Yesterday Ron Common presented a brilliant online talk about the journey to save Aqueduct Cottage.
We were thrilled to host the first ever talk Ron has given on the subject and we certainly weren't disappointed. It was full of amazing images and tales about the project from its inception to the present day. Many thanks to Ron for putting together a brilliant talk, which is now available to view via our YouTube channel.
Apologies for the sound issues right at the start - these do soon improve as the talk progresses.
About the presentation:
It’s hard to put into words the charm of Aqueduct Cottage, but the famous children’s author, Alison Uttley, came close when she wrote in her book, Our Village:
“We passed the canal cottage, a Hans Anderson dwelling, whose little walls were reflected in the water, whose garden ran parallel to the canal. A small swing-bridge crossed the canal at this point, where the waters divided, part of the stream going to the lead wharf in the village. The cottage was the dividing place between work and play, between fairy tale and reality, and we were bound for fairy tale".
It's origins are as a “lengthman’s cottage”, built in 1802 by Peter Nightingale (Florence’s great uncle) to maintain the Lea Wood arm of the Cromford Canal, which served Nightingale’s factories at Lea and Lea Bridge. As such the cottage is part of the industrial heritage of the Derwent Valley . It remained in use until 1974 after which it remained empty and after decades of decline became derelict . The roof had collapsed and trees and other vegetation consumed the building to the point where the cottage was barely recognisable from the towpath.
Then, in 2016, an extraordinary community initiative began to save the cottage. Its idyllic canal-side setting, important historical roots and the re-discovered stories of the people who lived there touched the hearts of a global audience. The loved ruin was destined for an exciting comeback. DHBT are proud to be partnering with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust on the project which has been recognised as an inspiring example of what can be achieved when the community pulls together.
This presentation is a collection of photos, narrated by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust volunteer and project champion, Ron Common, which tells the story of this remarkable restoration.
Ron was recently awarded the title of 'Conservation Champion' at the DHBT Architecture Awards 2021 for his invaluable role in making the restoration of Aqueduct Cottage project possible.