Updated 27 Aug 2013

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Photo 604


Greenhill, Wirksworth

Greenhill is a steep narrow road running North West from the Market Place in the middle of Wirksworth. It was lined with poor houses and was unsurfaced in 1913. Rolls-Royce (Derby) used the long gradient to test their car engines.

"Cyclecar" Vol.II No 38 Aug 1913 founded 1912. Cover Photo
"An incident at Wirksworth, between a Humberette & a G.W.K.

It was on Green Hill, in 1912, where Rolls-Royce used the steep gradient for special stop and re-start tests on their cars. During the following year's Austrian Alpine trials these tests paid off handsomely, enhancing considerably the prestige of their world famous car-engines. Many other trials have been held on the hill with both solo and side car motor bikes attempting to reach the top without stopping. This was not an easy task, as in those days the road surface was often rough and deeply rutted, which resulted in plenty of thrills and spills for the interested spectators who liked to join in and give the bikes a good push when they got stuck.
The Cyclecar Magazine was founded in 1912, and published by Temple Press, the publishers of Autocar in 1912. The Cyclecar covered motoring and motor racing for the motorist of the day. It provided the reader with an insight into the new world of motoring in 1913. This copy contained a report on the Le Mans Road race, 168 miles, won by a French Violet Bogey plus the Kop Hill Climb from the Chilterns.
Adverts: Bedelia, First in the Grand Prix; Warne Cyclecar; Omnium Light Car; Duo Cyclecars; Humberette; A.C. Sociable & Light Car; Baby Peugeot; Crouch Carette; The Baby Peugeot; Continental Tyres; Armstrong Cyclecar; Woodrow Cyclecar; Avon Tyres;
Articles: Revolutions per Minute: What Does this Mean?; Exciting Road Race at Le Mans; Can I afford to keep a Cyclecar; A week in North Devon; A Cyclecar Holiday; Thoughts and Opinions; The Lagonda Miniature Car; Kop Hill & Cudham Church Hill climbs; The A.C.U. Six Days Trial; 110 miles before breakfast;
Humberette 1914
Looking down Greenhill on a Sunday morning.
Photo by Chris Newton ARPS.

The woman is delivering the "Sunday Pictorial", which published 1912-1963. She has a head scarf, shorter skirt and zipped boots. Her little girl is wearing a cloche hat.The gas lamp has been modernised to an electric lamp, and the road has been resurfaced. The Parish Church can only just be seen through the pall of coal smoke from the chimneys. My guess is a quiet Sunday in 1930. Folk have returned from church and are settling down to a good read.

G.W.K. 1922

Big single cylinder motorcycle combinations climbing Green Hill, Wirksworth in 1914. They were "Excelsior" Motor Cycles, made by Bayliss, Thomas & Co, Coventry.
An atmospheric picture of steep, misty Greenhill in 1980. Look more closely, its not as old as you might think! The man has long hair, five modern television ariels are round the chimneypots, and 4 telephone lines. The roofs are in good repair and a modern streetlight hides in the corner. The church clock shows 2.40 pm, and Gilkin hill in the distance is still there.

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