Exhibition digging into Buxton’s quarrying past hailed a success

Quarrymen exhibition, Lucy Smith
Quarrymen exhibition, Lucy Smith

Hundreds of people have flocked to the popular Quarryman exhibition featuring archived images of life at Buxton’s Tunstead Quarry.

Tarmac held a smaller exhibition in the summer which was so popular the company decided to do another exhibition with a larger set of archived images.

Quarrymen exhibition, Sue Gregory and Richard Givens

Quarrymen exhibition, Sue Gregory and Richard Givens

Frank Emerson spent five years digitising the thousands of old photos and film footage.

He said: “This exhibition was important to a lot of people, those who worked there and want to remember their time, or those who had family who worked there and want to keep the quarrying tales around for the next generation.

“We even had people who were driving through the town, saw the quarry and then heard about the exhibition.

“It has been great to see so many people here.”

Frank worked with the company’s last official photographer and took over when he retired.

He said: “It has been a labour of love, but I am so pleased it has been well received by people.”

Around 70 people have passed through the doors of Buxton Methodist Church during the seven-day exhibition, which finished today (Friday).

Tarmac has an archive of around 28,000 images dating from the late 1800s which illustrate the hard work of the quarry men and women and the often challenging conditions of the limestone industry.

Geoffrey Owen, 79, worked at the Tunstead site from 1970 until his retirement in 1991. He said: “I drove a lorry for three years, then got a job in the joiner’s department.

“It has been nice to come and see the site and I have even seen people I used to work with, which was nice.”

The exhibition was focused on themes such as transport, landscape or working practices.

Chris Tarr, 30, works at the site. He said: “Looking at some of these pictures, it’s hard to imagine life back then.

“The safety aspect of the job has changed so much, we wouldn’t be allowed to operate like that now.”