Clocktower and adult education centre
Clay Cross shown within Derbyshire
|OS grid reference|
|Civil parish||Clay Cross|
|District||North East Derbyshire|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
|UK Parliament||North East Derbyshire|
Clay Cross is a former mining town and civil parish in the North East Derbyshire district of Derbyshire, England, about six miles south of Chesterfield. It is directly on the A61, the former Roman road Ryknield Street. Surrounding settlements include North Wingfield, Tupton, Pilsley and Ashover.
Until the early nineteenth century, Clay Cross was a small village known as Clay Lane, but increasing demand for coal and other minerals trebled the population by 1840. While driving the tunnel for the North Midland Railway, George Stephenson discovered both coal and iron, which together with the demand for limestone, caused him to move into Tapton Hall, near Chesterfield, and set up business as George Stephenson and Co.
Stephenson's workers' houses were of high quality for their time, having four rooms compared to the normal two, and a school was provided. By 1850 there were three chapels, a church and an institute - but no constable.
When he died in 1848 his son, Robert, took over, leaving the company in 1852 when it took the name of the Clay Cross Company.
Although the company had been formed to mine coal and manufacture coke from the railway, the supplies from Durham were preferred, and the works turned to iron working and brick making.
For many years, the company was the town's major employer. In 1985, Biwater took it over. In 2000 Biwater sold the site to French company, Saint-Gobain. Some months later, it was closed down with the loss of around 750 jobs.
Demolition of the vast Biwater site began in late 2008. http://www.claycross2020.org.uk/ and new houses and shops are appearing in the town.
Housing Finance Act dispute
The town was an urban district until 1974, when it was merged into the North East Derbyshire district under the Local Government Act 1972. In the 1970s the council achieved brief notoriety due to its refusal to implement the Housing Finance Act 1972 in increasing the rents of council housing: by law the rents should have increased by £1 a week from October 1972. The council was one of several to show defiance against the Act and of three to be ordered to comply by the Department of the Environment in November 1972 (the others being Eccles and Halstead). Clay Cross UDC was threatened with an audit in December 1972. The constituency Labour party barred the eleven councillors from its list of approved candidates. The District Auditor ordered the eleven Labour Party councillors to pay a surcharge of £635 each in January 1973, finding them "guilty of negligence and misconduct". Conisbrough UDC faced a similar audit on 19 January 1973.
The UDC made an appeal in the case to the High Court. Clydebank and Cumbernauld abandoned similar actions in March 1973. The surcharge was upheld by the High Court on 30 July 1973, which also added a further £2,000 legal costs to their bill, as well as barring them from public office for five years. The council further defied authority (the Pay Board) in August, when they decided to increase council workers' earnings. This provoked a further dispute with NALGO. Ultimately, the dispute became moot with the replacement of Clay Cross Urban District Council with the North East Derbyshire District Council from 1 April 1974. The councillors were made bankrupt in 1975.
A book on the dispute between the council and the government, The Story of Clay Cross, was written by one of the councillors, David Skinner, and the journalist Julia Langdon. The book was published by Spokesman Books in 1974.
Local economy and transport
Clay Cross has a large modern business park called Coney Green Business Park and is located between Egstow and Danesmoor. There is the Sharley Park Leisure Centre on the A6175 Market Street towards North Wingfield. Next door is the community hospital. The Danesmoor Industrial Estate is on the site of the Parkhouse Colliery (correction - the colliery was situated on the eastern side of the railway lines; the industrial estate is situated on the western side) and is home to a Worcester BOSCH site. The towns library is on Holmgate Road. Clay Cross town centre is currently undergoing a £22m redevelopment which has so far included a new supermarket, new bus station and new relief road. The second phase of this is due to start which will see a new parade of shops plus a new medical centre. Eventually the site of the former Junior and Infant schools which is located in the town centre will be redeveloped. M1 junction 29 is 5 miles away. Nearest rail stations are Chesterfield (6 miles) and Alfreton (Clay Cross railway station closed under the Beeching Axe). A passenger rail line runs in a tunnel under the town without stopping. In 2009 ATOC (Train Operators) announced proposals for reopening a station on the edge of town, to be called 'Clay Cross and North Wingfield'.
Tupton Hall School is in Tupton and located about one mile to the north of Clay Cross. Previously Clay Cross had a secondary school located in Market Street, and a Junior School located off- High Street. The Junior school and infant school were merged and relocated to a new purpose built complex on Pilsley road and renamed Sharley Park Primary School. The site of the former schools has been cleared and is awaiting development. The secondary school was closed in the early 1970s, and transferred to Tupton Hall as part of the Government's drive to comprehensive education, it is now one of the largest with around 2000 pupils, including a Sixth Form Centre. Clay Cross Secondary School was converted to an Adult Education Centre.
The area has many local attractions and places of special interest. In addition to the stunning peak district scenery other places people enjoy visiting include Hardwick Hall, Bolsover Castle, Chatsworth House, and The National Tramway Museum at Crich.
- Dennis Skinner was born and grew up in the town, and went to Tupton Hall Grammar School. He first worked at Parkhouse Colliery (known as Catty Pit) in 1949, a mile to the east of Clay Cross. The pit closed in 1962. He was a Clay Cross councillor from 1960–70, directly before becoming an MP in 1970.
- Eddie Shimwell, FA Cup footballer, licensee of the Royal Volunteer in Clay Cross.
- Arthur Henderson, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1934, when he was MP for Clay Cross
- Rebel council gets audit put off till New Year. The Times. 8 December 1972.
- Appeal to Labour executive by rent rebels. The Times. 15 December 1972.
- 11 councillors surcharged £6,985 over rent refusal. The Times. 19 January 1973.
- Councillors' pledge 'means more than Act'. The Times. 20 January 1973.
- Council may go to court over surchage. The Times. 24 January 1973.
- Councillors' appeal. The Times. 28 February 1973.
- 'Rebel' Labour men face a bill of £8,985
- Clay Cross defies pay ban. The Times. 10 August 1973.
- Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (9 May 1996). "''Hansard'', 1996". Publications.parliament.uk.
- "''Socialist Review'', Issue 194, February 1996". Pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk.
- Clay Cross men get bankruptcy discharge. 10 May 1980. The Times.
- "Book Details". Abebooks.com.
- Tupton Hall School
- Local Attractions, Retrieved 20 September 2007
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Clay Cross.|
- Clay Cross Parish Council
- Discover Derbyshire
- Clay Cross Genealogy and Local History
- Clay Cross RT - Road Racing Cycling Team