Midland Cottages

Shortly after Richard Barrow’s death, in 1865, Charles Markham negotiated an agreement between the Staveley Coal and Iron Company and the Midland Railway whereby the railway company would provide motive power to the Staveley Ironworks for one hundred years.

The growth of the Staveley Company, and the inevitable increase in traffic, led to the need for a larger engine shed to replace the smaller one, which had been erected earlier near the station, and for cottages for the railway workers.

Midland Cottages Map 1876

1876 Map showing Allport Terrace

Allport Terrace is not listed in the 1871 England Census and first appears on an 1876 map.

Ten cottages were built in each of two parallel rows on a site adjacent to the top row of block houses.

They were built in red brick with verandas, decorative string courses and Gothic arched windows.

Allport detail 2008 wm

The cottages were named after Sir James Joseph Allport, General Manager of the Midland Railway, who had been a friend and business associate of both Richard Barrow and Charles Markham.

J J Allport wm

Sir James Joseph Allport (1811 – 1892)

In May 1892, the Derbyshire Courier reported that work had begun on more than thirty further cottages. Midland Terrace consisted of two rows of twelve cottages which were built higher up the hill and extended the rows from Allport Terrace.

Midland terrace cutting 21.5.1892 DC

Derbyshire Courier 21.5.1892

These cottages were built in the same style as Allport Terrace and had three bedrooms, a front parlour and a scullery with a copper and a pantry.

Midland and Traffic Terrace DC 13.8.1892

Derbyshire Courier 13.8.1892


Midland Cottages Map


By August 1892, work was  almost complete on the first block of ten cottages of Traffic Terrace. Initially referred to as “Sheffield” Terrace, the workmen building the cottages were from Sheffield and used this block as temporary accommodation.

A further block of 8 cottages (numbers 11 to 18) and a final block of 9 cottages (numbers 19 to 27) were built at a later stage, with number 27, Traffic Terrace still unfinished at the time of the 1901 England Census.

Midland Cottages Map 2

1894 Laying the foundation stone Allport Terrace2 wm

22.9.1894 Photograph: Mrs Eileen Newham

1894 Laying the foundation stone Allport Terrace wm

22.9.1894 Photograph: Mrs Eileen Newham

1894 Laying the foundation stone Traffic Terrace wm

22.9.1894 Photograph: Mrs Eileen Newham

1894 Laying the foundation stone Traffic Terrace2 wm

22.9.1894 Photograph: Mrs Eileen Newham

Known collectively as the “Midland Cottages,” or the “Railway Houses,” the three Terraces have all survived with many original features still visible on some. Confusingly for family historians, East and West Railway Terraces (The Long Row) are also occasionally referred to as the “Railway Cottages, Barrow Hill” in some newspaper reports.

Arthur Fox lived at Midland Terrace from 1916 until his marriage. He wrote that, “Although the house at No.11, Midland Terrace was good, the conveniences left much to be desired compared with the present day. Electric light had not yet arrived at Barrow Hill.  There were no W.C.’s, simply middens and pans in the railway houses, there was no gas, all means of light was from oil lamps which had to be trimmed daily. For quite a few years after moving to No.11, although taps had been installed in the houses, there was no pressure of water and one would have to collect drinking water from a spring in the nearby field. A wash down in a zinc bath in front of the fire when other members of the family were either out or in bed was a luxury. For wash day with copper and two tubs, my mother would sit up almost all the previous night to draw sufficient water. In those days, a ponch and dolly pegs were used and a mangle as big as a tractor engine.”

© Ann Lucas

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