Visited with Buddah, AndyJ and Darwen Dave.
More commonly known as middleton mine, but the name Hopton-Wood is derived from the fact that this stone was first discovered and quarried in a wood on the Hopton Estate in that far-famed Derbyshire beauty spot, the Via Gellia, which itself owes its Latin name to the Gell family whose association with Hopton dates back to the days of Cromwell.
info taken from here - http://www.wirksworth.org.uk/HOPTON.htm
It is over 100 years since the stone was first quarried, the original outcrop in the wood being soon abandoned for more extensive workings on the opposite side of the valley.
Until 1905 these quarries, now known as the Hopton group, were exploited by the Hopton-Wood Stone Company, whilst the rival Firm of Killer Brothers opened and developed the same formation from the Eastern side of the hill on their property in the village of Middleton.
In 1905 the two undertakings were amalgamated and the company Derbyshire stone was formed. New Works were constructed containing the then most up-to-date stone sawing and dressing machinery, but although the stone had established a reputation for itself amongst architects and was extensively specified for high class work the Company never succeeded in making much headway until after the War. Since then the productive capacity of the Quarries has been steadily increased and the Works completely re-organised and enlarged, with the result, that the output of Hopton-Wood Stone in blocks or sawn was raised from something like 8,000 cube feet per annum in 1919 to approximately 25,000 cube feet at the time of peak production. In the last six years of production 120,000 cube feet (nearly 10,000 tons) of Hopton-Wood Stone was utilised solely for the production of War Graves headstones, apart from the normal demands of architecture amid the Building and Monumental Trades. During that period such important works as the paving of Liverpool Cathedral, the Winchester College War cloisters and many other grand buildings.
Dimension stone operations continued until the 1950's when due to the rapid development of concrete technology the demand for natural stone products fell. Derbyshire Stone, the then operators and owners of the site, had pre-empted this fall in demand by developing a small processing plant to crush the limestone to supply the steel and sugar industry.
Towards the end of the decade the situation with the surface operations reached a point where it became increasingly uneconomic to keep stripping the overburden (which was increasing in depth as a quarry cut into the moor) to gain access to the high purity Hopton-wood beds. The Company was reluctant to lose the customer base it had built up with the processed products, so the decision to commence underground operations was taken.
The company at that time were operating a lead mine in Matlock and moved two of the personnel to Middleton. Work on a drift access was started on February the 4th 1959 and to date approximately 16 million tonnes of high grade limestone have been extracted for the underground workings.
At present hopton Mine consists of 35 kilometres of workings covering an area of 1400 metres west to east and 800 m north to south. Middleton Mine is divided into five main production areas by normal faults.
In 1968 Derbyshire Stone was absorbed into the Tarmac Group who ultimately put the mine up for sale towards the end of 1990 along with two other units located in Derbyshire which formed it's Industrial Product Division. The three Units were purchased by Croxton and Garry Limited who were owned equally by Pluess-Staufer and Blue Circle at the time of the purchase. Pluess-Staufer are now the sole owners of Omya Croxton and Garry.
Mining stopped in 2001, there has been various talks of the mine re-opening, but due to the current economic climate, these have yet not happened.