June 1st. First day of meteorological summer and surprisingly it still feels like summer. With the Peak District villages and hot spots likely to be teeming the thought was to cycle south again. Back down to Hedgeland. A little bit of pedalling would make a nice change of leg motion from stamping on flames in the local wood – the result of some morons lighting a fire whilst rough camping during the driest May on record. Hopefully the 1800 litres of water applied by Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb finally sorted the issue of that particular hot spot.
In the 1840s Wirksworth used to be a pub hot spot with over 50 inns and taverns. Today, even if you stretch the town's boundaries somewhat, that number fails to reach double figures. One of those bygone boozers was the Green Man Inn and having pinned down its location one of the aims of the ride was to get a pic or two.
Factor 30 applied, it was off into the sunshine once more. With limited time available tomorrow - having to stay in to await a respiratory outpatients phone consultation - must get the miles in whilst the sun shines. It seems as if summer is due to stop on Wednesday.
Longcliffe, Manystones Lane, followed by a quick zig and a zag found me hurtling down into Wirksworth. The rather disturbing grating sound suggested an inspection of the rear brake blocks would be appropriate when I got home.
The Green Man, with its distinctive triple windows, was once serving ale from Hardy's Kimberley brewery at the Pig Market, or in today's parlance at 4 West End. Operating from at least the early 1820s, Pigot's directory of 1821/2 has one William Chadwick in occupation. He's there for another eight years or so before being replaced by John Shaw. Pigot's 1829 edition lists William but their competitors in the gazetteer business, Glover's, give Shaw there in their edition published the same year. The inn seemed to change hands pretty regularly, with no landlord staying put for any substantial length of time.
The picture below is from 1886 and can be found on the Wirksworth website, www.wirksworth.org.uk. George Holland's in charge at the time but he's lowered into the graveyard the following year. Quite why there were so many soldiers milling around outside the Green Man I've no idea.
When did it close? I'm not totally sure of that, but possibly around 1911/12. It was still operating at the time of the 1911 census with George Butlin but is absent from Kelly's directory published the following year and doesn't appear in any later editions that I've looked at. In fairly recent times it housed a ceramics gallery but now looks to be in residential use.
Well, that's one of Wirksworth's bygone boozers dealt with, but with around forty more it seems like I've a bit more Wirk to do. But not on the brake blocks. They've been changed already.
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