Having spent a wonderful few days in the North West cities of Liverpool and Manchester I couldn’t face several hours of motorway driving so I decided to journey back home via the High Peak District of Derbyshire taking in Glossop, the notorious Snake pass, the Hope Valley and Lady Bower Reservoir.
What a beautiful drive it was too. The road out of Glossop was breath taking as we rose rapidly upwards towards the hills and moorlands of the Dark Peak. Nestled in the shadow of the Pennines the town is an ideal launch pad for walkers and adventurers wanting to explore the rugged terrain of the Peak District. Glossop is also proud to have been the birthplace of two outstanding creative women. The award winning writer Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher) and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood born in the nearby village of Tintwistle.
Having driven carefully around the tight bends and steep climbs of the notorious Snake Pass my first stop was the beautiful Lady Bower and Derwent reservoirs. After the noise and clamour of the bright city lights it was calming to stroll along the footpaths of the River Derwent and start to slowly relax and unwind.
As I passed through the picturesque town of Hathersage I suddenly noticed from the car a building I had seen some years before on an Architectural Awards television programme. I turned the car around and pulled in to the David Mellor Cutlery factory which is housed in the stunning award winning Round Building. The Round Building was built from locally resourced gritstone and has a beautiful sloping domed cap roof made of lead.
I soon discovered that the purpose built factory was designed by Sir Michael Hopkins for one of Britain`s best known designers David Mellor, internationally recognised for his stunning collections of cutlery from the 1950`s.
What I didn’t know was that David Mellor was also responsible for much of the street furniture we see around us today including traffic signals, lighting columns, bus shelters, litter bins, post boxes, bollards and outdoor seating. As you approach the Country shop, Design Museum and café many of his urban designs are displayed in an unexpected outdoor street scene. The traffic lights are also present in the café which doubles up as museum space.
The Museum displays the private collections of the Mellor family chronicling the designs and works of both David Mellor (1930-2009) and his son Corin in recent years. The collection of cutlery was informative and beautifully aesthetic to look at. I particularly liked the `English` Silver cutlery which was originally designed for 10 Downing Street. The `Embassy` Steel candlesticks were simply stunning pieces of tableware.
The factory tour was not available on the day I arrived so bitterly disappointed I went and found solace in the Cafe with a huge piece of home-made Carrot cake and a pot of tea all served of course in David Mellor teapots, cups, saucers, side plates on Mellor tables and chairs.
Refreshed I then walked around the wonderful country shop and picked out a couple of birthday presents including a black delicately textured Japanese style teapot with a stainless steel infuser at a price I could comfortably afford. Much of the modern cutlery produced in the Round Building next door can be bought inside the shop. The Mail Order catalogue contains some stunning photographs of the products available to buy which includes silver cutlery, furniture, glass, porcelain and many other beautiful items for both the home and kitchen.
I would certainly recommend you visit the David Mellor Design Museum and Round Building if you are in the vicinity of Hathersage or the Ladybower reservoir. It was a relaxing couple of hours spent in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside.
The Round Building, Hathersage, Derbyshire.