The Drill Hall Vaults served the Derbyshire Yeomanry Drill Hall on Becket Street. The Drill Hall is long gone and so is the name – the pub is now Bar One. A little drama, played out one Sunday morning in 1916, illustrates one aspect of the restrictions on alcohol consumption imposed during the war.
The once handsome, but now neglected-looking, three-storey, seven-bay building opposite the former Mechanics Institute (now Revolucion da Cuba) is still signed as the Wardwick, but currently (2019) closed. It was originally built as a townhouse in the early 1700s, but later became the offices for a brewery built on the gardens to the rear.
At the time of the Great War, the brewery was run by Altons and Co. Ltd, one of Derby’s major breweries. It was big enough to serve around 150 tied houses, but pubs were smaller and more numerous 100 years ago.
Altons had been taken over by Strettons Derby Brewery Ltd in 1903 but continued to be run as a largely separate concern from Strettons, which brewed at a site on the Ashbourne Road (DWWIPP-4). As described in other Wonders in this series, WWI had a major effect on Strettons and Altons and Derby’s other major brewer, Offilers.
[Read more…] about DWWIPP-1: THE WARDWICK TAVERN
The Seven Stars is one of Derby’s oldest public houses with a long history of brewing on the premises. Brewing continued during World War I only ending when the brewing licence and brewer transferred to The Friary Hotel in 1962.
As was the case for many businesses, the shortage of fit young men was one of the problems produced by the war. In 1916 and again in 1918 George Bates, licensee and brewer, advertised for an Ostler (man to look after horses) also willing to help with brewing. Presumably his 1916 recruit was called up because the later advertisement stressed that only men who were ineligible for military service should apply. As brewing continued it can be concluded that such a man was found.
Before the war there were few pubs run by women. However, the authorities, with some reservations, now allowed transfers to wives of servicemen. When Walter Bednall, the landlord of the Woodlark, joined the army, most likely conscripted, in late 1916 or early 1917, the licence was transferred to his wife Frances.
When the husband returned after the war, the licence was normally transferred back to him. Sadly, Walter was one of the Derby landlords who never returned.
These delicate fingers of rock on opposite banks of the Dove are one of the scenic highlights of the dale. Amazingly, the 25m- high leaning finger of Ilam Rock has several rock climbing routes up its precipitous sides, while Pickering Tor has a gaping cave at its foot.
Both were left stranded as free-standing pillars of hard reef limestone when the softer rock was eaten away by the glacial meltwaters of the last Ice Age. Artist JMW Turner captured Ilam Rock in a popular painting, which undoubtedly contributed to our view of this as a sublime landscape and reinforced it as a place of interest to visiting tourists over the years.
The path now swings east opposite Hall Dale to pass the impressively-yawning water-worn cavities known as Dove Holes. Beyond here, the riverside path passes a number of weirs before running under the impressive vertical cliff of Raven’s Tor. A gentle meadowland path, rich in lime-loving flowers such as rockrose and thyme, now takes you into the hamlet of Milldale, which is reached by crossing the narrow Viator’s Bridge
The head of water behind this big weir once provided the power for another mill just downstream. This thunderous cataract, at the confluence of two rivers, is a good place to think about the elemental forces which gave rise to this landscape.
It is hard to believe today but the River Goyt once took an entirely different course. Where we stand now would have been nothing but solid sandstone. The change came 2.5 million years ago when the Earth went through a series of Ice Ages. The planet’s temperature dropped and vast areas were covered in huge ice sheets.