The photo id for this photograph is 342, in the Fernilee Reservoir Construction album.

Lower Valve House

Photograph added 19th May 2013


Comment 1

Left by Alan Boothby on the 23rd August 2015

Lovely stonework.

Comment 2

Left by R. S-S on the 26th August 2015

I totally agree Alan.

In fact I doubt if you would ever find a bad example of stonework on the Fernilee or Errwood projects.

As a matter of fact in the 1930's , as part of the Fernilee scheme, an underground reservoir was constructed up the valley next to Goyt's Clough Quarry. It filled the reservoir on Disley tops, Buxton Old Road, simply by gravity via a large cast iron pipe.
How would you fancy setting that out then?

But if you do venture up to the underground reservoir high up in the Goyt Valley you will also see a small amount of stonework but even this small yardage is of the highest quality.

I'll send Norm out to photograph it.

R. S-S

Comment 3

Left by Alan Boothby on the 26th August 2015

When you take a closer look at the photo, those pieces of dressed stone are not small, unless that is a dwarf sat behind the wall. I will take a ride up into the Goyt Valley tomorrow if it is fine and have a look around. A.B.

Comment 4

Left by Alan Boothby on the 27th August 2015

I went up to Goyt's clough today and found the large underground reservoir that you mention. After stumbling about in the undergrowth I found two valve outlets in very nice stonework, stonework that we will never see the likes of again. That type of stonework is called Snecked, not many masons can build it correctly today. I was always taught that no stone must be taller than it is long, the example in the photo above is perfect, I cant fault it in any way. A.B.

Comment 5

Left by Alan Boothby on the 1st September 2015

R.S-S. Like you say, you couldn't find a bad example of stonework when the two dams were built, but I can find plenty around the area of the Errwood dam that has been done of late by the so called stonemasons of today. It is a damned disgrace. A.B.

Comment 6

Left by R. S-S on the 7th September 2015

Good morning Alan,

I think I know the stonework to which you refer. If it is the wall you can lean against and look up Errwood Reservoir then all this was vandalised some years ago. The vandals must have spent quite a bit of time and goodness knows why they did it.

I was told that John Shepherd built the original wall and it was indeed first class.

When it was rebuilt, after the vandalism, I think it was done by volunteers and even though it does look very shoddy compared to the rest of the stonework you can hardly expect a postman, lorry driver and so on to recreate the workmanship of John Shepherd.
I've not seen John for a long time now, I must check up to see if he is OK.

R. S-S

Comment 7

Left by Alan Boothby on the 7th September 2015

Hello R.S-S. I have seen the wall across the dam, but that isn't what I am talking about. what I have seen are the two openings that have been built up on the valve houses, one at the top of the dam and the other at the bottom, no attempt has been made to match the original stonework.
By the way, where was the stone quarried for the Errwood dam!

Comment 8

Left by R. S-S on the 8th September 2015

Good morning Alan,

I shall go and have a look at the stonework that you have identified.

As regards just where the original stone came from; I must admit I have never given it a thought.

As you know you can sometimes identify the stone's original location by colour.
So in this case I am pretty sure we can rule out Christ Quarry, Bugsworth.
The stonework on the valve house just behind the dam wall at Fernilee has green tinges to it but this was painted on during the Second World War in an attempt to disguise it from the Luftwaffe bombers. Whoever came up with that idea I don't know. They must have thought the Luftwaffe pilots would miss the one and a half mile stretch of water behind it.

Incidentally, Alan, did you ever go across the suspension bridge which was at the top end of Fernilee Reservoir? It was a marvellous thing and built by Parkes of Northwich. There are some good photos of it on here.

R. S-S

Comment 9

Left by Alan Boothby on the 17th September 2015

You are right R.S-S. John Shepherd did build that wall out of reclaimed stone from somewhere unknown. I have also learned that John is no longer with us, he died a few years ago.
Now as for the stone on the Errwood dam buildings, I would think it came from Stancliff when they had a quarry on the left as you enter Darley Dale, I seem to think that was the same colour, but that quarry is long gone now. A.B.

Comment 10

Left by R. S-S on the 18th September 2015

Good morning AB,

That is sad news indeed. I really liked John and all his family.
They lived next door to The Board Inn on the Chapel side.

His Mum and Dad Ted and Peg had 4 sons: young Ted, John, Bernard and David. They were landscapers really but good masons as well.

Dad was always known as Old Ted and this was before the famous comedy TV show otherwise I expect he would have been known as Father Ted.

They could hardly have lived in a better house as they all liked a scoop or three.

I have seen David recently and he is OK but it is years since I last saw Bernard. The rest of them it would seem are now gone.

R. S-S

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