The Stories of the Lost Villages was something I grew up with.
A family story that has been recorded for future generations by my great grandad Harry Gill, a photographer who was famous locally for his work.
Although I never met him, some of my favourite memories as a child was sat sifting through the thousands of black and white photographs he took for the newspapers.
These historical moments captured in time were ingrained in my childhood, and one in particular was of the church spire of Derwent village.
Derwent and Ashopton were two small picturesque villages nestled between the beautiful hills of the peak district.
Villages that in 1935 fate announced their demise, when Richard Baillie and Sons LTD started the construction of the dam. This was to drown both in the grim, cold waters of the Ladybower reservoir.
I loved looking at the old photos of the lost villages, of the people who lived there and their beautiful quaint buildings.
I could almost imagine being there in those photos when I was a child.
The eerie images of the reservoir filling and the waters rising, lapping against the rubble where the houses once stood and then enveloping the villages whole.
The only thing that remained for some time, was the church spire sticking out of the water. Left as a memorial to the lost villages and a reminder of what once was.
Unfortunately, the spire also had to be demolished in 1947, due to people trying to swim out to it.
This would not be the case today. Today the reservoir is nearly empty.
The 2018 drought has paid its toll and the water has descended so low that you can actually walk around foundations of the church and those of Derwent Hall.
Facebook is full of amazing photographs of people taking a step back in time and wandering around the ruins of the lost villages.
I wish I had time to take my camera there myself. Just like my great Grandad Harry did many years ago.
To walk in his footsteps and record new historical memories, for my own great grandchildren to look back on.
Instead I rely on social media and websites like Let’s Go Peak District (video below) to fulfil my curiosity.
I can however show you some of the amazing photographs of the lost villages that I grew up with. The ones that took my imagination to a place that still fascinates people today!
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do 😊
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