Derbyshire book named the UK's best local heritage publication

The efforts of the researchers of ‘Delving along the Derwent’ has been described by a panel of judges as outstanding and the brilliant book which focuses the stories of about 200 quarries and the people who worked on them has won a national award.

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 3:00 pm
Delving along the Derwent has been given a top national award
Delving along the Derwent has been given a top national award

The national organisation for library professionals CILIP judged ‘Delving along the Derwent’ to be the UKs best local heritage publication produced in 2019, and has now won the Alan Ball Award.

The Alan Ball Awards were established in 1985 to encourage local history publishing by public libraries and local authorities.

Ian Thomas, trustee for the National Stone Centre, which is now heading the project, said: “We are delighted to report the positive news

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about the Alan Ball National Book Award.”

Delving along the Derwent, tracks the stories of about 200 quarries between Derby, Cromford, Matlock, Wirksworth and Brassington. Starting during the Stone Age, in forensic detail, the account comes right up to the present day industry.

Ian, was a founder of the National Stone Centre in 1990 and its Director for 23 years until he retired when he was appointed Honorary President, said: “Is there any other book which tells how Florence Nightingale settled industrial quarrels, how Spitfire plans were kept safe, about

Stephenson’s plan to use his unsalable coal which created a whole new industry or how we probably each use local stone a hundred times daily? “Even now, this small area, largely unseen, still manages to produce about two and a half million tonnes of stone every year.”

‘Delving’ began as as one of 60 projects, part of DerwentWise, a scheme administered by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, supported initially by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The ‘Delvers’, a team of about a dozen, were recruited, trained from scratch and coordinated by Ian Thomas, one of the National Stone Centre founders.

Ian said: "They researched the area meticulously over five years. NSC designer Steve Chadburn and myself then took on the task of shaping the findings into this groundbreaking book, released last year.

"Control was then passed to the National Stone Centre who already commisioned a reprint.”

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