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Bullbridge - Canal Inn.JPG
Canal Inn
Bullbridge is located in Derbyshire
 Bullbridge shown within Derbyshire
Population 220 
OS grid reference SK357524
District Amber Valley
Shire county Derbyshire
Region East Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district DE56
Police Derbyshire
Fire Derbyshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
List of places

Coordinates: 53°04′05″N 1°28′05″W / 53.068°N 1.468°W / 53.068; -1.468

Bullbridge is a small village in Derbyshire. The Bull bridge accident, in which a railway bridge failed as a goods train was just passing over it, happened here in 1860.

The village[edit]

Bullbridge has a population of approx. 220 and is served by two public houses, the Canal Inn (named after the Cromford Canal) and the Lord Nelson (which has now closed).

Until the end of the eighteenth century it was little more than the bridge over the River Amber for the road from Crich.

In 1794, William Jessop and Benjamin Outram built the Cromford Canal between Cromford and Langley Mill, with the Bullbridge Aqueduct crossing the road. In 1840, George Stephenson brought the North Midland Railway past on its way to Leeds. The rail line crossed the road, but passed under the canal.

Bullbridge Aqueduct from the east

In 1860 the railway bridge failed as a goods train passed over it, fortunately without casualties.[1]

The steep wagonway to the Cromford Canal from the quarry at Crich to Bullbridge, where limestone was sent on to the Butterley Ironworks, was known as the Butterley Gangroad. Initially worked by gravity and horse power, in 1812, William Brunton, an engineer for the company, produced his remarkable Steam Horse locomotive. They built a wharf for loading the limestone from their quarry at Crich, and a group of lime kilns.

In 1825 James Stephenson founded a dye works at Wirksworth, opening branches in Duffield and Little Eaton, then Belper, and finally building his main works at Bullbridge in 1908. The works became part of Coats plc and closed at the end of 2006.

Hilt's Quarry and the gangway closed in 1933 and are now derelict, the canal having already been virtually closed by the subsidence of Butterley Tunnel.


  • Cooper, B., (1983) Transformation of a Valley: The Derbyshire Derwent, Heinneman, republished 1991 Cromford: Scarthin Books
  • Maps of Bullbridge