National Stone Centre backs Advertiser campaign for a new female quarry worker statue in Buxton's Grin Low Woods

More needs to be done to shine a light on the women of the quarry industry in Buxton says the National Stone Centre which has given its support to a new campaign to raise funds for a female lime worker statue in Grin Low Woods.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 12:21 pm

The Advertiser is aiming to raise £4,000 so a female quarry worker statue can be installed in Grin Low woods to recognise the work of the female lime workers over the years.

Buxton Civic Association (BCA), which owns the woods, has always wanted to install a female statue to honour the women who have worked in the area’s quarries but has not been able to raise the funds so far.

Ian Thomas, who is a trustee for the National Stone Centre, based in the Derbyshire Dales, says something needs to be done to raise the profile of women in the quarry industry.

Simon Fussell, Peter Phillipson, Lucy Marsden and Jon White of the BCA with the restored statue of "Jack"
Simon Fussell, Peter Phillipson, Lucy Marsden and Jon White of the BCA with the restored statue of "Jack"

He said: “Women have almost been written out of the history books when it comes to quarrying.

"We are all for raising the profile and celebrating women and the work they have done which we know they did but they make such few appearances it’s hard to celebrate them properly.

"More needs to be done to shine a light on the women quarry workers – we know they stepped up during the World Wars but not much is known about their lives in the hundreds of years lime was been quarried from the Derbyshire hills which isn’t right.”

The National Stone Centre is run by a small group of volunteers and set within six former limestone quarries in the heart of the Wirksworth in the Derbyshire Dales, on the edge of the Peak District National Park, and close to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. The National Stone Centre is a 40 acre Site of Special Scientific Interest, for its geological formations and offers outdoor and indoor activities for all ages.

The women of the quarrying hills in WW1

Ian said: "We know that the Irish potato famine in the 1840s saw thousands of people head to the UK to try and find work and we know many started work in the quarries.

"The workforce was so strong in the industry at the time it delayed development of machinery.

"So many people were crushing the stone by hand there was no need to bring in machinery and if you compare the developments which were happening elsewhere in the industrial revolution the quarrying industry was behind and there was no way all that work was done by just men.

Buxton Advertiser Louise Cooper standing next to the Jack the Lime Worker statue in Grin Low Woods. The Advertiser has launched a campaign to raise the funds needed for a female quarry worker statue

“In Leicestershire in the 1800s, stone was delivered to the homes of workers and women and children would spend all week crushing the stone by hand before it was collected and new stone dropped off.

"So women did a have a role even if seems to have been forgotten they played an important part in quarry life.”

Donations have already started coming in for the new statue which will sit aside the much loved Jack the Lime Worker with Tarmac contributing £1,000.

The Advertiser would love to hear memories of female workers who want to speak out and share their stories of quarry life. Email [email protected]

A female quarry worker in WW1

To make a donation to the campaign visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/female-quarry-worker-statue-campaign.

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