Derbyshire chemicals firm reveal historic waterway on volunteering day at canal cottage restoration

Volunteers working to restore a historic cottage on the Cromford canal have uncovered the hidden entrance to a waterway last used in the 1930s.

By Ed Dingwall
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 10:00 am

Staff from Hazelwood chemicals firm Lubrizol pitched in for a day at Aqueduct Cottage, cutting away undergrowth to reveal stonework from the canal’s Leawood arm, known as the Nightingale cut.

Both the cottage and the cut were built by Peter Nightingale, great-great uncle of nursing pioneer Florence, to serve his factories.

Tom Grazier, technology deployment manager for Lubrizol, said: “We had a lot of fun . It’s good to get out there and help out in your local environment and community.

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Lubrizol employees hard at work.

“Our charities and communities committee usually get involved with financial donations but it’s a different kind of giving to help out physically from time to time. Sometimes the gift of time, not to mention swinging a pickaxe, is just as important as money.”

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has been working to restore the 19th century cottage and its surroundings since 2019. It is due to reopen this autumn as a visitor gateway to Lea Wood Nature Reserve.

Project manager Ron Common said: “It has been great to have lots of extra pairs of hands from Lubrizol helping us restore the entrance of the Leawood arm.

“The original lock gate situated here is the reason the cottage was built for the lock keeper. This section of the canal and the cottage are an important part of the story of industrialisation in the valley. It will be a fascinating new visitor attraction.”​​​​​​​

The Nightingale cut has been hidden for many years.
Jack of all trades Carl Baker.