Bailey's Tump (2005 - 2008)

What is Bailey's Tump?

The Tump (a mound) is made from spoil out of the excavations for the Derwent Valley aqueduct. This pipeline was installed through the fields to the west In the early 1900s. It carries water from the Derwent Dams (20 miles to the north) a far as Leicester (40 miles to the south). The landowner at the time was Ernest Bailey.  So the sIte became known as ‘Bailey’s Tump’.

In 1940, BaiIey’s Tump was fortified as an air defence site.

The circular enclosures are the remains of the ramparts which sheltered the equipment and the soldiers. It formed part of the outer defences for Sheffield and its vital steel industry.  In 1940-41 the site was equipped with a searchlight, sound locator, electricity generator and machine guns.  The concrete crew shelter was made in Derbyshire at Stanton Ironworks.

In winter 1940-41, an attacking Dornier bomber was brought down by fire from Bailey’s Tump.  It crashed near Great Longstone.  In this action, the attacking bomber shot out the Bailey’s Tump searchlight and slightly injured some of the soldiers. It is this incident that is depicted on the site plaque.

In 1944 and 1945 the searchlight was pointed upwards to act as a navigation aid for allied bombers attacking Germany.

Between 2005 and 2008, Matlock Civic Association restored the site, off Asker Lane, that has commanding views over Matlock, Riber Castle and the Derwent Valley, An explanatory plaque describing the history of its use used in World War II as a searchlight and gun emplacement, was erected.  The site was formally opened in 2008 as a new public open space. This work was 50% funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Other contributions, together with hundreds of hours of voluntary effort from Civic Association members, made up the other 50%.  The total value of the project was £31,000.  The site is now managed by Matlock Town Council.  Bailey’s Tump is one of the few World War 2 Air Defence sites where the events of 1940-41 can be so easily imagined.  Earthworks and the ruins of buildings are still clearly visible.  It is now one of the best preserved of these sites in the country.

Project Planning and Initial Works

The Plan

Site Plan
Peter Attwater discusses his design with Alex Worth of Leander

Clearance & Groundwork

Contractors clearing brambles at Bailey's Tump, Dec. 2005
Robert Taylor, contractor, preparing to excavate drain at Bailey's Tump, Feb. 2006
Drainage trench excavated by contractor at Bailey’s Tump, Feb. 2006
New fence to demarcate the leased area
Evening sun on the cleared site
Glyn Yates making the new access path
Hedge planting; David Smith & Mick Land

Erecting the Plinth & Seat

Unloading the stone plinth; Frank Wayne at the controls; Oct. 2006
Fixing the stone plinth in position; Frank Wayne at the controls and David Smith watching
Placing the seat

Fixing the Plaque

Alan Jodrell drilling the holes for fixing
Bailey's Tump plaque installed. Peter Attwater (artist) with Alan Jodrell and Anthony Hoole from Leander; (plaque suppliers)
Placing the plaque
Evening sun; 29th June
Bailey's Tump plaque; a bronze relief
Peter Attwater's drawing of Bailey's Tump in wartime action

The Opening Ceremony in 2008

Peter Attwater unveils the plaque

The opening ceremony took place in May 2008.  There were about 500 people present.

Peter Attwater did the unveiling of the site plaque.  ‘Reveille’ was played by the ATC bugler.  A celebration cake, organised by Tottie Holden was cut by two WW2 RAF veterans. Other people who remembered the Tump from WW2 were lined up for a photo. There was a flypast by a Lancaster bomber. Speakers included the Mayor (David Barker) and the Lord Lieutenant.

The plaque unveiled
Peter Attwater and crowd
The finished plaque
Lancaster veterans Fred James and Lawrence Rattigan cutting the Bailey’s Tump cake
People who remembered Bailey’s Tump in World War 2
Flypast by iconic Lncaster bomber


Baileys Tump is now managed under a lease from the landowners (The Sisters of Presentation Convent) to Matlock Town Council. The Sisters were advised by their agent Richard Reeves.  The solicitors acting for the Town Council were Heny, Loveday and Keighley.

The Heritage Lottery Fund allocated £15,391 towards the project. 

Additional financial support was from Nationwide Building Society, (for the two benches,) and from Severn Trent Water’s Community Fund (for the site access).  Match funding is the value of voluntary contributions and donations.

Ken Parker of Matlock Civic Association acted as project manager including liaison with the Convent and Town Council and securing the services of the various contractors used in the project.

Robert Taylor of Special Branch Landscape and Tree Services did the initlal heavy site clearance and boundary work.

Glyn Yates was the contractor for the site access.

Birchover Quarries Ltd. donated the stone for the plinth for the site plaque and arranged the installation by Frank Wayne.

Peter Attwater of MCA supplied the historic information and was the was the artist for the site plaque.  He also liaised with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight for the 10th May Opening Event Lancaster Flypast.

Leander Architectural Ltd of Doveholes designed, modelled and cast the bronze site plaque. Sue McAvoy, Steve Hoyle, Alex Worth, Alan Jodrell and Anthony Hoole were the main contributors from Leander.

John Dunsby supplied the oak benches.

Matlock Town Council have maintained the slte since the initial clearance work. Councillors Martin Burfoot and Barrle Tipping have been the principal contacts along with the Town Clerk, Sue Smith.

MCA volunteers for site work were led by David Smith. The main contributors were Michael Land, Brian Howitt, Martin Burfoot and Ken Parker. MCA volunteers carried. out various manual tasks – including assisting with site clearance, hedge planting and the installation of the benches. Mike Walton and Barry Middleton were neighbours of Bailey’s Tump who were particularly helpful.

Tottie Holden (MCA) organised the refreshments and bunting for the opening ceremony on 10th May 2008 with numerous helpers. Matlock Rotary Club supplied the main marquee for the opening ceremony and the Girl Guides supplied the flagpole and flag.