Lawn Bridge historical notes

Lawn Bridge, more commonly called the ‘Old Iron Bridge’ is a Bridle Way crossing point over the remains of the Cromford Canal.  The original bridge across the River Erewash was a gateway into the deer park of Codnor Castle and was of unknown antiquity.  When the canal was constructed in 1794, the bridle way had to be maintained and the first bridge built of stone followed.

The name is derived from the fields called ‘The Lawn’ in the Codnor Park estate that flank the river Erewash at this point. 

The first map we have found showing the Lawn Bridge is dated 1801 and is one of the earliest maps showing the canal after it had actually been constructed.  Another map dated May 25th 1808 and drawn by William Jessop junior also shows the Lawn Bridge and confirms it as a bridle way.  His map shows the area in some detail, including the very first bridle bridge location over the River Erewash.  This was replaced by a bridle carriage way (still horse drawn of course) and new bridge, the remains of which are still visible.  This bridge carried the first railway/tramway over the river and then over Lawn Bridge.

In 1822/1823 the Butterley Company constructed an aqueduct and basin on the Jacksdale side of the river Erewash and Cromford Canal with yet another bridle bridge that we still see today.

In 1845 the Midland Railway removed the original Lawn Bridge and replaced it with another (type unknown), built a raised slag block embankment and re-directed the railway over a new tramway bridge, the remains of which can still be seen today.

The right of way was un-affected at this point in time as all the traffic was horse drawn and it was felt it represented no danger to anyone.  However, in 1871 the right of way was re-routed because the Butterley Company had introduced locomotive engines to work the railway and that this represented a danger to the public.

By 1902 the Lawn Bridge and the tramway bridge had been removed completely and this remained the case until 1943 when the Butterley Company built the ‘Bailey Style Bridge’ while competing for a Government contract to replace all the bridges that would be required in the re-conquest of Europe in the Second World War. 

This bridge was again ‘adopted’ as a right of way through the Codnor Park Ironworks until its controversial removal for ‘safety’ reasons during the open cast excavations that took place early this century.

When the bridges were removed in 1902 a new bridle route was established along the canal haling path and across a concrete bridge next to lock six and the dry dock.

Today it remains the only canal crossing point between Ironville and the old black bridge over a mile away down water of the canal.  This crossing point is old, dangerous (its condition is completely unknown) in-adequate, poorly sited and un-wanted. 

Lawn Bridge, more commonly called the ‘Old Iron Bridge’ is a Bridle Way crossing point over the remains of the Cromford Canal.  The original bridge across the River Erewash was a gateway into the deer park of Codnor Castle and was of unknown antiquity.  When the canal was constructed in 1794, the bridle way had to be maintained and the first bridge built of stone followed.  Since that time and for various reasons  there have been a further two bridges, but now we have no bridge at all.  Hopefully the Lawn Bridge Project will put this right.

You will find pictures of the bridge before it was demolished on this link:

If you would like to see what Codnor Park Ironworks looked like in 1936 - Click on the thumbnail below:


Codnor Park Iron Works

First Reference to Ironville as a place name

Here is what could be the earliest reference to 'Ironville' as a place name ever.  It was actually referred to as 'Ironville Meadows'The date is 9th July 1821.  They applied for a 'Market' licence from the Crown even though Ironville at that time only consisted of one row of houses, Foundry Row or Furnace Row.

First ref to Ironville

Extract from The Ilkeston Leader, and Erewash Valley Advertiser October 19th 1861

CODNOR PARK – Massive Iron works – The Butterley Company have just completed some extensive Iron Works at their forge, Codnor Park, consisting of eight wrought iron plates, of which the finished dimensions are 25ft 3in long by 7ft wide in the middle, and 2¼” thick full, the gross dimensions are 28ft long, by 7ft 4in wide and 2¼” thick. The weight is about five tons each. These plates are made for Messrs McNapier and Co., of Glasgow, ship builders and engineers, who constructed the Black Prince for the Government. Some idea of the magnitude of the plates may be formed from the fact that the largest armour plates made for any English vessel may not exceed four feet in width. Those just completed were beam plates, and the whole of the operations requisite for their production were conducted very successfully. The Butterley Company have received specifications for a set of armour plates, and in contemplation of these and other works the company are about another extensive rolling mill with four engines of the same power, with 24 puddling furnaces. By these means the company will be able to roll very large beams instead of welding them. Two years ago a double headed rail, probably the longest in the world, the length being no less than 86feet, was produced at these works. In the present forge there has been cast the rim of a flywheel 24ft. in diameter, weighing about 21 tons and others weighing from 26 to 30 tons are about to be cast. The company consume from 500 to 600 tons of coal per week.

Ironville & Codnor Park Circa 1891

Ironville  From a  Derbyshire Directory circa 1891

IRONVIILLE is a populous township, in the parish of Alfreton. Ironville is half a mile north from Codnor Park stations on the Erewash section of the Midland and Great Northern railways, and 3 ½ miles south-east from Alfreton, in the Mid division of the county, Scarsdale hundred, Belper union, Alfreton petty sessional division and county court district, and 1850  was formed into an ecclesiastical parish from the civil parishes of Alfreton, Pentrich , Heanor and Codnor, in this county, and Selston, in Nottinghamshire, Codnor Park, though a separate township, being within the ecclesiastical parish, rural deanery of Alfreton, archdeaconry of Derby and diocese of Southwell. The township is close to the Cromford canal, and the Pinxton canal commences here. The place is lighted with gas and supplied with water by the Butterley Company. Christ Church, erected in 1852 by the Butterley Company, is an edifice of stone, consisting of chancel, nave, transepts, south porch and an embattled western tower containing a clock and one bell : in the chancel are three memorial windows to William Jessop esq. and in the baptistery, a memorial window and tablet, erected in 1873 by the parishioners, to Francis Wright esq. ; in the south transept is a stained window placed in 1871 by the Rev. W. E. Littlewood M.A. then vicar: and in the north transept a memorial tablet, to the Rev. John Casson, first vicar of this parish : in 1885 the choir was completely renovated and new stalls erected: there are 600 sittings. The register dates from the year 1850. The living is a vicarage, gross yearly value £250 with residence, in the gift of five trustees, and held since 1887 by the Rev. Rowland Paul Hills M.A .LL. D. of Queens' College, Cambridge. There is a Free Methodist Chapel here, built, in 1874 and seating about 300; and a Primitive Methodist chapel, built in 1883-4, and seating 300. The cemetery consists of about 3 acres. Most of the inhabitants are employed in the steel and iron works and at the smelting furnaces, immense quantities of iron being wrought in this neighbourhood; there are also collieries. A weekly market  is held on Saturday. In the neighbourhood is an extensive park, the property of the Butterley Co. used by the inhabitants of this district as a recreation ground, and in the centre is a monumental pillar erected in 1854 by the workmen and friends of the Butterley Co. to William Jessop esq.,the founder of the works. The Butterley Co. and the Midland and Great Northern Railway Cos. are the chief landowners. The soil is clayey; subsoil, chiefly marl and clay. The area is 1407 acres; rateable value included with Alfreton; the population in 1881 was 2802.


Codnor Park   From a Derbyshire Directory  Circa 1891

CODNOR PARK, formerly extra-parochial, now forms part of the ecclesiastical parish of Ironville (a brook which runs under the principal street, about half-way up, dividing the township) ; it is on the Erewash valley railway and the Erewash and Cromford canals, and is 132 miles from London by rail, 4 south-east from Alfreton, 3 east from Ripley, and 8 north-east from Belper, in the Ilkeston division of the county, hundred of Morleston and Litchurch, Basford union, Smalley petty sessional division, Alfreton county court district, rural deanery of Alfreton, archdeaconry of Derby and diocese of Southwell. The canals form a junction here, and the railway, with a station at this point, is in direct communication with the works and collieries in the neighbourhood. Codnor Castle, formerly standing in a park, covering an area of 1500 acres, appears to have been a large fortress, and a part of the walls and foundations still remain: it belonged to the Lords Grey of Codnor, and after passing through several hands, was bought, in 1712, by Sir S. Masters, and is now the property of the Butterley Company Limited, who have laid out 7 acres as a park and recreation ground ; in the centre of which, on the top of a bill, is a monumental pillar of stone, 70 feet high, erected in 1854 by the workmen and friends of the Butterley Company in the memory of William Jessop esq. the founder of the works ; 150 winding steps within the column lead to a gallery at the top, from which very extensive views can be obtained ; some years ago it was struck by lighting and traces of the occurrence are visible down the whole of one side The Butterley Co. Limited have very extensive ironworks here for the smelting and manufacture of steel and all descriptions of iron, several blast-furnaces being constantly at work; the company are also proprietors of several collieries in this county and in Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire;  iron-stone, coal and other minerals abound. A Temperance hall, Institute and baths, were erected by the company in 1866; the former building is now occupied by the Conservative Club. The greater portion of the population are employed in the ironworks and collieries.  Aldercar Hall, the property of F. B. Wright esq. is the residence of Francis Hugh Adams esq. M.A. The chief landowners are the Butterley Company Limited, the Venerable Archdeacon Woolley, of East Bergholt, Suffolk and F. C. Corfield esq. M.A., J.P. of Codnor. The soil is clayey; subsoil, marl and clay. The crops are wheat and oats, but the land is chiefly in pasture. The acreage is 1401; rateable value, £9967; the -population in 1881 was 1073.

Golden Valley is partly in this township and partly in Riddings district. There is a school church-here, served by the clergy of Ironville.




To see Who was living  in Codnor Park, Derbyshire on Sunday 2nd April 1911 click HERE

Where did the residents of Codnor Park go to get married pre-Civil Registration (1837)? To find out Click HERE