologists and millers with financial assistance from, among others, the Architectural Heritage Fund, the Carnegie (UK) Trust, the Countryside Commission, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Science Museum.

The mill itself is open to the public, a fascinating warren of band-driven machines, hoists and Archimedean screws.  One of the turbines generates the electricity for the site.  The mill shop sells flour, oats and yeast – everything you need for quality home baking.  In the surrounding yard are craft-shops, a blacksmith, an upholsterer, a glass-maker and a jewellery maker:  http://www.caudwellsmillcraftcentre.co.uk/Thecraftcentre.htm.

The café is vegetarian and provides the sort of cream cakes that look as if they’d qualify as five-a-day:  http://www.caudwellsmillcraftcentre.co.uk/Thecafe.htm.

All this lies beside the waters of the River Wye, in one of the most beautiful of Derbyshire valleys.

Smedley’s

County Hall (formerly Smedley's Hydro), Matlock, Derbyshire

County Hall (formerly Smedley’s Hydro), Matlock, Derbyshire

Matlock owes its importance as the county town of Derbyshire primarily to two men.

The first, John Smedley (1803-1874), was a local hosiery manufacturer who made a recovery from typhus at the age of forty-three at the newly-opened Ben Rhydding Hydro near Ilkley.  He felt he owed his life to an innovative form of water-cure, hydropathy, a system of baths, compresses and treatments in mineral-free water to expel morbid impurities from the body through “putrescent excrescences”.

He underwent a religious conversion which led him to encourage temperance through the promotion of hydropathic “cures”, which he promoted as an “entirely an original system, not the cold water cure”.

In 1853 he bought a small private medical establishment serving six patients and developed it into the huge Smedley’s Hydro on Matlock Bank.

After his death the business was incorporated as Smedley’s Hydropathic Company Limited, with capital of £25,000.  The buildings were repeatedly extended until by the Edwardian period Smedley’s had 300 bedrooms.

The opulent architecture of Smedley’s Hydro reflects the gradual relaxation of its founder’s strict temperance regime:  tobacco, cards, billiards and dancing were introduced over the years, and the iron-and-glass Winter Garden of 1900 was built with a dance-floor.

What John Smedley had intended as a therapeutic establishment open to all classes gradually became a high-class hotel for those who could afford it:  eventually there was actually a licensed bar on the premises.

The comfort and luxury of Smedley’s in the early twentieth-century was a long way from its founder’s precepts banning “books, newspapers, or tracts of an irreligious character”, visitors or receiving letters on the Sabbath.

The entire building was taken over at the start of World War II and used as the Military School of Intelligence.  Business resumed in 1947, but failed to pick up, and Smedley’s Hydro closed in 1955.

At that point the second “father” of modern Matlock stepped in – Alderman Charles White (1891 -1956), the chairman of Derbyshire County Council, who spotted the opportunity to move the council’s offices from cramped sites in the centre of Derby to a huge empty building nearer the geographical centre of the county.

Smedley’s became County Offices, and in the 1990s was aggrandised as County Hall.  There is a species of rush hour up the bank and across the moors twice a day as hosts of civil servants flit in and out of the town.

Its position as the county town is no doubt the reason why Matlock retained its rail service as a branch-line when the main line to Manchester closed in 1968.  Perhaps it’s also the reason it has a Sainsbury’s.

There’s a particularly well-constructed website of Matlock and Matlock Bath history at http://www.andrewsgen.com/matlock/index.htm.

The 72-page, A4 handbook for the 2009 Derbyshire-based Taking the Waters:  the history of spas & hydros tour, with text, photographs, and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £15.00 including postage and packing.  To view sample pages click here.  Please send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.

 

Biker’s spa

Royal Well, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire

Royal Well, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire

Driving through the limestone gorge along the A6 through Matlock Bath always has a feeling of being on holiday.

The place has in fact been a resort since the end of the seventeenth century, when a mineral spring on the hillside was developed for the growing fashion for cold-bathing that had already fostered the growth of new spas such as Harrogate, Scarborough and Tunbridge Wells.

This spring still feeds into a grotto at the back of a public car-park that occupies the site of the Old Bath Hotel, latterly the Royal Hotel, which burnt down in 1929.

The New Bath Hotel of 1762-7 remained a hotel where the basement bathing pool is supplied with tepid thermal water from the original spring, until it suddenly closed in July 2012:  http://www.matlockmercury.co.uk/news/local-news/employees-and-guests-face-uncertainty-as-hotel-goes-into-liquidation-1-4731341.

Further along the valley, the Temple Hotel [http://www.templehotel.co.uk] was built in 1786 alongside the Fountain Baths, which had opened eight years previously.

A fourth hotel, known simply as the Hotel or Great Hotel, proved overambitious, and was subdivided in the 1790s into a terrace which became Museum Parade, so named after Mawe’s Old Museum which took over the enormous dining-room.

In days gone by, the appeal of Matlock Bath was that it wasn’t Buxton.  Though Buxton was anything but grand until the 5th Duke of Devonshire tried to turn it into Bath in the late eighteenth century [see Mary, Queen of Scots slept here, Buxton’s Crescent and Duke’s Dome], Matlock Bath, in a dark gorge with hardly any road access, was much more secluded.

Phyllis Hembry, the historian of British spas, described the late eighteenth-century lifestyle:  “…the company…had their meals at 1s each in common ‘in a very sociable manner’;  they dined at 2 pm and had supper at 8 pm and were free to drink as they pleased.  The evening concluded with dancing or card-playing.  Visitors inclined to exercise could take the ferry near the Old Bath, rowed by Walker the boatman, to the other river bank where he had made a Lovers’ Walk.”

Indeed, Dr Hembry relates, when the teenage 5th Duke of Rutland turned up with some friends at the end of the season in 1796 he had the place to himself.

Nowadays the main road runs through the dale, and at weekends it’s the resort of bikers, whose gleaming machines are lined up outside the cafés and chip-shops.  The black leather gear may look intimidating, but you may be sure the people inside are entirely respectable.

Indeed, when my mate Richard bid at a fantasy auction for a ride on a Harley Davison, he found himself whisked off to Matlock Bath for a greasy-spoon breakfast by a hospital consultant.

Priceless.

There’s a particularly well-constructed website of Matlock and Matlock Bath history at http://www.andrewsgen.com/matlock/index.htm.

The 72-page, A4 handbook for the 2009 Derbyshire-based Taking the Waters:  the history of spas & hydros tour, with text, photographs, and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £15.00 including postage and packing.  To view sample pages click here.  Please send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.

 

Palimpsest of the Peak

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

About fifteen years ago Andrew, 11th Duke of Devonshire, commissioned an extensive archaeological survey of the Chatsworth estate, a summary of which was published as John Barnatt & Tom Williamson, Chatsworth:  a landscape history (Windgather 2005).

It’s a revelation.

Chatsworth has, of course, been repeatedly written up, ever since the Bachelor 6th Duke produced his privately printed Handbook of Chatsworth and Hardwick in 1845.  The recent survey pulls together a full review of the archaeology and the estate’s enormous archive, backed by the evidence of maps, illustrations and modern photography.

This reveals a layered chronology of a significant area of the upland Derbyshire Peak back to prehistoric times.  In particular, since the mid-eighteenth century much of the landscape has been undisturbed, leaving evidence of prehistoric, medieval and early modern agriculture and industry that has been obliterated elsewhere in the county.

The shadowy presence of the great landscape designer, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, who is mentioned only once in the entire Chatsworth archive, is made clearer because almost all payments in the estate accounts were addressed to his “foreman” or contractor, Michael Millican.  Their work in creating the naturalistic landscape that stretches from Chatsworth House to the horizon began in 1759, financed to a great extent by the 4th Duke’s lucrative copper mine at Ecton in Staffordshire.

Another recent discovery is the complexity of the patterns of drives and roads around the estate.  It seems that the eighteenth-century landscape was primarily designed to be seen from and near the house, and largely enjoyed on foot, rather like the characters’ explorations of Mr Rushworth’s Sotherton property in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814).

During the early Victorian period, the time of the Bachelor Duke, the park was crisscrossed with wide drives, carefully contrived to give advantageous views.  Many of these have since been grassed over and largely forgotten.  It seems that in the Bachelor’s time visitors were encouraged to enjoy the mature landscape in the comfort of a carriage.

When I take groups to Chatsworth, particularly visitors from outside the UK, I make a point as the coach climbs the steep road (realigned in the early nineteenth century) from Beeley Bridge (1759) of explaining that everything within sight – buildings, grass, trees, water – is in fact contrived by man.  And you wouldn’t get planning permission for it now.  Especially as it lies in a National Park.

The portal for information about visiting Chatsworth is http://www.chatsworth.org.

 

No mushrooms – ever

Grindleford Station Café, Derbyshire

Grindleford Station Café, Derbyshire

One of the finest, and simplest, eating experiences in Derbyshire is the full breakfast at the Grindleford Station Café.

Grindleford is the first station westwards on the Hope Valley Line, which carries passenger services between Sheffield and Manchester.  This line between Dore and Chinley was a late link in the Midland Railway network, opened in 1894.  The station building, like others on the line, is a standard design, built in timber with stone footings and chimneys.

Its interior has been altered, and for well over thirty years it has housed one of the truly great hikers’ pit-stops.  Whether you walk, cycle, motor-cycle or drive it’s a rest-and-be-thankful port-in-a-storm.  You can of course reach it by train with no more effort than walking the ramp up from the platform to the bridge;  if you’re really decadent you can arrive by car.  (The station is a mile north of the village of Grindleford, on the B6521 road to Fox House.)

It was founded and driven by Philip Eastwood, a man who affected a truculence which would have been noticeable in the grumpiest eateries of Lower Manhattan.  His notices are legendary:  “Don’t even think of asking for mushrooms”, “Unaccompanied children will be sold into slavery”, “This is a serving hatch, not a gawping hatch” and “If you want to be a fire guard, join the fire brigade”.

Inevitably, some innocent customers took exception to this, but astute reviewers recognise that nobody builds a successful business by hating customers.  Review comments on http://russelldavies.typepad.com/eggbaconchipsandbeans/2004/07/grindleford_sta.html describe the service as “charmingly grumpy”, “curt but helpful”, “so awful it was wonderful”.  The place is so special its Wikipedia entry contains irony: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grindleford.

Philip Eastwood Snr died in 2007 at the age of 63, dancing at a party, and his son, also Philip, then aged nineteen, promptly gave up his business-management degree-course and his plans for an athletic career to take on the family legacy, much to the relief of the rambling community.

The café continues, and Philip Jnr has added to the notices, but long-standing visitors will sense that the new management has a gentler temperament, and some of the heart has gone out of the truculence.  A Sheffield Telegraph writer [‘Station café still on track’, January 13th 2009] even spotted one that ended with the words “Thank you”.

For cholesterol-on-a-plate breakfasts and lunches with chips piled high there is nowhere finer anywhere in the Peak District.  Don’t use the loo without making a purchase, and if you want to check if the hair-dryer’s still working, ask for mushrooms.

 

Genius of the knife, fork and spoon

David Mellor Factory, Hathersage, Derbyshire

David Mellor Factory, Hathersage, Derbyshire

My friends Doug and Marion, who share my appetite for life-enhancing experiences, took me to the David Mellor Factory  [http://www.davidmellordesign.com/visitor-centreat Hathersage, in Derbyshire, recently.

David Mellor (1930-2009) is a fascinating figure.  A Sheffield lad, the son of a toolmaker, he was the beneficiary of an education system that allowed him to begin training at art school in metalwork, pottery, woodwork, painting and decorating at the age of eleven.

As a teenage student at the Royal College of Art he designed his first cutlery, ‘Pride’, which was manufactured by the Sheffield company, Walker & Hall, in 1953, and remains David Mellor Designs’ best-selling range.  Later cutlery designs include ‘Symbol’ (1963), the first stainless-steel mass-produced cutlery, for Walker & Hall, ‘Embassy’ (1963) for use in UK embassies across the world, and ‘Thrift’ (1965), a further Government commission which combined economy with good design by reducing the number of items in a place-setting from eleven to five for bulk institutional orders ranging from prisons to railway buffets.

He made Sheffield his base, and became famous not only for cutlery, but also for Eclipse saws for James Neil, garden shears for Burgon & Ball, and much, much else.  Working with the Abacus company, he redesigned the standard British traffic-light and pedestrian crossing (1965-70).  He devised a bus shelter that ran to 140,000 units and, at the request of the Postmaster General, Tony Benn, rethought the traditional post-box:  his square design was intended to be easier to empty, but encountered much public resistance because it wasn’t round.  A letter-writer to the Scotsman newspaper complained that it would endanger passing drunks.

His first customised workshop building in Park Lane, Sheffield, was designed by Patric Guest in the early 1960s and is now a listed building.  He then took over the derelict Broom Hall, once the home of the Jessop family and dating back to the late fifteenth century, and turned it into a integrated living space and workshop, described in his Guardian obituary as “a rare example of a family house containing a 55-ton blanking press, a 180-ton coining press and two grinding machines”.

Then, in 1990, he moved his business out to the Peak District National Park, taking over the site of the former Hathersage gasworks:  here the factory, the famous Round Building, was built on the base of the demolished gasholder with a roof derived from the principle of the bicycle wheel, upending the Sheffield tradition of fragmented cutlery manufacture so that the processes were integrated within a single space.

The architect was David Mellor’s friend, Sir Michael Hopkins, whose other work includes Portcullis House opposite the Houses of Parliament, the Mound Stand at Lord’s, and the Inland Revenue building and the initial phase of the University Jubilee Campus in Nottingham.

Hopkins returned to Hathersage to convert the retort house and other ancillary buildings on the site into a shop, a restaurant and the David Mellor Design Museum, opened in 2006.

David Mellor married Fiona MacCarthy, the biographer:  their son Corin Mellor (b 1966) is now Creative Director of David Mellor Design, while their daughter Clare (b 1970) is a graphic designer.

David Mellor’s Sheffield-born near-contemporary, Roy Hattersley, added this comment to the Guardian obituary:  “William Morris urged his followers:  ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.’  Mellor extended that precept to Britain’s streets.  In the argot of Mellor’s home town, ‘he did all right’.”

The David Mellor Factory is on the B6001 south of Hathersage, just beyond the railway station.  The café is excellent and the design museum fascinating;  factory tours are held at the weekend.

The David Mellor Factory opened a new Street Scene exhibition in September 2013:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23977482.

The most comprehensive account of David Mellor’s life and work is Fiona MacCarthy’s David Mellor Master Metalworker (David Mellor Design 2013).

 

Chatelaine of Chatsworth

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire:  south front (detail)

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire: south front (detail)

There was a time when Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire could claim to be non-literary.  When her friend Evelyn Waugh sent her a copy of his biography of the Catholic theologian Ronald Knox, he inscribed it “For Darling Debo, with love from Evelyn.  You will not find a word in this to offend your Protestant sympathies”, and she noticed that every page was blank – “the perfect present,” as she described it, “for a non-reader”.

Her two masterly descriptions of her home, The House:  a portrait of Chatsworth (Macmillan 1982) and The Estate:  a view from Chatsworth (Macmillan 1990), showed her to be a charming, lucid and informative writer, with an unerring facility for the apt anecdote.

Since that time she has written extensively and has published an autobiography, Wait for me!  Memoirs of the Youngest Mitford Sister (John Murray 2010), which is characterised by the candour that contemporary memoirs allow, discussing her miscarriages and her husband’s alcoholism, with the comment, “Sixty years ago none of this would have been discussed:  it would have been swept under the carpet…in the pretence that it was not happening”.

(Andrew Devonshire, shortly before his death, wrote his own memoir, Accidents of Fortune [Michael Russell 2004], honest and modest, as befits a man who declared he won his Military Cross “for being cheerful”.)

In everything the Duchess writes, and in the interviews she gives, there is a characteristic astute common-sense, tipped with asperity – wondering, in a Sunday Times interview with Rosie Millard [September 7th 2008], if the media reporters who hounded her nephew Max Mosley had dull private lives, and vastly preferring Attlee to Blair among Labour prime ministers.

The survival of Chatsworth as a great house and a functioning landed estate is entirely attributable to the courage of Andrew, 11th Duke and to the business acumen of his duchess, Deborah.  When Edward, 10th Duke, died in 1950 four months too soon to escape death duties, it would have been an easy option for his son to sell up, pay the 80% duty and live the life of a prosperous publisher.

Instead, Andrew Devonshire took the view that he and his wife were “life custodians of what has been at Chatsworth for centuries”:  he sold outlying land, handed over Hardwick Hall to the National Trust and gave items from the Chatsworth collection worth four-fifths of the duty owed.  The debt on the actual death duty was settled by 1967;  paying off the accrued interest took until 1974.  Then, with a further sale of a single Poussin and a collection of 69 Old Master drawings, he set up a £21 million trust to maintain Chatsworth.  Visitor entry pays about one-third of the running costs;  the rest is met by the Chatsworth House Trust.

His Grace was always the first to give credit for the way his Duchess turned the estate into an extremely effective cash generator.  She took great pride in the fact that “there are no merry-go-rounds”;  her personal interest has always been in making the house and the estate popular and good value:  “I love shopkeeping better than anything.”

It’s Her Grace’s flair that created the Chatsworth Farm Shop [http://www.chatsworth.org/shop-eat/the-farm-shop], the Cavendish Hotel and Restaurant in Baslow [http://www.cavendish-hotel.net] and the Devonshire Arms Hotel, Bolton Abbey [http://www.thedevonshirearms.co.uk].

When the 11th Duke died in 2004 the title and the Devonshire estate passed to his son, Peregrine, and his duchess Amanda.  They are now making their own mark on the house and the estate:  details of the Chatsworth Masterplan can be found at http://www.chatsworth.org/the-chatsworth-masterplan.