Cawdor Quarry is a disused quarry, designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, located in Matlock, Derbyshire.
The stone quarried from Cawdor were laid down in a warm shallow sea 325 million years ago, during the Dinantian Stage of the Carboniferous Period. These rocks contain a variety of shell fossils and microfossils, including molluscs, brachiopods and echinodems. The construction of Hyde Park Corner and the Thames Embankment in London used stone from the quarry.
Mr. J. Smart was a Nottingham born Asphalt and Tar paving Contractor who lived in Stevenage, close to Letchworth. There were actually two Josiah Smarts, father and son, who were operating the Station Quarry at Matlock in 1904. Josiah Smart (senior) died on 9 March 1915 but his business continued to operate in Matlock for a further fourteen years.
Constable Hart and Josiah Smart were two of the largest manufacturers of tar macadam and asphalt in the Matlock district and their two quarries were next door to each other with Constable Hart operating the Cawdor quarry. In January 1929, the newspapers were speculating about their possible amalgamation, although Mr. Birch, who worked for Constable Hart was unsure whether the two would join forces or if one would take over the other. By 1931, Constable Hart was operating both Cawdor and Station quarries. By 1935, Derbyshire Stone was formed to bring together stone quarrying assets of Constable Hart and Co, J. Hadfield and Sons, and Caldon Low Quarries, as well as the whole of Greatorex and Son, and Hopton Wood Stone Firms, and Hartington Quarries.
Permanite opened the Second Mastic Asphalt unit in 1946 at Cawdor Quarry, Matlock, the works were built in a similar style to WWII Nissen huts. Tarmac acquired Derbyshire Stone and William Briggs to form Tarmac Derby in 1968.
Around 1986/87, Tarmac could no longer maintain such a large operation at Cawdor, so closed the quarry, making the staff redundant. Permanite Asphalt was now the only company operating in the quarry.
In 2000, the land was bought by Sainsbury's. They built a new road, bus station and bridge over the River Derwent, as well as the supermarket which opened in 2007. Plans for 400 homes to be built in the quarry were shelved due to the land being contaminated with hydrocarbons. The quarry is now becoming a building site, with over 430 buildings planned. The Permanite site is thought to be eventually converted into flats.
Peak Rail use part of Cawdor Quarry sidings to connect to the mainline at Matlock.