Crich (kryech) is a village in Derbyshire in England. It is the home of the National Tramway Museum inside the Crich Tramway Village, and at the summit of Crich Hill above, a Memorial Tower for those of the Sherwood Foresters regiment who died in battle, particularly in World War I.
Built in 1923 on the location of an older tower called Crich Stand, the Memorial Tower is the destination of an annual pilgrimage on the first Sunday in July. Set 1000 feet abve sea level, it has 52 steps to the top, from which eight counties can be seen, including landmarks such as the Humber Bridge and Lincoln Cathedral.
Crich was the setting for the ITV drama series Peak Practice (along with Ashover for a time). Crich is home to 'The Briars', a residential youth centre for the Catholic Diocese of Nottingham. It hosts approximately 5000 young people a year from across the East Midlands, working with them on personal, social and spiritual themes. Images of the village also appear in the 2007 film "And When Did You Last See Your Father" starring Colin Firth. In the film Firth is seen riding a motorbike up Chapel Lane.
Quarrying at Crich probably began in mediaeval times. In 1791 Benjamin Outram and Samuel Beresford bought land for a quarry to supply limestone to their new iron works at Butterley. This became known as Hilt's Quarry, and the stone was transported down a steep wagonway, the Butterley Company Gangroad, to the Cromford Canal at Bullbridge. Near there they also built limekilns for supplying farmers and for the increasing amount of building work. Apart from a period when it was leased to Albert Banks, the quarry and kilns were operated by the Butterley Company until 1933.
The gangroad, descending some 300 feet in about a mile, was at first worked by gravity, a brakeman "spragging" the wheels of the wagons, which were returned to the summit by horses. However, in 1812 the incline was the scene of a remarkable experiment, when William Brunton, an engineer for the company, produced his Steam Horse locomotive.
In 1840, George Stephenson, in building the North Midland Railway, discovered deposits of coal at Clay Cross and formed what later became the Clay Cross Company. He realised that burning lime would provide a use for the coal slack that would otherwise go to waste. He leased Cliff Quarry and built limekilns at Bullbridge. They were connected by another wagonway including a section known as "The Steep", a 550-yard self-acting incline at a slope of 1 in 5.
Cliff Quarry closed in 1957, although a small amount of limestone extraction still occurs at the western end; it was bought by the Tramway Museum in 1959.
Hilt's Quarry closed in 1933 and is derelict. For 38 years, Rolls-Royce used it for dumping low-level radioactive waste such as enriched uranium, cobalt-60 and carbon-14. Following a campaign and blockades by villagers in the Crich and District Environment Action Group, dumping ceased in 2002. In 2004 the Government backed an Environment Agency document banning further dumping, and Rolls-Royce will be required to restore and landscape the site.