Landslip of 1897

Derby Mercury: Wed 10 March 1897
THE landslip which is at present in progress in the neighbourhood of the Midland Railway at Whatstandwell, though it has not at present assumed very alarming proportions, may, nevertheless, become very serious unless the movement of the land is arrested. The spot where the landslip has manifested itself is between the new and old stations at Whatstandwell and towards the base of the hill which rises up to Crich Stand, a hill which has during recent years been the scene of at least two landslips of considerable magnitude. The summit of the hill, in the neighbourhood of the quarry, has, however, been the only portion previously affected, and although considerable damage was wrought on these occasions, the present landslip, should it assume the gravity which is quite within the bounds of possibility, would probably eclipse them in extent of damage. It is, of course, impossible to say to what extent the movement is likely to alter the configuration of the land without better knowledge of the extent to which the hillside is affected than can at present be obtained. It is a fact, however, that the hills in the neighbourhood referred to are by reason of their peculiar formation, rendered particularly treacherous, and it is even hinted at that the railway company may yet find it necessary to lay a new permanent way on the opposite side of the valley, and out of the reach of the hills, the vagaries of which have always occasioned more or less anxiety. We hear it stated that the company have endeavoured to arrest the movement of the land by means of a judicious distribution of heavy masonry, but those who understand the nature of these landslides in the Peak district will be probably inclined to believe that should the present movement be due to the dislocation of any considerable portion of land, the efforts of man to cope with the position must inevitably prove futile. It is conjectured that the recent earthquake is probably the cause of the slide, and the symptoms at present noticed are certainly in favour of the assumption that the occurrence is something more than superficial. The railway company have been watching the phenomena for over a fortnight and it is stated that in addition to the canal – which runs between the railway and the base of the hill being rendered impassable, the metals of the permanent way have been raised almost six inches, and a movement of the river bank has already been perceptible. The opening of cracks in the land up the hillside is anything but reassuring – in fact, they seem to point to the hypothesis that the slide is occurring over a considerable area.