Wirksworth and Middleton Remember –
A unique commemoration of the end of WW1.
Volunteers in Wirksworth, Middleton by Wirksworth and on The Steeple Grange Light Railway have been busy for over a year preparing for a unique commemoration to mark the ending of WW1; a commemoration that will recreate events that happened almost 100 years ago.
Then, over 120,000 headstones made from Hopton Wood stone, were engraved in Middleton before being taken down what is now The Steeple Grange Light Railway on their way to cemeteries in Belgium and France. This year, on November 11th, three replica headstones, identical in shape and size to the earlier ones, will be carried in a reconstructed Hopton Wood wagon on the first part of that journey. The stones will be engraved by Middleton mason Colin Julien whose great grandfather engraved some of the original ones.
One stone will be erected at Steeple House Station while a second will be carried in a horse drawn carriage down Cromford Road to Wirksworth. Once in Wirksworth the stone will be placed in St Mary`s Church for the Remembrance Service before being taken in procession to a permanent site in The Memorial Gardens. The third stone will be taken to Middleton for the afternoon service in Holy Trinity Church and installed in the village.
The idea for this poignant commemoration came from Martin Smith, Chairman of the Steeple Grange Light Railway, who wanted to mark the role of the railway in transporting the stones and to honour the thousands of railway employees who gave their lives. For Middleton and Wirksworth the stones will commemorate the loss and suffering in these communities.
The project, organized by The Steeple Grange Light Railway, Wirksworth WW1 Group , Middleton Parish Council and Village Green Committee, is funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund , Better Derbyshire Dales Fund, Derbyshire County and Derbyshire Dales District Councillors, Wirksworth Rotary, Wirksworth Town Council, Wirksworth WW1 Group, Wirksworth Hidden Gardens and Courtyards, Middleton Parish Council.
Timetable for this day long commemoration is:
9.30 Headstones carried by rail from Middleton to Steeple House Station
10.00 Headstone taken in horse drawn carriage to Wirksworth
10.50 Remembrance Day service at St Mary`s Church
11.45 Procession from St Mary`s to Memorial Gardens for installation of the Wirksworth
14.15 Third stone taken to Middleton for
14:30 Remembrance Service at Holy Trinity Church and later installation of stone.