CRICH PARISH

which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell

Candle Factory and WW1 PoW Quarters

With thanks to Stuart Allsop and Paddy Cooke

photo of Allsops Bakery

The building to the right of what was once Allsop's Bakery (now the Loaf) was once a candle factory and then winter quarters for German prisoners of war during WW1.

Candle Factory

The candle fat was wheel-barrowed up from the farm which was opposite and the candles were made in the upstairs part of the building.

wooden beams in candle factory

The candles were hung from these beams. It is thought that the candles were made for the local coal mines at a time when the only light used in mines was the candle. They were made of ox or sheep tallow, with a cotton wick with forty-five candles to the pound. Ox tallow was considered the best.

PoW Winter Quarters

It was in this upper room that WW1 German prisoners of war slept during the winter months, exercising in the large room below. In the summer months they were housed in tents close to Hilts Quarry where they worked. Three of the prisoners died and were buried in Crich churchyard where Fred Walker (Church Warden) tended the graves and was paid a small fee by the War Graves Commission for doing so. Between the wars the bodies were repatriated back to Germany. The three were: Otto Gehrhardt aged 23, Franj Kaminski aged 28 and Franz Koyub aged 31(the graves were in row 13 and 14 of 'new ground' from east wall to top of quarry hole)

Whilst the prisoners were working in Hilts Quarry they were treated kindly by the locals, in particular by Henry and Lily Holtham. Henry was a foreman engine driver at the quarry. Lily Holtham would bake for them and Henry provide extra rations from his allotment.

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