The Institute of Quarrying’s (IQ) Derbyshire branch celebrates its 100th anniversary this year as it commemorates its founding in 1923. A significant milestone in its history and that of the Institute of Quarrying.
Dating back to the 17th century, quarrying has a deep routed history in and around Derbyshire as one of Britain's largest suppliers of stone materials. Today, active quarry sites across the Derbyshire Peak District and Derbyshire Dales, contribute over £2.1bn per year in Gross Value Added (GVA - the measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of an economy) towards the national economy. Additionally, the two districts make up approximately 7% of the total UK supply of aggregates, with just 1% of England’s landmass¹.
Derbyshire is home to Hillhead - the largest quarrying, construction, and recycling tradeshow exhibition of its kind; along with a number of nationally significant quarry operations and The Centre for Mineral Products at the University of Derby, which delivers industry standard and globally recognised qualifications to the mineral products sector.
In the history books, 1923 represents a number of significant events that changed and inspired the world we live in today. The year saw King Tutankhamun’s burial chamber opened by Howard Carter, the end of the Civil War in Ireland, and the start of construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. For The Institute of Quarrying, the year saw its network of branches expand across further regions of the UK.
The first member from Derbyshire was William Somerville, who lived at The Cottage, Hindlow and in 1919 joined what was then known as ‘The Association of Quarry Managers’ (later renamed to the Institute of Quarrying in 1927). At this time, he acted as the District Secretary for an area in the West of England, before moving to Scotland in 1920. Over the following years, The Institute experienced an increase in members from Derbyshire and it became apparent that with a region full of passionate quarrying individuals there was potential for a new branch to be formed.
The inaugural gathering of what was then known as the Derbyshire and Northwest branch occurred at the Grove Hotel in Buxton on Saturday, 17th November 1923, six years after the inception of The Association of Quarry Managers in Caernarfon, North Wales.
The original Chairman was Tom Ryan, the Managing Director of T. Ryan, Somerville Ltd. (Hillhead Quarry), who was supported by Secretary Frank Frith of S. Taylor Frith Ltd. (Dove Holes Quarry). The additional committee members were: - William Somerville (now back in Buxton), Charles Birch, H.E. Giles, J.C. Ashwell, J.E. Barker and Frank Frith’s father, J. Mason Frith.
Despite adverse weather conditions, specifically a severe snowstorm, the meeting boasted a turnout of 15 attendees. Remarkably, the weather had failed to dampen the spirits of those present, and it was unanimously decided that the branch would continue holding branch meetings throughout the winter season. Demonstrating the characteristic resilience of the Derbyshire community.
Although information regarding the early years of the branch is limited, it is known that meetings continued to be held at the Grove Hotel in Buxton, before later moving to the Lee Wood Hotel. In the 1970s, the meeting venue shifted to the Rutland Hotel in Bakewell, and then across the street to the Wheatsheaf Hotel. Other meeting venues over the years include the Waterloo Hotel in Taddington, and the Bull I’ Th’ Thorn in Hurdlow.
Staying relevant with the times
The IQ’s Derbyshire branch has a long history of facilitating the career progression and knowledge of its members in crucial areas of the quarrying and mineral extractives industries. The branch has adapted over each decade, constantly redefining itself to offer members support as new technological advancements and ways of working have been developed.
This is evident through years of events that offer both networking and learning opportunities. Aside from frequent technical events and site visits to locally operating quarries, IQ Derbyshire branch has never been afraid to trial its own unique events. One example is the branch’s run of ‘Quarry Question Time’ events throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s. The event would focus on a topic relevant throughout the broader industry such as sustainability, government policies and the future of the industry. With a panel of experts leading discussions on widely relatable agendas, members could openly discuss and debate their thoughts, opinions, and share viewpoints.
Like many of its regional counterparts, IQ Derbyshire branch hosts an annual dinner dance which provides members with an opportunity to network during a relaxed evening of dinner and entertainment. With each event that has passed, the Derbyshire branch has made significant contributions to a number of relatable charities. The extensive list includes Buxton Mountain Rescue, The Air Ambulance Service, Local Hospices, MacMillan Nurses, Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association, Alzheimer’s Society, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Considering its decades of support for industry professionals, members and broader appeals, it’s clear to see the branch has stood the test of time and is just as integral today as it was at its inception.
Stronger today than ever
Fast forward to the present day, the IQ branch network continues to remain at the heart of membership. Branches such as IQ’s Derbyshire branch are ever-present, providing opportunities for local members to engage as a community, with a shared goal of helping and supporting each other’s progression.
The Derbyshire branch is the largest branch in terms of the total number of members, which is a good indication of its significant presence within the industry. Thanks to its dedicated volunteers and committee, members continue to experience engaging presentations, made by guest speakers, on a host of essential topics. This provides a great opportunity to obtain a wide variety of relevant Continuous Professional Development (CPD).
John McGough FIQ, Branch Chairman of IQ’s Derbyshire branch, is one of the many enthusiastic individuals who are passionate about supporting IQ members. John says: ‘It's remarkable to contemplate the rapid pace of change witnessed in the past century. This year commemorates a significant milestone for the branch reaching its Centenary. Over the years, numerous transformations have occurred such as the topics covered at events and even the way they are hosted, which may evolve further with the ongoing technological advancements of today. What truly matters to me is the individuals working in the quarrying industry and related sectors.’
Supporting John are Chris Rowan FIQ and Lewis Pinch TMIQ , who in a trailblazing idea, currently share the position of Deputy Chair for IQ’s Derbyshire branch. By doing this it combines the skills, support and knowledge of both the older and younger generation which in turn has encouraged other young individuals to participate in its committee. Chris says: ‘It’s an honour for me to serve on the Derbyshire branch committee as Deputy Chair alongside Lewis during its hundredth anniversary, along with other members who are passionate about our industry.
The branch works hard to ensure its members are the focal point of all it does, and we are pleased to see increasing numbers at our technical events that are tailored to meet members’ interests and requests. We will continue to serve the branch and carry on its success for the future of our industry.’
The dedicated committee members share responsibilities to keep the branch thriving. However, John Hattersley MIQ, Honorary Secretary, and Nigel Morton FIQ, Programme Secretary, have been fundamental to the Derbyshire branch’s success over many years by organising events, the branch programme booklet and technical meetings, which are now mostly held at the Buxton Rugby Club.
Equally as passionate about the achievements of the branch is Viv Russell FIQ, IQ President. ‘I am delighted to witness the Institute’s Derbyshire branch celebrate its centenary during my presidency. As someone who has spent a large portion of my professional career in Derbyshire, it’s been a pleasure to actively engage with and witness the branch's efforts first-hand.’
The IQ Derbyshire branch has an exciting lineup of events for the rest of the year following the recent hundredth-anniversary celebration held at the National Stone Centre, which gave appreciation towards members for their support and that of their families over the years.
Highlights from the forthcoming events programme include the Health, Safety and Environmental Conference, presentations on Drill and Blast Techniques and The Cement Rock Story, and finally the culmination of the Centenary celebrations with the Dinner Dance at the Palace Hotel, Buxton, in November.
To find out more about IQ membership, visit www.quarrying.org/membership
¹ High Peak Borough Council Minerals & Aggregate Extraction in High Peak & Derbyshire Dales A Sector Benefits Study Draft Report. (2017). Available at: https://www.highpeak.gov.uk/media/2674/Minerals--Aggregate-Extraction-in-High-Peak--Derbyshire-Dales---Draft-Report/pdf/Minerals_Aggregate_Extraction_in_High_Peak_Derbyshire_Dales_-_Draft_Report.pdf