National Association of Mining History Organisations (NAMHO) Newsletter
Issue 38 - Spring 2000.

NAMHO inter NATIONAL CONFERENCE - TRURO, CORNWALL, JULY 2000
The Conference will be based at Truro School which has a large sports hall,
lots of ground with plenty of parking and a swimming pool that will be
available to delegates.  There will be bedrooms, camping and caravan pitches
available on site, together with a range of meals.  There is  alternative
accommodation in the city for those who do not wish to stay on site.
The lecture programme will include speakers from France, Eire, USA,
Argentina, Holland and Wales.  We are waiting to firm up with Portugal,
Spain and possibly South Africa.  Of course there will be speakers from
Cornwall and other parts of England.
In addition there will be social events, legitimate underground and surface
excursions.  There will also be the opportunity to visit behind the scenes
at Camborne School of Mines.
The big difference from previous NAMHO conferences will be its length.  The
opening address is at 14.00 on Friday 14th July followed by two speakers.
In the evening there will be a free buffet/reception hosted by Cornwall
County Council at County Hall where the Cornwall County Records Office will
be putting on a display.  During the evening there will be another lecture
at County Hall.  On Saturday evening there will be a river trip to Falmouth.
On Sunday evening  there will be the Conference Dinner followed by a concert
given by the Holman Climax Choir.
 Monday has a full day programme with the formal closing of the Conference
at about 17.30.  In the evening there will be
meals available for those who are staying for further excursions on Tuesday.
We have arranged a number of deals with local tourist attractions and some
conference specials.  We hope that potential delegates will contact us
quickly as we are sure that they will want to take part in this unique
international event and there is a strong possibility that we will have to
limit numbers.
We look forward to meeting you in Cornwall in July.
Full details and booking forms are now available from:-
Lawrence Holmes, Rivergarth, Malpas, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 1SS.
Tel: 01872 278234.
E Mail: NAMHO@csm.ex.ac.uk

DAMAGE TO SCHEDULED ANCIENT MONUMENT
The Environmental Agency faces prosecution after its staff bulldozed and
buried the remains of the 300 year old Rookhope Old Smeltmill in Weardale,
Co Durham.  The site, one of the best preserved examples of 18th Century
lead mining in Britain, had been "Scheduled" by English Heritage in 1997.
The Environmental Agency admits that it failed to get permission, as
required by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, before
the site was extensively damaged.
Paul Sowan

BOOK REVIEWS

1. "Peak District Mining and
Quarrying" by Lynn Willies and Harry Parker.  Published by Tempus Publishing
Ltd, 1999.  Cost £9.99.
This is one of a new series of books in the well established "Images of
England" Series that this publisher has produced in association with NAMHO.
It has hard covers, 70mm x 240mm and there are 128 pages and about 200
photographs and drawings, all of which are of historic interest.
As can be expected from the authors, this is a well researched and
authoritative work and the result of many years enthusiastic collecting.
The contents cover not only most aspects of lead mining (early history,
law, the mines and the miners, the deposits and the method of working,
mechanical power used, dressing and of the last big mine, Mill Close) but
also other types of mineral working in the Peak, often forgotten.  This
includes the working of fluorspar, calcite, chert and "black marble" and the
quarrying of sandstone and limestone.
The book is, however, intended  to record an area's mining heritage in
"images", each image having a descriptive caption but with the occasional
page of text.  It brings together a large number of historic pictures
normally only found in scattered papers, a few are well known but a
surprising number have not been seen in print before.  Some of the images
are over 100 years old but they are well balanced with photos taken by
modern professionals like Harry Parker, Richard Bird and Paul Deakin, in the
last 50 years.
This is a well produced  book and a "must" for anyone with a serious
interest in the Peak District.
I J Brown

2. "Mining in Cornwall: Volume One, The Central District and Volume Two, The
County Explored."  By
J H Trounson and L J Bullen.  Tempus, Stroud, Glos.  128pp and 128pp.  £9.99
per volume.
AND
The East Shropshire Coalfields.  By Ivor J Brown.  Tempus, Stroud, Glos.
128pp.  £9.99.
Together with a volume on Peak District Mining and Quarrying by the writer
and Harry Parker (modesty forbids further comment), these are the first
offerings in a series of collected regional mining photographs to which
NAMHO has given its blessing.
Each is done to a similar formula, with a comparatively substantial amount
of text as introduction and for each photograph, with about 200 photographs
in each volume.  The overall impression, with allowance for the fact that
£9.99 is not enough to produce coffee-table standards of reproduction, is
very good indeed, much better than the average book of this type.
Many photographs in the Cornwall volumes were published some years ago by
Trounson, but don't let that put you off, there are many previously
unpublished photographs here.  Obviously the Cornish engine has a major
part, but the selection is wide and probably no other source gives quite as
good an impression of what mining in Cornwall was really like from the mid
19th century onwards.  Together with Ken Brown and Bob Acton's recent
series, Cornish mining is being well served indeed, never better than since
Barton was active.
The East Shropshire volume, which of course includes Coalbrookdale, has a
somewhat different approach by Ivor Brown, reflecting both the availability
of sources and his own particular contribution to mining history with more
emphasis on the social and also attempting to put the historical clock back
further with a few illustrations of an earlier date than possible with
photographs.  Good to see a couple of Peak District photographs present
representing the products made at Coalbrookdale! If anyone still thinks that
the multi-volume NCB coal mining history series has said it all, this volume
will give a few leads to further research.
Lynn Willies

3.  "Derbyshire Blue John" by Dr Trevor Ford.  Pub 1999 by Ashbourne
Editions.  ISBN 1 873775 19 9, Cost £5.95.
Britain cannot claim to be home to many of the world's most precious
minerals.  It does, however, have a unique form of the common mineral
Fluorite in the form of Blue John.  This colourful mineral has been
fashioned into objects of great beauty by a small band of skilled craftsmen
working in and around Castleton in Derbyshire.
The story of Blue John had never been told in a single comprehensive volume
until Trevor Ford put pen to paper and produced this superb book.  Trevor is
an authority this subject.
The book covers the geology of the mineral, the history of its use for
ornamental purposes, the mining of the mineral and the method of working the
mineral into fine works of art.  There are superb colour photographs of some
of the exquisite Blue John works of art which litter our great houses,
including Buckingham Palace and Chatsworth.  It is truly amazing the range
of pieces that have been fashioned from this "difficult to work" mineral.
The book is a tribute to the skilled craftsmen who, down the ages, have made
it all possible.
Give your self a treat - go out and buy it now!
Down to Earth

4.  "South Crofty Old Workings" by J A Buckley & K T Riekstins with pictures
by P R Deakin.  Penhellick Publications.  Size 53/4in x 81/8in.  Cost £3.99.
The Cornish mine workings you've always wanted to see, but have never had
the opportunity to visit, cover some two square miles and span working
periods from before gunpowder up to the 1930's.  They embrace many ancient
mine setts including such evocative names as Dolcoath, Carn Brea, Tincroft
and East Pool - all of which are connected
underground.
Now at last you can see them thanks to this new picture book, the fourth in
the "Cornish Mining Photographs" series.  It will have greatest appeal to
mining historians as it shows the epic work of the Cornish "Old Man".  All
the pictures bar one are in colour and were taken by Paul Deakin FRPS.
Many of the old workings were entered with great difficulty to enable the
photographs to be taken.  The outcome is a collection of some of the most
fascinating pictures of vast stopes that I have ever seen.  The title page
illustration shows an enormous stope on the Great Lode at the 255 fathom
level of Wheal Agar which is 50 feet wide and 100 feet high which had been
driven by hand and black powder some 90 years ago.
Also shown are massive, and fractured, hanging walls towering over the
levels along which the photographic party had to travel.  These hanging
walls were supported by rotting tree-trunk size props (Stulls) and extensive
45 degree angle stopes that looked like a sponge cake with the jam removed
and held apart by only a few rock pillars and more rotting stulls.  If
Mother Nature had decided to have a shiver while the party were underneath,
a hard hat would have been little help.
The overall result is a gem, don't dare to miss it.
H M Parker
 

5.  "Slates from Abergynolwyn" by Alan Holmes. Published by Gwynedd Archives
Service. 121 pp, 28pp illus. Maps and line drawings in text.  Cost £7.99.
This, the story of the Bryneglwys Slate Quarry has been reissued.  The
original was sold out soon after publishing in 1986.  This book, written by
Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society member Alan Holmes, is a comprehensive
history of the quarry operations and its association with the railway.
Today, much of the quarry is hidden under forestry work and vegetation and
the buildings were 'lost' some years back. The book is a fitting tribute to
the quarry and the quarrymen.
This revised edition contains additional information and is excellent value.
John A Knight

6.  "SWALEDALE - Portrait of North Yorkshire Mining Community" by John
Hardy.  1998.  ISBN 0-948511-16-8.  39 plates, 14 maps & figs, 139pp.  Cost
£15.95 from Frank Peters (Printers), Kendal.
This is an improvement on his last book, but that was so dire that this is
no great achievement.  Once again, the book, with its large format and high
quality paper, has been beautifully produced by Frank Peters.  It would be
peevish not to admit that the book reads much better than the Hidden Side of
Swaledale, but basic errors abound.   For example, Hardy refers to
characters without introduction and regularly changes their names.  He
remains convinced that the London Lead Company was active in the dale.  He
clings to an early, incorrect date for the building of the Octagonal smelt
mill and is unaware that the cluster of buildings at the Old Gang Mill is
actually two smelt mills.  All these errors show a lack of knowledge of
easily accessible secondary sources.
He muses at length about the course and purpose of Hard Level and concludes
that it was driven after a fatal accident at Old Rake Whim in May 1778.  If
so, then it was truly prescient as the level was begun a year before the
accident!  He does not give a source for the claim that the accident was at
Old Rake Whim and the Grinton Parish Registers only tell us that, on the
same day, two men were "killed in the lead mines at Old Gang".  He refers to
a map drawn in l82l by Francis Gill.  Not bad, even for a Gill, as the man
died in 1801!
He returns to his pet piece of conspiracy theory - the cover up (by the
bosses of course) surrounding the supposed events at Water Blast Shaft.  In
Hidden Side we were told that 24 miners were killed here after blasting into
water.  We are now told, depending on what page you read, that this involved
"a handful of miners", "the loss of many lives" or "a gigantic human
tragedy".  Hardy's "considered judgement" is that the accident took place,
according to his "strong suspicion", in the early 18th century.  This date
appears to be favoured because of "the viciousness of these times".  We are
even treated to nine verses of doggerel on the subject of 'Water Blast Vein'
from the author's pen!  In these times when the crime of Holocaust denial
features strongly in historical debate, perhaps there should be a new one of
Water Blast denial - for which I want to head the list of offenders!
You've probably guessed that I do not recommend this book, but if you insist
on wasting your money, it is available from Frank Peters for £15.95.
Mike Gill

7. "Hell under Haydock - The Lyme Pit Explosion, Haydock, Lancashire, 26
February 1930" by Ian Winstanley.  Pub 2000  by Landy Publishing.  53pp,
9 illlus, 4 plans.  Cost £6.00.
This book was written in 1990 but publication was delayed until 2000 as a
mark of respect to survivors and dependants.  Unfortunately the author
refers to "the events of 60 years ago" when writing in 1999, a fact which
adds to the confusion.
There is a "Glossary of Mining Terms" at the start of the book which is
intended to help the non technical readers understand terms used in the
text.  Unfortunately, there are a number of gross errors in the definitions
which makes one wonder about the technical ability of the author.  For
example a "Conveyor face" is not a roadway equipped with a conveyor which
"takes coal from the coal face" but a coal face which is equipped with a
conveyor to take the coal off the face.  Similarly, men are not necessarily
conveyed down the pit via a Downcast Shaft.  There are other gross errors.
More attention should have been given to the definitions of words which are
an important part of the publication.
The surface plan of Lyme Pit is not dated and it has to be assumed that it
is contemporary to the disaster.  There is no indication of were Lyme Pit
was in the Haydock area.
It is difficult to get good photographs of underground disasters.  The
photographs in the book are within the context of the subject except for an
illustration of shaft sinking and the power house of the colliery.  These
last two illustrations are completely out of context with the subject.
The description of the explosion and the recovery of the victims and the
mine are quite moving.  Whilst the author has obviously done a lot of
research to obtain the detail discussed, he quotes a lot of verbatim
accounts that were recorded at the time of the disaster and, particularly,
the transcript of the interview with 85 year old Pat Creham which was
conducted in March 1990.
The book describes the events leading up to the explosion, the effect of the
"stone dusting" work which minimised the spread of the explosion, the
recovery of the victims and the mine, the inquest and the official inquiry.
Details of the victims are also included.  It is easy to read and succeeds
in getting the message across; coal mining in the 1930's was hard,
dangerous, and, if anything went wrong, there was little financial relief
for the dependants of the victims.
A number of books have recently been published describing coal mining
disasters in the UK.  Whilst some people find them morbid, they all vividly
describe the arduous and dangerous conditions in which coal miners worked in
the past.  They are all a tribute to the hard working families who mined the
coal that was the backbone of the Industrial Revolution in the UK.  This
book falls within this category and, with all its faults, is a fitting
tribute to the victims of this 1930 disaster at Lyme Pit, Haydock.
Wes Taylor
 

WEB-SITE REVIEW
"Lead Smelters in the Yorkshire Dales"
http://www.ayresnet.swinternet.co.uk/msmelter.htm

There are a growing number of web-sites devoted to mining related topics
and, as with publications, there is a widely varying level of quality.  One
unfortunate effect of the relative ease with which material can be published
on the web is that basic grammar, spelling and sentence structure have gone
to pot.  Even more
frustratingly, material is often
presented on a 'take it or leave it' basis,
with a total absence of reference to
sources.
To this end, they have taken on the challenge of trying to cater for all
levels of interest, from the casual visitor or walkers to the industrial
archaeologist.  Pages of text are devoted to describing "From outcrops to
mine", "From baille [sic] hills to smelters'' and the "Leading families".
Regrettably, in their attempt to present a simple description, the message
has become corrupt.  For example, we are told that "lead ore occurs in long
seams, known as veins" and, whilst talking of outcropping veins, "these
veins were called rakes, presumably because the ore could be exposed by
raking off the surface soil".  There are also a number of references to
"bell pits", which is a term borrowed from coal mining and misapplied to
shallow shafts on lead veins.
Unfortunately, the site's authors have given no means of contacting them to
draw new material to their attention.  This is an especial problem as their
core data is almost totally lifted, without acknowledgement, from Arthur
Raistrick's book "The Lead Industry of Wensleydale and Swaledale: Volume 2 -
The Smelting Mills".  When published, in 1975, this was the first attempt to
identify and list a chronology to the area's smelt mills.  Raistrick's model
was followed assiduously until it became clear to some that it had some
serious flaws.  In order to expose these flaws I wrote a paper, in 1992, on
"Yorkshire Smelting Mills: Part 1 - The Northern Dales" which was published
in British Mining.  This changed many of the spatial and chronological
elements of Raistrick's model and showed that his Applegarth smelt mill
never existed.  Since then, others have refined my model and also published
their work in British Mining.  For example, Les Tyson discounted one of
Raistrick's four mills at Clints and greatly improved our understanding of
their chronology and ownership.  He also showed that the Cupola Mill, at
Marrick, was not built in 1854 but in 1701 - making it a very important site
(now a Scheduled Ancient Monument).  Subsequent work, by Dennison, Lamb and
Vernon, is likely to revise our knowledge of early smelt mills even further.
Strangely, the notes on the condition of the mills fail to mention the
consolidation work done by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (Old
Gang, Surrender, Blakethwaite and Grinton) or by English Heritage at
Marrick.  Not all the mills are described, but the authors propose to add
more as they visit them.  It is to be hoped that they do not use their own
map for this task as they will have some long and fruitless searches!  For
some reason, Keld Side Mill has been moved from near the head of the dale to
Gunnenside Gill - being put almost where the Blakethwaite Mill is, while the
latter has been moved about a mile up the gill.  Cupola Mill now stands on
the Arkle, between Grinton and Reeth and Scott's Mill has moved to near
Grinton Youth Hostel.  Moulds Low Mill has changed liberties and stands
alongside Surrender Mill.  None of the four smaller, 17th and 18th
century mills on Barney Beck are shown.
I would be the last to discourage people from putting information on the
web, but I hope that it will not become the home of vanity publishers whose
work would not pass the mildest of peer reviews.  The Archbold-Ayres site is
well worth visiting, if only to get some ideas on what should and shouldn't
be done, but the content should come with a health warning.   It's like
digital Hardy - John not Thomas.
Mike Gill

FOUNDRY PLAN GETS SUPPORT
Plans to restore the sole surviving foundry complex in Cornwall have gained
support from a direct descendant of the creators of the company.  The Perran
Foundry at Perranarworthal, Penrhyn, was founded in 1791 by the Fox family
of Falmouth. Perran Foundry was owned and controlled by the Foxes until 1858
and it ceased production in 1880 after being sold to the Williams family of
Gwenap and Scorrier.  Now Charles Fox (head of Falmouth based shipping and
travel
agents G C Fox & Co), the great great grandson of Alfred Fox who was party
to the sale of the foundry in 1858, has backed the restoration.
The foundry complex, which is located beside the A39 at Perranarworthal, has
lain derelict for more than a decade.  The £8 million restoration and
development scheme will be progressed in conjunction with the Trevithick
Trust.  The visitor centre will tell the story of the effect of  Perran
Foundry, and Cornwall, on the Industrial Revolution.
Western Counties News

CLAYTON EQUIPMENT PRODUCTS
Clayton Equipment, part of Rolls-Royce Plc, has won an order to provide 21
trolley locomotives and 250 mine cars, together with the associated
electrical and trolley wire system, for the Maddhapara "hard rock" mine in
Bangladesh.  It is believed that this mine is the first of its kind in the
world.
The company is also exploiting the demand for refurbished locomotives for
use in mines.  It has recently completed an order for refurbished
locomotives for a mining company in Peru.
The problem in satisfying the demand for refurbished locos is the
availability of used locos.  As most of the production is exported it is
unusual for the used equipment to be returned to the UK.  This problem has,
in the short term, been resolved by the company buying back the fleet of
Clayton locos from Cornwall's South Crofty tin mine.
Roger Gosling

LLECHWEDD/MAENOFFEREN SLATE QUARRIES
The main productive part of Llechwedd Quarry has been closed due to the
enforcement of an Inspectorate Prohibition Order relating to the safety of
the working face after a rockfall.  The areas now being worked are in Floor
2 1/2 in Maenofferen (this is near the old mill which was razed to the
ground a couple of years back) and in Votty (a location which is unknown to
me).  A total of 39 men have been laid off and the situation (in December
1999) is looking bleak.
John A Knight

GUIDANCE NOTE
A draft DETR Minerals Planning Guidance Note has been circulated which
covers the subjects "On-shore Oil, Gas and Coalbed Methane Development".
All of these may take place in areas of interest to members although the
draft does not make it clear that "there is also a growing interest in
related activities of extracting methane from disused mines which vent gas
naturally and in in-seam degasification".  It adds that "these activities
are not, however, covered" in this particular guidance note.
Copies are obtainable from the Department of the Environment and the
Regions.
I J Brown

THE UPS AND DOWNS OF SELLING A COLLIERY
RJB Mining, the owner of Ellington Colliery, the last deep mine in
Northumberland, which is due to close in Spring 2000, has agreed to sell the
colliery to Giovanni Di Stefano, an Italian business man and politician.
Unfortunately for RJB Mining, Giovanni Di Stefano has been arrested in Rome.
He is in custody pending extradition proceedings on a warrant for his arrest
that had been issued by the Suffolk Police Fraud Squad in 1994.
Financial Times (29/11/99)

PRESCOTT PACT STARTS COAL CRISIS
Coal industry insiders are saying that the new power station emissions
limits, agreed by the Government, could lead to the closure of all of
Britain's 14 remaining collieries, which employ 12,00 people, by 2004.
Sunday Times

125 YEARS OF MINING EDUCATION AT LEEDS
October 1999 marks 125 years of mining education at the University of Leeds.
The first student to enrol at the Yorkshire College of Science when it
opened its doors on 26 October 1874 was Shadrach Stephenson, a local mining
student.  Forty eight hours later a second student enrolled.  The first
Professor was A H Green who was appointed Professor of Geology and Mining in
1874. Arnold Lupton was appointed as "Instructor in Mining" and in 1885 he
became the first Professor of Mining without any responsibilities for
geology.  Professor P Doud is the present (and 15th) holder of the title.
In 1904 the college became, by Royal Charter, the University of Leeds.  The
Department of Mining and Mineral Engineering still flourishes with an intake
of 50-60 undergraduates each year on 3 and 4 year courses, plus post
graduates etc.
A series of events to commemorate the 125th Anniversary were held during
November 1999.  These included an Open Day, a special dinner, special
lectures and an historical exhibition (mainly documents).  A special edition
of the Leeds University Mining Association (LUMA) Journal is to be
published.  This Journal has been published almost annually since the 1920's
when it was called the Leeds University Mining Society Journal.  Both the
University and the National Coal Mining Museum would be interested to hear
of anyone who has a back issue of this Journal as neither organisation have
a complete set of the publication.
Ivor Brown

RJB TO GO PRIVATE!
If Richard Budge, Chief Executive of RJB Mining, can persuade financial
backers that the company is a worthwhile investment, Britain's largest coal
producer is set to go private during this year.

MAN SURVIVES FIVE HOURS IN WELL
A 49 year old man who was following his hawk through woodland near
Trowbridge fell through a thin layer of branches that covered an open well
shaft.  He was stuck up to his neck in cold water for five hours before
being rescued by firemen.
Daily Telegraph

TICCIH2000
The TICCIH2000 will be held from 30 August to 7 September 2000.  The
Congress will be based in London
and will include the choice of a Tour to
either Cornwall, Wales or Scotland.
Further details from TICCIH2000 Congress Administrator, 42 Devonshire Rd,
CAMBRIDGE,
CB1 2BL.  Tel: 01223 323437.

PROPOSED NEW STONE MINE
The September 1999 edition of "Mineral Planning" gave details of a proposal
by Albion Stone Quarries Ltd to try underground mining of Portland Stone for
dimension stone purposes.  If planning permission is granted, the
underground working would start from an adit in their Bowers Quarry and
would reach a depth of 20 metres.
I J Brown

SOUTH AFRICAN SHAFT TO BE 3000M DEEP
The December 1999 edition of the Mining Magazine reports that two 9m
diameter shafts are being sunk to a depth in excess of 2700m at the Western
Areas Ltd South Deep Gold Mine Project.  When completed, the shafts will be
equipped with the deepest single lift winding system in the world.
To ensure that the 3000m of winding rope is not crushed on the drum, only
four layers of rope can be coiled at any given time.  To make provision for
the entire length of rope, the drum diameter is increased and the length of
the drum can be increased to accommodate the entire 3000m.
I J Brown

RESCUE OF SOUTH AFRICAN GOLD MINERS
Fifteen gold miners were trapped after an earth tremor caused a rock fall at
the African Rainbow Minerals mine about 100 miles south of Johannesburg.
Rescue teams reached the trapped miners after two days and found nine
survivors.  They had been entombed in a cavity about 18in high with the
temperature at about 400C and had managed to drink water and semi-liquid
food that had been poured down a compressed air main.
Evelyn Dixon

COAL AUTHORITY MEETING
Footnote to the article in the last edition of the Newsletter:  No member of
the public attended the "open" AGM of the Coal Authority in Leeds last
September.  Perhaps the possibility of being charged £7.95 for admission
plus £3.00 for car parking had put them off attending - or perhaps it was
due to the fact that the meeting was held on the 13 September, not the 14
September as had been stated in the notice in "Newscene".
The meeting that was held on 14 September was for representatives of public
bodies, local authorities and contractors.
Ivor Brown

BEWARE WHEN OPENING OLD WORKINGS
When miners at the Sextet Mining Co's mine in Madisonville, Kentucky, broke
through into old mine workings in July 1999 the large volume of water
released flooded the mine and the 150 miners had to be laid off.  But this
was not the end of the problem as the sudden release of the water from the
old workings created a vacuum and instant subsidence damage occurred in the
town above due to cave-ins and sink holes caused by this vacuum.
Ivor Brown

LATEST BLOW LEAVES COAL INDUSTRY FACING EXTINCTION
British Energy, the electricity generator, stated that it would review its
coal suppliers when it took over
Eggborough power station from National Power at the end of February.  It
appears certain that the company will switch to imported coal that is up to
80% cheaper and has a lower sulphur content.
Financial Times

SURPAC2000
Surpac2000 is a computer package for the simulation of mine resource,
development and production planning.  Details from Surpac Software
International (UK), Whitwick Business Park, Stenson Rd, Coalville,
LE67 4JP.  Tel: 01530 835554.

WELSH SLATE QUARRY NOTES
Pen-yr-Orsedd Quarry - This quarry was closed by McAlpines shortly after
purchase and there has been much vandalisim to the old building remains. Two
of the Blondin towers have "fallen" over leaving only one intact.
Maenofferen Quarry - Underground working has ceased at present - I have
heard that it has possibly been abandoned totally with the workforce moving
over to the Llechwedd operation. The Office on Maenofferen "Office Level"
has been razed to the ground. It was thought that historical papers were
kept/dumped in the loft of this building but if they were there we have no
idea if they were saved.
Gloddfa Ganol This site closed last year as a tourist attraction and work
has commenced on "open topping" the old Hollands Level Fawr, this was the
site of the underground tourist route. McAlpines bought the site and are
engaged on robbing the pillars for good quality slate. There has also been a
major find in the area as substantial remains of a weighbridge mechanism,
thought to be dated from the 1840/1850's has been uncovered. Believed to
have been tipped over early on, it is made from a number of wooden parts
instead of iron.
Glanrafon Quarry - The ravages of the Welsh climate are not dealing kindly
to the two-storey barracks. On a recent visit more of the structure had
fallen. The somewhat unique end on bay window is still surviving.
Aberllefenni Quarry - The water balance table on the face of the Foel
Grochan incline sited between levels 7 and 8 has been taken down being
considered unsafe.
Talysarn Quarry - On a recent Archaeological Survey of the quarry, a boiler
was unearthed amidst slate waste. On further inspection it was found to be
off a locomotive and carried the name "Margaret".
Rhosydd Quarry - Subsequent to a major fall in August/September '98 it
appears that a further, albeit smaller fall, has taken place. The area
around is heavily cracked and very obviously dangerous with further falls
expected. The falls are close to Floor 2 adit.
Vivian Quarry - The V2 incline is now in operation and is part of the
attractions offered at Gilfach Ddu, the Welsh Slate Museum. The old
quarrymen's cottages of Fron Haul dismantled from Tan y Grisiau and
re-erected in the back yard are now open to the public. Three of the
cottages have been furnished from a different era, the fourth is being
maintained as a "hands on" living history house for educational use. They
have made a welcome addition to the site.
Cook & Ddol Quarry - The two storey building on the lower level to the mill
(thought to be a barracks) has seen a partial collapse. There also appears
(and not noted on my previous visits) to be a waliau built within the
southern room.
Dorothea Quarry - The diving centre at the quarry pit workings has closed
after a short time in operation. It also appears that work on the first
phase of restoration of the beam engine at the site is close to fruition.
The first operation will be to remove asbestos from the cylinders.
Alexandra Quarry - The stone circle that was sited on the infilled No 1 pit
and built for a film scene appears to have been removed.
Glynrhonwy Upper Quarry - Whilst visiting recently (6.9.1999) it was noticed
that a quite substantial fall of rock had taken place from the north face.
The fall into the pit working is close to the old wooden bridge for those
who know the site.
John Knight

Hon Secretary & Editor
Wes Taylor, 18 Station Lane,
Walton on Trent, Swadlincote, Derbys, DE12 8NA.  Tel:-  01283 713315
E-Mail:  wes@wtaylor44.fsnet.co.uk

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MINING
HISTORY ORGANISATIONS
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
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Editor for accuracy.


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