Capturing Chinley’s ever-changing view before it’s lost for good

The crane and the chimney in Chinley show how the landscape has changed on the site of the old forge
The crane and the chimney in Chinley show how the landscape has changed on the site of the old forge

One man is on a mission to capture history before it disappears forever.

The landscape of Chinley has changed dramatically over the years, and a towering chimney offers a stark reminder of its industrial heritage.

The disused Dorma building

The disused Dorma building

Keith Holford, whose mum and auntie both worked at Forge Bleachworks at Chinley, said: “There are now so many new houses in Chinley and the forge has been knocked down and people don’t know our history so I wanted to document the views before it is lost forever.”

Starting life as an iron forge alongside the former Peak Forest Tramway, it was originally used for paper making in the 1900s before it was bought by James Hadfield.

In August 1934, a disastrous fire over the Wakes weekend in the sheeting department of the Chinley works almost caused the demise of the company.

Keith said: “The site has so much history and during the big fire Buxton Fire Brigade made a record turnout. Some of the men didn’t have the time to change, putting their uniforms over their pyjamas. The fire was the largest and the most spectacular in living memory at Chinley.”

Hadfields were acclaimed to be ahead of the game in social matters and had thriving sports teams which played in the adjoining field.

Keith, 81, of Buxton Road in Chinley, said: “After the disastrous fire many local men were thrown out of work; they set about repainting the exterior of the Primitive Methodist Chapel at Buxworth.

“During the Second World War the company switched to war work and afterwards with the gradual development of various synthetic fibres, the cotton trade nosedived.”

After being bought out by Dorma, the works finally closed in 2005 and in 2013 High Peak Borough Council granted planning consent with a density reduction to 182 houses.

Keith said: “It is such a shame that a place which employed so many people and was so full of life has been knocked down.

“I wanted to take the pictures as a snapshot of how life is now in case it changes.”