National Association of Mining History Organisations (NAMHO) Newsletter
Issue 37

Editor - Wes Taylor;
 18 Station Lane, Walton on Trent, Swadlingcote, Derbys. DE12 8NA

24 - 26 September 1999

The organisers of the NAMHO'99 Conference extend a warm welcome to you.  It
is now  20 years since the formation of NAMHO and this, the tenth biennial
conference, is being held in the well known and picturesque mining district
of the Royal Forest of Dean. An exciting programme of speakers, underground
visits and surface walks has been arranged to cater for all interests,
abilities and ages.
Based at the Civil Service Motoring Association (CSMA) site at Parkend, the
Conference looks set to be another success.  The organisers are fortunate to
have found such a convenient and attractive centre for the main events and a
marquee has been arranged for the evening meal and entertainment on Saturday
night.  Camping, chalets and caravan pitches are available on site, as well
as an adventure playground for children and an indoor swimming pool.
The Conference theme is mainly based upon British mining customs but it also
includes speakers describing mining around the Forest of Dean and
contributions from the Mines  Inspectorate and Mines Rescue Service. Simon
Timberlake, a mining archaeologist, will raise an awareness of mining
features which may be more important than is normally assumed. The talks
will end with reminiscences from a well known NAMHO member who actually
worked in coal and iron ore mines in the Forest of Dean during the Second
World War.
On Saturday evening, Mr Watts will show his excellent film on Free Mining in
the Forest of Dean.  The evening will also include a chance to see Dave
Carlisle's very entertaining recreation of a nineteenth century mining
The underground trips and surface walks have been categorised to emphasise
suitable abilities and range from the very easy to the very ambitious. The
organisers hope that member's  families will make the most of the venue and
NAMHO events are an opportunity for member organisations and their members
to meet like-minded people, to exchange information, to provide the mining
history community with an annual point of contact and an opportunity to get
out of their own environment. We hope you will enjoy this years event.

Some of the delegates at this Conference will remember the "Mining
Conference at Beamish on 23-24 June 1979 when the final session
(5.00-5.30pm) was a discussion on "The Future".  My notes of this meeting
say that it was resolved to:-
a.  to set up a Standing Council of Club Representatives
b.  for these Representatives to meet at Matlock Bath in September 1979
c.  to arrange a biennial conference and for the first conference to be held
in Shropshire in June 1981.
d.  admission charge to Conference to be no more than £5 and  for there to
be trips on the Friday and Monday before and after the Conference.
The first Council Meeting was held in Matlock Bath on 16 September 1979 and
the "launching contributors" (at £5 each) were Alston Moor MRS, Beamish
Museum, Cambrian AT, Carn Brea MS, Chatterley Whitfield Mining Museum,
Clearwell Caves, Earby MRS, Ironbridge Gorge Museum, North Cardigan MC,
North Wales CC, NMRS, PDMHS, Plymouth MMC and Shropshire CMC.
Earlier NAMHO Conferences were held at Ironbridge (1981), Leeds (1983),
Matlock Bath (1985), Cornwall (1987), Ambleside (1989), Llechwedd (1991),
Isle of Man (1993), Lilleshall (1995) and Darley Dale (1997).
So it is that in 1999 we are now holding our 10th Conference.  The format
seems to have changed little but the cost has gone up a bit!
I would like to welcome all who attend this Conference and I am sure that
there will be plenty to interest everyone.  The four local NAMHO member
organisations have been working hard for the last two years to organise this
Conference and I am confident that we shall enjoy the fruits of their
labours.  I am most grateful for all they have done.
NAMHO has not completed its work.  At this conference we hope to launch our
revised "Access Code" that has been produced with the co-operation of the
Mines Inspectorate (note also their contribution to this Newsletter) and to
launch a new series of books that have been published in association with
Tempus Publishing Ltd.  We are also collecting information for a revised
Mining Heritage Guide next year.
Next year NAMHO breaks with tradition when we have a special International
Millennium Conference which is to be held in Cornwall.  A lot of work has
already been done on the organisation of the Conference and provisional
programmes and accommodation details are available at this Conference.
I hope that you enjoy this weekend and, as this is the 10th Conference, I
shall give a prize to the first person who proves to me that they have
attended all previous NAMHO Conferences.
Dr Ivor J Brown
NAMHO Chairman

The death of a man who fell down a shaft while excavating at a disused
lead-silver mine at Combe Martin in Devon on 27 June 1999 attracted much
media attention, some of it critical of the way those involved had concealed
their activities from the authorities and responsible voluntary sector
associations. HM Inspectorate of Mines assisted the police with
investigations and have provided the following information in the hope that
members of NAMHO will learn from this tragic incident.
"The dead man was the owner of a farm and the shafts of the mine, which was
last abandoned in 1881, lay within his property. He and three friends, none
with any previous mining experience but sharing an interest in mining
archaeology, had been excavating the two shafts for more than ten years. At
the time of the incident they had reached a depth of 40m in the second
shaft, clearing debris in a small skip wound by a diesel winch to a landing
incorporated in a headgear improvised from scaffolding tubes. The man
appears to have fallen to his death in the shaft as he attempted to land a
skip of debris by leaning out to pull the skip to the shaft side. The shaft
top was not fitted with safety trap doors; the landing had no handrails or
toeboards and the dead man had not been wearing a safety harness. If any
members of NAMHO are undertaking shaft clearing operations without using
these well recognised safety features, they are urged to do so."
NAMHO wishes to it make clear that no members were involved in the
activities at Combe Martin. Advice on safety in shaft work is readily
available to members from the professional mining engineers within NAMHO. If
you are in any doubt, then contact W J Taylor, Hon Secretary, and he will
arrange for you to get advice from a professional mining engineer who is a
member of one of the NAMHO

Carn Brea Mining Society  celebrated its 25th Anniversary this year.  To
commemorate this achievement, the Society held a "Vanning Contest" which was
held on a damp Sunday in June.  A good time was had by all with the
competition being won by ex Geevor Geologist Charles Smith.

A new initiative to tackle unsafe mines, the Land Stabilisation Programme,
has been launched.
It will be administered by English Partnerships and funding will be made
available to local authorities and National Parks Authorities to stabilise
areas of abandoned non-coal mining areas which have been left in a hazardous
condition.  The programme will fund the stabilisation costs including
investigations, surveys and pre and post treatment monitoring.
All very nice if you get a slice of the action but what will be the effect
on the classic mining sites around the country?

The Coal Authority of GB has now adapted an "open door policy".  Its first
public meeting was attended by four outsiders (including two miners and a
solicitor).  Its second meeting is to be held in Leeds on 14 September and,
according to a note in "Newscene", (formerly Coal News), the house-journal
of RJB Mining, further information can be obtained from the website:
This presupposes that all persons who may be interested in attending have a
computer connected to the Internet.  However, all attempts by the writer to
gain access to this website have failed.
A telephone call to 01623 427162 (a number obtained from other sources)
provided the information that the meeting would be held at the Royal
Armouries Museum, Leeds, LS10 1LT at 11.00am on 14 September 1999.
Presumably the entry charge of £8.00 and car parking fee of £3.00 will

Balfour Beatty has been fined  £1.2m, plus £100,000 costs, following the
collapse of the Heathrow Express tunnel at Heathrow Airport in 1994.  The
Company, which was the main contractor for the project, admitted failing to
protect workers and the public from "very serious risks".
This fine is said to be the highest for a single Company under the 1974
Health & Safety at Work Act.  Geoconsult, tunnelling experts from Austria,
was found guilty of two similar offences and was fined £500,000, plus
£100,000 costs.
Daily Telegraph

The winner of the Underground Section of the 1998 Competition was Paul
Deakin with a photograph taken in East Foss Barytes Mine, Scotland.  Second
place went to C McCombe with a photograph of  a miner lying on his side
shovelling coal in Ayle Colliery, Northumberland.

RJB is to invest £20m in a 295yd long state-of-the-art longwall face at Daw
Mill Collliery, Warwickshire.  The face will have a life of 15 months and
2.5m tons of coal will be produced, extracting a 5m slice from the top of
the 10m thick Warwickshire Thick Coal seam.
Most of the equipment will be supplied from factories in Wigan, Worcester,
the Midlands and Yorkshire.  Daw Mill is one of the fifteen collieries
operated by RJB Mining
Eng & Min Journal

The Old Coal Washer at the Lady Victoria Colliery, Midlothian, Scotland has
been restored.  This is the latest phase of the conservation of the surface
structures at the colliery which has been ongoing since 1985.
The Old Washer was built around 1911 and consisted of bash tanks for
cleaning raw coal.  The feed elevator has been refurbished and visitors can
see the jigs which were in common use until the closure of the mine in the
early 1980's.
Mines & Quarry

With the closure of the Cornish South Crofty tin mine in 1997, the Florence
Mine in Cumbria is the only UK mine raising a metalliferous mineral as its
main product.  Haematite is mined at Florence for use in pigments and in
foundry annealing processes.
Mining Journal

There has not been any progress on the proposed sale of South Crofty mine to
Welsh businessman Wilf Hughes.
Kerrier councillors are refusing to accept that South Crofty mine is dead
and are continuing to back the reopening of the mine.  Recently there has
been a proposal to build a University of Cornwall campus on the site.
As it now looks doubtful that South Crofty will reopen, suggestions are
being made to safeguard the headframe as a lasting memorial to many years of
mineral mining in Cornwall.

It is known that some members have been consulted and have commented on Step
1 reports for Lead, Iron and Steel and quarrying (stone extraction).  A copy
of Step 3 (Coal) has also  been seen.  Step 1 of Alum, Tin, Arsenic and
Gunpowder may have been seen by non-council representatives.  Bloomeries,
Salt, Oil, Gas and Water Power, which are also of interest to members of
NAMHO have, apparently, not yet been started.
The writer, I J Brown, has only seen one Step 3 report and none of the Step
4 reports although eight have been completed.  The position of these is
being investigated.
I J Brown

RJB is to close the North Selby Mine next year with the loss of about 300
jobs.  RJB has already closed Whitemoor Mine and merged North Selby with
Stillingfleet.  The Company has been frustrated by geological problems and
poor productivity at the mine.  The out put from the Selby complex will be
less than 6m tons per year, a figure that is less than half the original
planned output.
A RJB spokesman has said that by concentrating production in areas with
lower geological risk will provide the more secure and stable operations
required in the current economic climate.
Daily Telegraph

I recently discovered that my Oldham Caplamp Battery was not holding its
charge.  Fortunately I made this discovery as I was setting out to open
Scott's Grotto1 to the public for a couple of hours rather than during a
more extended underground expedition and so I was able to take alternative
I tried, unsuccessfully, to contact the chap who had sold me my old battery
so I set out to discover current suppliers, prices et hoc genus omne.  A few
minutes2 on the world wide web provided a list of suppliers of caving
equipment.  These were then invited to send price lists and catalogues.
This research told me that the technology had moved on and that there were
many more modern caplamp models but, reasoning that I already had the
headset and battery cover and more than enough Oldham spares to last out my
lifetime, I decided that a replacement battery was the best choice.
The best price by far was offered by Stuart Kirby - Purveyor of Illuminating
Experiences - who carries on his business in a small village in
Gloucestershire.  As I was visiting Gloucester in connexion with another
society's activities, I was able to collect the battery and avoid the cost
of postage (not inconsiderable - the battery is mostly lead, after all).
If other members find themselves in a similar position, I would strongly
suggest that they contact Mr Kirby. His telephone number is 01531 650226 and
facsimile number 01531 650012.
Being a very cautious person, I am not in the habit of giving unsolicited
testimonials but I felt that others might be interested.  Mr Kirby agreed
that I
could offer his name and contact details to the Editor for publication.

1 Scott's Grotto is in Scotts Road, Ware, Hertfordshire and is open on
Summer Saturday and Bank Holiday afternoons  from 2:00pm to 4:30pm.
Admission is free (donations invited) and a visit is very worthwhile if you
are in the area.
2 This does not include the time wasted when the system crashed or hung or
while it downloaded totally useless large graphics images. Why can't web
site designers realise that graphics just irritate some users who would much
prefer a plain text site?
M C Black

An international conference is being organised by the Geological Survey of
Ireland, Shannon Development and the Mining Heritage Society of Ireland on
behalf of the MINET project.  MINET is an EU funded project established to
develop a pilot network of European Mine Heritage Centres. The project
involves partners from France, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the UK.  A two day
conference is planned for 4 - 5 November 1999 and it will be based in
Nenagh, Co Tipperary.  There will be pre and post-conference field trips
(Bunmahon and the Irish National Mine Heritage Centre at Shallee,
(Silvermines). The topic of the conference is "Mine Heritage as a Tourism
Further details can be obtained from: Mr Eamonn de Stafort, Shannon
Development, Connolly Street,
Co Tipperary, Ireland.
Tel: + 353 - 67 - 32100.
Fax: + 353 - 67 - 33418.  E-mail:

The next International Mining Congress will be held on 13 - 16 September
2000 at Milos, Greece.  Preliminary information is available from the
following web site:

"We are involved in a Leader funded transnational project with mine heritage
groups from Parys Mountain in Wales and West Cornwall.  In order to further
the mining migration aspect of the project we are attempting to identify the
origin of names in the Avoca valley in Co Wicklow.  We are trying to trace
mine directors at the Cronebane Mine in East Avoca who met at Cronebane on
7th November 1798.
They were:-  Edward Hawkins, Macclesfield;  Bryan Hodgson, Craigmarsh;  John
Jefferies,  Gloucester;  Robert Hodgson, Congleton and Thomas Weaver,
We are also looking for a Henry Hodgson who developed the mine at West Avoca
and our mineral tramway, the Arklow Harbour and a chemical and manure works
at Arklow. We believe he came to Avoca around 1820 but this is not definite.
He was born on 6th January 1796 and we are trying to trace his place of
birth and wonder if he is related to the above mentioned Hodgsons.
We also understand that approximately fifty miners emigrated from Avoca to
Clithermoor (this spelling may not be correct) in Cumbria circa 1860 and
would appreciate confirmation/further information of this migration.
Have any NAMHO members any information/advice on the above subject or who
could advise us on how to research the above mentioned miners.  I can be
contacted at:- Ballymoneen, Avoca, Co Wicklow, Ireland"
Marie Merrigan

The Cornish Miner's Association held a gala on a very wet day last May to
celebrate hundreds of years of copper and tin mining in Cornwall.  The march
started at the gates of South Crofty and the banners of many Cornish mines
were paraded by former miners through Camborne town centre.  It is hoped
that the Gala will become an annual event.

Five former South Crofty miners have once again proved the old maxim about a
Cornishman being found at the bottom of every mine in the world is true.
The Cornishmen were recruited to manage the development of a new nickel mine
in Brazil and to train a workforce of twelve young Brazilians.  The new mine
was at a former open pit operation and is owned by RTZ Brazil at Fortaleza
de Mines near Passos.
The first blast for the 5m x 5m access ramp took place on 27 July 1998.  The
first blast in the ore body was in mid May 1999, some two months ahead of
schedule.  A witness to the first nickel ore reaching the surface said "the
Cornish miners have certainly used their experience and knowledge well in
training the young Brazilian workforce".

Cambridge Mineral Resources believes it is one step further in its quest to
locate diamonds in Ireland.  The secret location is in the Inishowen,
Donegal, area.
An aerial survey of the area has been commissioned and, hopefully, the
geological map produced will indicate the locations at which to bore test
The company also holds a licence to prospect for gemstones in the Falkland
Islands.  Preliminary investigation have suggested that there are reserves
of gold and diamonds on the Islands


BCRC:- Newsletter No10 June 1999
Cambrian Caving Council:-
                  Newsletter June 1999
                  Newsletter July 1999
                  Newsletter August 1999
        Newsletter Sept 1999
        Annual Journal No 26 1999/00
Carn Brea Mining Society:-
           Newsletter No 42 June 1999
           Botallack Counthouse
           More Dartmoor Stuff
           A Day at the Colliery
DCA:- Derbyshire Caver No 102                Summer 1999
Friends of St Aidan's BE1150 Dragline
        Newsletter No 10 June 1999
        Newsletter No 11July 1999
        Newsletter No12 August 1999
Grosvenor Caving Club:-
        Newsletter July 1999
           History Corner - Boyd Dawkins
           Caving Access - Ogof Pool Park
           Bidston's Air Raid Shelter
           Survey Corner
           New Discovery - Silica                       Workings
         Newsletter August 1999
           Survey Corner
           Twenty men in the underworld help feed rayon plants
           Early prints from Underground Worlds - Knox 1882
PDMHS:-  Newsletter No 91 July 1999
Subterranea Britannica:-
        Newsletter No 21 1999
Trevithick Society:-
        Newsletter No 17 April 1999
Welsh Mines Preservation Trust:-
        Newsletter June 1999
        Review of the last year
Welsh Mines Cociety:-
        Newsletter No 40  June 1999

The obituaries in the national broad sheet press that followed the recent
sudden death of Prof Barri Jones all made reference to his study of the
archaeology of Roman Britain and Roman mining.
His work on the Roman gold mining centre at  Dolaucothi led him to
investigate the ancient mines of Rio Tinto and Las Medulas in Spain.  He
also organised countless excavations at Llanymynech where a perfectly
preserved Roman lead mine was exposed.

A translation of the first Latin edition (1556) of "Agricola Georgius de re
Metallica", published in London in 1912 and containing 640 pages, is offered
for sale at a cost of £475 + p&p.  If anyone is interested then the editor
can put you in touch with the vendor.

Acknowledgement is made to the following who have submitted copy for this
Newsletter but who have not been credited against individual articles.  They
are  I J Brown, M Holmes, J Wright, HM Mines Inspectorate, R Gosling, P
Sowan, L Willies and other anonymous subscribers.

Hon Secretary & Editor
Wes Taylor, 18 Station Lane,
Walton on Trent, Swadlincote, Derbys, DE12 8NA
Tel:-  01283 713315

Every endeavour is made to publish the NAMHO Newsletter twice a year.
Publication is, however, controlled by the avaialability of copy.

  Registered Charity No 297301
Registered Office, c/o Peak District Mining Museum, The Pavilion, South
Parade, Matlock Bath, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3NR.
  Tel:-  Matlock (01629) 583834.
The contents of this publication are in the public domain.  There is no
restriction on the publication of articles from this Newsletter provided
acknowledgement of the source is made in any subsequent  publication.
Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of the National Association of Mining
History Organisations. Copy submitted for publication is not checked by the
Editor for accuracy

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