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Clay Cross company began as George Stephenson and Company in 1837. Stephenson was driving a railway from Leeds to Derby and five miles from Chesterfield came to Clay Cross Hill with scattered homesteads and a collection of stone houses grouped at a cross roads on the Derby to Sheffield Turnpike road, now the A61, in Norman, Saxon and Norman times called Rycknield Street. This street ran from Burton, through Derby, northwards and is traceable through Ambergate, Pentrich, South Wingfield, Higham, Clay Cross to Chesterfield, and on to Templeborough near Sheffield in Yorkshire. The driving and completion of the tunnel through Clay Cross Hill began the growth and development of Clay Cross. Work commenced on 2nd February 1837 and six shafts were sunk along the route where the few houses were situated, providing twelve faces for the labourers to tunnel, in addition to the two ends. Boring through a hill full of wet coal measures provided a vast drain for the water which had to be pumped away, and at each shaft huge fires were kept blazing to provide ventilation and enable hundreds of workers to work at night. The oil and ironstone measures discovered whilst driving the tunnel prompted George Stephenson to found a company in 1837, and George Stephenson and Company built houses for the tunnel navvies and later, as they sank colliery workings, for the miners and their families. Some 400 houses were built, and by 1846 the population of the area had reached 1,478; an ironworks with steam engines for blowing, pumping and hauling kept some 600 men employed. As the company prospered so did the town grow, listing by 1857 some 2,278 inhabitants. Schools were provided by the Company, also shops, chapels and a church. A Mechanics Institute was one of the features of educational interest by the Company. On 12th August 1848 George Stephenson died at Tapton House Chesterfield, and on his death his son Robert succeeded to his father's position, later severing his connection with the Company, which then became Clay Cross Company, taking its name from the developing township of Clay Cross. During these early days of development the growing town was virtually governed by the Company, and the area was known as Clay Lane; a Local Board took over the administration in 1878. By 1894 Clay Cross Urban District Council was established. (information from www.timewarp.demon.co.uk/ned/clayx) A Midland Railway wagon is shown in the background.