Sad glimpses of lost lives

Ladybower Reservoir viaduct towering over the village of Ashopton as it was being demolished
Ladybower Reservoir viaduct towering over the village of Ashopton as it was being demolished

Now it’s just rubble in the bottom of Ladybower Reservoir but once these bricks and stones were the homes of Peak District villagers.

Star reader Clare Whittaker sent in these photographs, taken by her on a visit to Ladybower over the weekend.

Remains of the drowned village of Ashopton

Remains of the drowned village of Ashopton

The last remains of villagers’ homes and other buildings have once again become visible as the water level in the reservoir has dropped, becoming a tourist attraction for visitors.

The pictures are very poignant, showing all that remains of a village that housed rural workers and existed for hundreds of years.

The increasing water needs of cities like Sheffield, Manchester, Derby and Leicester meant that the neighbouring villages of Ashopton and Derwent were demolished to allow Ladybower, the third great reservoir in the upper Derwent Valley, to be built in the 1940s.

Water engineers chose the steep-sided valley because of its geology and its height above sea level.

This wall looks to have been tiled

This wall looks to have been tiled

Derwent and Howden reservoirs were built in the early 20th century, sealing the fate of only isolated farmhouses.

A 1966 TV documentary recorded that villagers, who were mainly moved to new homes at Yorkshire Bridge, had mixed feelings.

One woman interviewed said: “It was a very beautiful village. It was such a pity to take all the houses, especially at that time we had to move there was a war on and houses were being destroyed everywhere. .”

However, the move at least meant an end of having to use paraffin lamps and outside toilets.

Pieces of a substantial old fireplace

Pieces of a substantial old fireplace

Derwent Hall, a grand 17th-century house last used as a school, was also demolished.

The sides of Ladybower Reservoir can be seen behind the fishermen and building

The sides of Ladybower Reservoir can be seen behind the fishermen and building

Ashopton, with the old Toll House on the left for the 1821 turnpike, picture in July 1935

Ashopton, with the old Toll House on the left for the 1821 turnpike, picture in July 1935

What appears to be window lead from one of the drowned villages under Ladybower

What appears to be window lead from one of the drowned villages under Ladybower

Some substantial stonework that can be seen in Ladybower Reservoir

Some substantial stonework that can be seen in Ladybower Reservoir

Clare Whittaker's picture reveals some intriguing-looking remains

Clare Whittaker's picture reveals some intriguing-looking remains

The lost Peak District village of Ashopton

The lost Peak District village of Ashopton