I visited Crich on a very wet day in May with the local U3A group. We couldn’t have chosen a worse day for the weather, but at least it had the advantage of being quiet.
There was a ten minute service with three trams running – be warned the Sheffield Tram is not the easiest to climb onto and we needed a push up from the rear. The Glasgow one was marginally better. They do have a fully accessible tram although you may need to ask about that.
Unfortunately trams were terminating at Wakebridge as the top of the line was closed for work on the wires. Single working meant the tram sat and waited here for 5 minutes until the arrival of the next tram and swapping of tokens – just time to admire the small lead mining exhibit and the toilet ‘fuelled’ by earthworms.
I debated taking the Woodland Walk back to Victoria Park but was warned that after all the rain it was muddy.
I joined a guided tour in the Great Exhibition Hall given by a really knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteer about the history of trams. It lasted just over 30 minutes, was well worth while and I can recommend it. I now know why early trams all had a small clerestory in the roof. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to join the talk and visit round the Tram exhibits in the Derby Assembly Rooms.
The highlight of Crich is definitely the trams and a ride on them. With admission you are given a genuine old 1d coin to hand to the conductor in exchange for an all day ticket. The conductor has an old fashioned bank of tickets as well as a punch.
The tram depot contains a selection of working trams – the museum has around 40 – as well as those awaiting restoration. A viewing area allows you to watch work being done. The level of craftsmanship and attention to detail is amazing and a panel in the Great Exhibition Hall details all the different stages from bare wood to the final finished coat.
The village consists of buildings that have been reassembled here. In pride of place is the Red Lion Hotel complete with lion on top and elaborate tilework. It is getting an increasing reputation for its real ales too. Alternatively there is Rita’s Tea rooms as well as an old fashioned sweet shop selling every sort of sweet you an imagine from big glass jars displayed on shelves along the back wall of the shop.There is a small printers workshop complete with an eagle press.
Street furniture isn’t forgotten either with a cast iron Gents pissoir outside the pub, as well Victorian post box, blue Metropolitan police box, and a press button A and B red telephone box. The horses aren’t forgotten either with a drinking trough.
Crich makes a good day out. It isn’t on the same scale as Beamish or the Black Country Museum, but is much more manageable! Do choose a sunny day though!