Clay Cross is a small ex mining town standing 470 feet above sea level. Situated on the A61, 5-mile south of Chesterfield, 20-mile north of Derby in the county of Derbyshire. Clay Cross goes back to the Roman times when the main road A61 was called Rykneld Street.
On the crossroads of Stretton Road, High Street, Clay Lane and Thanet Street once stood a cross from which the town derived its name. The stone that the cross once stood in can still be found today in the church yard of St Bartholomew’s in the town.
Early Christians are thought to have erected the cross on a pilgrimage. The Parish Church ( St Bartholomew) was founded in 1851. The churchyard was closed for burials in 1878 because of the heavy death rate.
In the early nineteenth century Clay Cross was a small rural village of just a hand full of houses around the crossroads. George Stephenson inventor of the (Rocket) The Railway Pioneer changed the area in 1837 by building the Clay Cross Tunnel for his new mainline, Derby to Leeds Railway.
Whilst constructing the railway line coal and iron was found. This prompted George to sink several colliery shafts. Bringing money to the town the town started to expand. In 1851 George founded the Clay Cross Company known locally as (Clay Cross Works) later known as Biwater. The company was closed in 2000 with the loss of 700 jobs.
Parkhouse Colliery was just one of the many collieries that was situated in the town of Clay Cross. In 1882 it was the scene of a dreadful disaster with 34 lives lost. A memorial was erected in the local cemetery in memory of all the victims of that tragic disaster.