Report - - Rockwood Pigments, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, June 2019 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Rockwood Pigments, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, June 2019


28DL Regular User
Regular User
1. The History
The works are located on the east bank of the River Derwent, immediately to the north of Matlock Bath, and are accessed from a metalled road off the main approach to Matlock Bath Railway Station or via footbridge over the river from Dale Road (A6).

The site was originally known as Viaton and was established for the mining of iron ore in the first half of the 1800s. When this was exhausted in 1850, Lead carbonate or “white lead” (a pigment used in white paint since the 4th century BC) was ground by a water-wheel of 80 horse power, capable of raising 1, 000 gallons an hour.

At the end of the century in 1900, the Via Gellia Colour Company then took the works over and installed a turbine to drive four pairs of Peak stones to grind-up iron oxide. After that, bone char (the waste product from sugar refining) was ground until the late 1960s. The works were then used for the blending of pre-ground chemically-produced colour products for use in paving slabs and other cement products.

Finally, the site became part of the Rockwood group and although they closed the site down when they revised their operations, they went on to change their name to Huntsman Pigments and Additives, and are currently the second largest manufacturer of iron oxide colour pigments in the World.

The site also contains the entrance to Side Mine, a former lead mine. Mining finished in 1844 when the owner gave up his attempts to drain the workings of water. The red colour on the walls and roof comes from residue from the pigment factory when excess pigment was blown into the mine via ventilation fans. There is a second cave on the site, High Tor Grotto, that was opened up as a Show Cavern between 1825 and 1845.

The Former High Tor Colour Works site, which covers approximately 4 acres, is currently up for sale on a freehold basis which includes part of the river bed although Heights of Abraham have reserved rights in respect of their cable cars that pass over the site restricting any development within 10m either side of the centre line of the cables.

2. The Explore
Been meaning to do this place for ages but never seemed to get around to it. Finally though, managed to explore it with two non-forum members one morning, albeit on a slightly rushed schedule.

There’s two ways in. One involves spikes, the other doesn’t so this was an easy choice. Once in it’s a relaxed wander. The place is pretty well worn and there’s nothing of mega interest left. It’s quite photogenic though and there’s so fab graff throughout the place. There’s also two mines here that make the place a bit more special. We had a quick peek in the show cave but only went as far as the giant game of jenga. For a good look at both mines see @tarkovsky and his excellent report HERE. The mine that has its entrance in the factory itself we game a miss as it’s really dusty and we didn’t have the gear or the time. So if you’re in the area add it to your list along with Permanent Asphalt, the pair of sites that make a trip out to this lovely bit of Derbyshire worthwhile.

3. The Pictures

The main factory space roller blind:

img1340 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And we’re in:

img1322 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Factory roof:

img1338 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Factory roof 2:

img1337 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Not too sure what this is:

img1335 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Like this large piece (can’t remember the artist’s name)

img1334 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1328 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1327 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Some sort of grinding gear:

Rockwood 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Side Mine (the lead mine) is entranced from here:

Rockwood 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Rockwood 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This is a decommissioned cable car!

img1325 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A nice bit of Colorquix:

img1344 by HughieDW, on Flickr

One for the kids:

Rockwood 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A nice bit of Brayk:

Rockwood 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And my fave bit of graff in the whole place:

img1323 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The admin bock:

Rockwood 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1331 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1342 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1369 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1364 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Pretty trashed to be honest:

Rockwood 17 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The famous washer and dryer:

Rockwood 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The now smashed-up wash-rooms:

Rockwood 14 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1360 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And another coloquix:

img1362 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking towards the factory complex from admin:

img1361 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The Electrics room:

img1368 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1367 by HughieDW, on Flickr
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Check out my Instagram: @ChillsSnaps
28DL Full Member
Loving that @HughieD! Very photogenic as you say and some of the graff is sweet! Nice history and report once again! :thumb


28DL Regular User
Regular User
Looks like there's some new graff popped up there since I last went. The jellyfish type thing is by Tekonta Secta :thumb


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
That looks awesome, may have to take a wander that way at some point if I get chance. Great photos.