Publisher: B.B London Series, 1908.
This postcard is taken overlooking the pond in Cromford, and incorrectly states the location to be the “Bottom of the Fiagella” – This is believed to be typographic error. From the position of the postcard we can tell this was actually taken from the bottom of Water Lane, before it intersects Market Place. The postcard gets this misappropriation from the fact that Water Lane seamlessly becomes the Via Gellia as it crosses past Chapel Hill.
This area houses Cromford Dam, and this collects water from Bonsall Brook. The water is piped under the road and re-emerges on Water Lane where it turns the waterwheel at the old paint mill. The corn mill with attached cottage was built by Arkwright circa 1780 to serve the village, and closed in 1935. It is on the site of a previous mill worked by a company from Cheadle in Staffordshire for the smelting of zinc oxides. Here the locally mined barytes were ground to make powder used in the manufacture of paint. The current waterwheel dates from the middle of the 19th century and is supplied by water from the corn mill dam before being discharged into Cromford Pond. The wheel still turns occasionally but does not drive any machinery.
The Gell family, who were local Hopton landowners heavily involved in the nearby Wirksworth lead mining, had the Via Gellia built to connect Cromford and Grangemill mine in the late 18th century.
For more information about this area of Cromford, together with walks, visit the Cromford Village website.
For more information about the Gells, Via Gellia and the Grange Mill site, visit the Peak District Online website.