Products in the “Derbyshire & Peak District” Category
by Professor Brian Robinson
Numbered limited edition (500) signed by the author
Scarthin Books' most legendary publication, first issued 20 years ago, with new content and never-before released photographs.
The Derwent and Howden Dams are a principal source of drinking water for much of South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and the East Midlands, including the cities of Sheffield, Derby, Leicester and Nottingham. They are magnificent engineering and architectural structures and have acquired additional fame as one of several locations used in training the Dambusters Squadron. Prof. Brian Robinson’s grandfather worked on the project and his mother was born in the temporary navvies’ village of Birchinlee in 1909, and indeed Brian himself has the stature of a powerful workman. Though a molecular biologist by profession, Prof. Robinson has had a lifelong interest in the construction of the Dams and in the lives of the workmen employed there, and in 1993, Scarthin Books of Cromford, Derbyshire were able, with support from the Severn Trent Water Authority, to publish his highly illustrated magnum opus, Walls across the Valley; The Building of the Howden and Derwent Dams in an edition of some 1500 copies. “Walls” has been out of print now for over a decade and has become Scarthin’s most legendary publication, with the few examples that come onto the market selling for £200 or more. At the time of writing, not a single copy for sale can be traced on the net.
The building of the Dams was one of the great engineering feats of the early 20th. Century, involving the building of a railway up the valley and the village for the workmen, Birchinlee and the moving of well over a million tons of earth, stone and cement. The opening ceremony was held on the 5th of September 1912, so centenary celebrations are not far in the future.
The publication of the first edition of Walls across the Valley brought to light much new material, as well as a few factual revisions, and as the original edition sold out, Brian Robinson and publisher David Mitchell invested much time and effort in revising the text, but production of a second edition was beset by technical gremlins too costly to overcome and ten years past before Scarthin Books took up the challenge again. The advance of publishing technology has allowed this scholarly and superbly-illustrated volume to be completely re-originated with the revised text, and long-established Sheffield firm J.W.Northend have undertaken to print it to their accustomed high standards.
Walk the Peak 2
by Rod Dunn
Special Price of £20 (Hardback)
Signed by the Author
Beautiful photographic guide to another fifty walks in The Peak District, extensively illustrated throughout, following on from the hugely successful Walk the Peak (now out of print) by local photographer and keen walker Rod Dunn.
This volume takes you on a journey from north to south through The Peak District, describing many paths seldom trodden.
Day Walks in the Peak District: 20 Classic Circular Routes
Norman Taylor & Barry Pope
Second Edition 2012
A pocket-sized walking book featuring 20 circular walks, between 8.25 and 12 miles in length suitable for hill walkers of all abilities.
The routes are split into three areas - The High Moors, Hill Tors & Edges and Limestone Country - and feature walks around some of the most wild and beautiful places in the Peak District.
Contains Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps
A Peak District Anthology: A Literary Companion to Britain's First National Park
Compiled by Roly Smith
This anthology brings together the finest writing about the Peak District through the ages. Compiled and introduced by Peak District expert Roly Smith, it revives many forgotten descriptions of what many people believe is the finest, most varied and best-loved landscape in the whole of Britain.
Forms of Intrigue and Woven Spaces
by Laura Ellen Bacon
For over a decade Derbyshire artist Laura Ellen Bacon has been making art of a unique and compelling quality.
As she says in her latest book, " The ambition in my work is to generate a kind of intrigue and an appeal that touches a powerful nerve (perhaps ancient in its origin) that we cannot precisely locate".
Laura's work uses mainly willow, weaving large and complex structures outdoors. Initially I see them as nests, large and strange, yet recognisable, and I wonder what kind of creature could have made them. But then the more I look at them, the more mysterious they seem and I am indeed intrigued. They seem to take on alien forms and then seem alive, like creatures. The one at the Arts and crafts house in Cumbria certainly looks to my eyes like an animal scaling the wall.
Laura herself says "as if the work will continue to grow when the viewer's back is turned " and even in the book there is an almost hallucinatory sense of movement in much of her works.
Like Andy Goldsworthy and other environmental artists, her work seems both a natural part of the the environment and a striking addition to it. The installations on houses and walls bring nature in contact with man-made structures in ways that are unsettling - the one at the Artist's House in Wiltshire seems almost threatening in the way that the nest-like structures creep along the house, reminding one of the power of nature, whilst at the same time reminiscent of an alien invasion.
The works require hours of repetitive work and, close-up, the repetitive yet complex patterns of the works are quite mesmerising. She also works in other materials, I was struck by her use of old computer cabling for her installation in London.
Willow is her main medium and she has recently begun to weave large structures that allow the interiors to be experienced. On pages 48-49 there is a striking structure appropriately called "into the weave", at Derby Museum and Art Gallery.
The book is a very well produced and illustrated introduction to Laura Bacon's work, and a bargain at the price, but it should serve as a spur to get out and view her work in its locations, which really bring home just what a talented and exciting artist she is.
by Doreen Buxton and Christopher Charlton
Published by The Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Educational Trust (November 2013)
Soft Cover, £18 ISBN 9780954194062
This richly illustrated book examines some aspects of the development of Cromford and Scarthin from the mid eighteenth century. It recognises, as it must, a village largely shaped by several generations of the Arkwright family but introduces a wider cast of local characters; the mill-building George Evans of Bonsall and Cromford; the neighbouring gentry, the Gels of Hopton; the financier Peter Nightingale of Lea and several generations of the Wheatcroft family who spread the name of Cromford nationwide along the country's network of canals. Also featured is a later resident, Charles White, the concealed hand behind the Lea Mills strike of 1911-12 and a colourful local politician who was to become West Derbyshire's Member of Parliament.
In the austere conditions of the 1920s and 30s, with the Arkwright family gone and a squire's paternalistic hand no longer directing affairs, the village learned to manage for itself. Then in 1971 when the Arkwright Festival was held to celebrate the bicentenary of Richard Arkwright's arrival in Cromford, it found itself in the spotlight of heritage celebrity, recognition which in 2001 led to its achieving a central position in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.