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The RLC Holiday Club

Holiday to Peak District,

Sunday 7th to Thursday 11th July 2013





Sunday 7th July  - To South Yorkshire
Our holiday began as we left Farnham and travelled north, with a refreshment stop at Chieveley Services. Lunch stop was at the Coventry Transport Museum.


Located in the heart of the city centre the Museum is home to the world's largest collection of British road transport, from the earliest cycles to the fastest cars on earth. Here, you'll find out the stories behind the people who made Coventry the centre of the world's motor and cycle industries and see vehicles that defined some of history's most important moments. The Museum is laid out as a journey through time and you'll wander along 19 century streets and discover the first bicycles, carriages and cars, then explore the first car factories and witness their wartime destructions in the 'Blitz Experience'. The journey continues through the Boomtown, Spirit of Speed and Ghost Town galleries bringing you right up to the present day.


This afternoon we resumed our drive north into South Yorkshire to the Tankersley Manor Hotel (well known for its endless supply of mashed potatoes).


















Monday 8th July  - Bakewell and the Derwent Valley
Our first excursion took us to Bakewell which has long been an important centre for farmers and has many fine old buildings including the 17th century Market Hall and the mediaeval Old House. A beautiful mediaeval five-arch bridge still carries traffic over the river Wye, where ducks (and fish) queue to be fed, and the church, with its graceful spire, attracts the eye in every view of the town. However, Bakewell is perhaps best known for a confection produced by mistake in the 19th century when a kitchen maid at the Rutland Arms Hotel misunderstood instructions for making a jam tart and created the first Bakewell pudding.




After lunch in Bakewell we headed south into the Derwent Valley where we visited the "Heights of Abraham".




Named after the area of Quebec where Major-General James P. Wolfe met his end during the Seven Years War the 'Heights' was originally opened in 1780 as a Regency-style 'Savage Garden' on the site of historic lead mining. Our visit began with a cable-car ride from the valley floor, across the steep incline of the Masson Hills stunning views across the Derwent Valley and surrounding countryside. The miners are now long gone but in emptying the ground of the rich mineral deposits, they left behind a large network of naturally formed caverns and passageways. At the Rutland Cavern we headed underground to experience a day in the life of a 17* century lead mining family. Once underground, the miner's tales are brought to life by 'John the Miner'. A little further up the hill the Great Masson Cavern winds its way deep underground and into the hillside. Here, the guide took us on a fascinating journey, from the light of a single candle to the whole chamber being flooded with changing colours as you hear all about the caverns million year history.










Tuesday 9th July  - Heritage and History
Today's excursion took us first of all to the Kelham Island Museum which traces the history of Sheffield's most famous industry, steel making. Its origins, inventions, workers and the products -large, small or shiny are all part of the story. Displayed in various gallery areas, the growth of Sheffield from a village to a city, the effect the industry had on the people and the working conditions of an industrial town. We saw how heavy industry took over and how giant steelworks dominated the skyline. Wandering through the Little Mesters street to see how this network of craftspeople became the backbone of Sheffield's tool making and cutlery industries. At the height of their population in the mid-1800's, these self-employed workers were making a vast contribution to the variety of products which bore a 'Sheffield' stamp. Their reputation for skilled work and quality products still bears testament to their skill today.








There was nothing 'little' about the 12,000 HP River Don Engine which was built by Davy Brothers of Sheffield in 1905 to drive Charles
Cammell's armour plate rolling mill located at his Grimesthorpe Works. It ran at Cammell's mill for almost 50 years before being
transferred to what was formerly known as the British Steel Corporation's River Don Works where it continued to drive a heavy plate mill
producing products such as stainless steel reactor shields and steel plates for North Sea oil rigs.


It is now the most powerful working steam engine remaining in Europe and we saw it in action at noon.                                                                      


After lunch we travelled to Chatsworth House & Gardens for a short visit. The home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, Chatsworth is one of the grandest country houses in England and is splendidly on the banks of the Derwent. The house contains one of the finest collections in the world of paintings, china, furniture, tapestries, sculpture and gold and silver plate. The Gardens over over 100 acres and are justly famous for their cascade and spectacular fountains.







Wednesday 10th July  - The Cutler's Hall and Poole's Cavern
We travelled to one of Sheffield's hidden gems, the outstanding Cutler's Hall. Inside the imposing silver doors was a world of grandeur, elegance and history. When the company of Cutlers' in Hallamshire was incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1624, the local cutlery industry was already over three centuries old. In 1297, a man called Robert the cutler appears in a tax return, the earliest surviving evidence for the local cutlery trades. In 1638, shortly after it came into being, the Company bought land for their Hall on Church Street opposite the parish church which is now the Cathedral. The present Hall, a Grade 2* Listed building was built in 1832. Throughout its history, the Company has acquired furniture, pictures, silver and examples of cutlery with which to adorn its Halls. It has over a hundred paintings, including portraits of many of its 19th and 20th century Masters, as well as portraits of national figures. The Company is justly proud of its collection of over 900 pieces of silver, which includes at least one Sheffield hallmarked piece for every year since the establishment of the Sheffield Assay Office in 1773.






One of the 2 "Muriel's" in the other ranks dining hall.


In the afternoon we drove by way of Tideswell to Buxton where we visited Poole's Cavern and followed the footsteps of centuries of explorers, travellers, vagabonds and royalty on a journey beneath the earth with an expert guide to explore the vast limestone caverns and see how crystal
stalactites and stalagmites have lined the chambers over millions of years. New LED lighting lets us see the underground tour as never
before. Back above ground there is a Visitor Centre and cafe.





Our drive back to the hotel took us over the Snake Pass and past the huge Y-shaped Ladybower reservoir.



Thursday 11th July - Homeward

After breakfast we travelled down to the Midland Railway at Butterley Station where a diesel multiple unit, for the private use of our group, took us to the end of the line at Riddings and then back to the large museum site at Swanwick Junction.






Named after the Midland Railway's first Chief Mechanical Engineer, the Matthew Kirtley Building houses the main Exhibition Hall which has a unique collection of locomotives and rolling stock covering steam, diesel and electric power from the 1860s to the present day. The 'West Shed Experience' is operated by the Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust and houses their display of locomotives and rolling stock, artefacts, a large workshop viewing gallery and a replica of the office of locomotive designer Sir William Stanier. Also on the museum site is the replica 'Broom Junction Station' and the 'Demonstration Signal Box' where visitors can see how a Midland signalman worked. Other attractions included the award-winning Tin Tabernacle' Victoria church (the first stage of the railway's Victorian Street Scene), Allport's Emporium and Johnson's Buffet.




Thanks yet again John