Peak District industry
Traditional industries have strong links with geology.
In limestone areas, sheep-rearing gave way to cattle, producing cream and cheese then, via the railways, milk for surrounding cities. Sheep farming then concentrated upon the acidic soils of gritstone moors. In the 19th century, this moorland also became important for grouse shooting. Fifty reservoirs were built in the Dark Peak in the late 19th and early 20th Century to supply neighbouring conurbations.
The world's first factory was established by Arkwright at Cromford. This, and copies established at Lea, Cressbrook, Tideswell, Calver, Litton and Wirksworth were all dependent upon water. Lead veins in the limestone attracted the Romans. The Domesday Book mentions several local mines. The Peak became Britain's largest lead orefield, producing an estimated five million tonnes of lead ore.
|Millclose was the nation's largest lead mine (closing 1939). Zinc and copper were also worked in some areas. Minerals associated with lead, such as fluorite, baryte and calcite, were traditionally regarded as waste. However, since 1939, these have overtaken lead in importance. Although metals are no longer produced, the Peak remains an important source of fluorite.
The sandstones which occur between Hathersage and Little Eaton were nationally famed for first millstones and then grindstones (the basis for the Sheffield edge tool industry). By 1900, quarries turned to making stones used to grind wood-pulp for paper.
Since the 17th century, the Peak has been Britain's largest lime and limestone producer. Today, 20 million tonnes of limestone are quarried annually for hundreds of uses. Tunstead near Buxton is one of the largest quarries in Europe.
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