Site Work report 10 February 2019

During the early days of February, work has continued on site, despite the cold and wet weather. The Drying Room construction has continued and work has started on the Stamp Mill site.

First day of work on the Drying Room – the floor joists are laid on the damp proof course

Drainage pipe being installed in the Stamp Mill trench. This pipe is laid as a contingency, just in case the site floods in future. We have given the site a new name to reflect the fact that the Power of Water structure will be demolished this year.

Checking the alignment of the drainage pipe

Colin arranging the outflow end of the pipe. The pipe was later lengthened to bypass the pond, which will soon be filled with rubble.

Allan demonstrating the use of a tape measure. The Drying Room has wall panels of plywood, with an inner insulation layer.

Looking from the site of the lobby to the entrance door to the Drying Room

 

Book review – The Archaeology of Underground Mines and Quarries in England

The Archaeology of Underground Mines and Quarries in England

Author: John Barnatt.  Photographs by Paul Deakin and others.

Historic England, Swindon. 2019.  ISBN 978-1-84802-381-9.

136 pages. 222mm x 275mm page size. Text, maps and many colour images.

Price £30.00

Members of NMCS can receive a 20% discount and free p&p by entering discount code AUMQ19 on the basket page of the Historic England bookshop https://retail.historicenglandservices.org.uk/index.html

This book presents a detailed introduction to the underground mining and quarrying heritage in England. It reviews the many types of mineral and stone taken from the ground and looks at the archaeological remains that survive today and are accessible to those who go underground.

It is designed to illustrate the wonders to be found underground and give the reader ways forward should they wish to follow up their interest.

John Barnatt is an archaeologist with a long record of work on mining, particularly in Derbyshire. Part one of the book is an introduction to Mining and Quarrying and is followed by chapters on the products of mining and quarrying and the regional variations.   Part two describes the common themes and the local diversity.

John states that one primary aim of producing the book was “to inform people wanting to do their own archaeological investigations underground” and to provide a starting point for the inexperienced.

Almost every page has coloured photographs and maps of underground features and the book is a visual pleasure for the reader. The photographs are very well chosen and provide an excellent visual summary of mines in England.  There is a short section covering access and  organisations that operate within England. 

Inevitably there are minor statements and captions that the reader might consider worthy of revision, but to fulfil the primary aim of informing people this book fulfils that aim.  The book does not aim to be a gazetteer, nor is it an access guide, and it cannot cover all the details of history and technology that underpin the mining and underground quarrying industries.

Apart from the sheer personal pleasure of browsing the pictures, I can see that this book will be an excellent tool to show  a mine owning landowner, a local government planning department and to encourage experienced explorers to start recording the features that they walk past every weekend. It will also be a brilliant tool to encourage new people to getting involved in mining archaeology. 

Peter Jackson

Memorian Jake Almond

Jake Almond – a memory.

Dr J K Almond (Jake) died on 13th December 2018. Jake was a Trustee of the North Pennines Heritage Trust, mineral processing engineer, writer about fluorspar and zinc mining, researcher and writer of the history of lead smelting, who cared about the heritage of UK mining.

He was a long time contributor to the work of the Cleveland Industrial Archaeology Society, Historical Metallurgy Society, Association for Industrial Archaeology and the Open University.

Here he is at the opening of the Nenthead Smelting Mill bridge in June 2008 , when he formally opened the bridge and launched his guide to the smelting mill

Jake Almond, 13 June 2008, Nenthead smelting mill

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Art Installation at Nenthead Mines?

Wednesday 14th November 2018.

Today we wrapped up the concrete compressor beds to give them winter frost protection. The concrete is being damaged by the winter frosts and this is an interim solution until were can design a better method. The sandbags were filled with gravel that has washed onto the site during heavy rainfall, so we are recycling waste materials into something more useful.

Site Diary Updated 19th October 2018

Wednesday 17th October was a different day. We took detailed measurements of POW fencing because we are considering using the metal sections to replace the existing wood fence around the smelting mill. The measurements showed that the fence could be replaced from the Assay House corner to the gate just past the compressor concrete bases.

The bent handrail at Carrs Mine exit was also measured in order to produce the replacement handrail. Nearby, the river bed waterfall plunge poll was  cleared of boulders and the roadside culverts checked. Both had been affected by recent heavy rains.

The redundant gate from P.O.W. was removed, modified and installed at the south end of the smelt mill footbridge – now possible to take visitors into south side of the mill site.

The gatekeeper mine wagon was given another coat of yellow paint, and the switching arrangements for the Stagg condenser model were changed to make more them accessible.

We also provided a Carrs Mine tour for six visitors, two of whom went on to have an afternoon Ballroom trip.

The Allendale bargain book was also finally photocopied ( at Alston Library) so that the book could be transcribed in full.

Gate on the smelt mill footbridge

Thompsons Level

Slow progress continues here. Temporary steel supports in the roof fall are advancing. The recent heavy rains have shifted more of the shaft fill and filled up the excavated area. The next dig session will be on 21st October.

Carrs Mine Trips and Open Days – from our all-volunteer team

OUR OPEN DAYS AND MINE TOURS ARE SUSPENDED FROM APRIL 2020 UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

Please help us all by staying away from the Mines. Thankyou

MINES AND CAKES

WHY GO TO NENTHEAD MINES?

You can take an underground tour of Carrs Mine, see our displays of minerals, mining equipment and historic photographs, and visit the 100 metre deep Brewery Shaft – where you can stand on top of the shaft.

Then round your visit off with tea, coffee and homemade cakes.


CARRS MINE TRIPS AND SITE OPEN DAYS

Our Carrs Mine trips take about 90 minutes. We provide lamps and helmets. We suggest that you wear outdoor clothing and footwear. The temperature underground is around 8C. The mine is usually dry underfoot, but maybe a little muddy in places. We welcome all children who can walk and climb stairs – we don’t take babes in arms underground.

We recommend booking in advance to get a mine trip. You can book in advance on-line.  Scroll to the end of this page for our on-line booking form. 

You can also call 07494 497868 to book your place.

You can just turn up on the day – we often have places available. Check first by phoning 07494 497868.

OPEN DAYS IN 2020

Supporting the national initiative to minimise the effects of Covid 19, we have cancelled our planned Open Days for April ,May and June 2020. Depending upon circumstances, we may re-open later in 2020.

Donations for Visits

We ask for a donation of at least £5 per person. We can accept debit cards, cash, or cheques.

All your donations go towards the conservation of the Nenthead Mines site.

Travelling to Nenthead Mines

Please see our advice at the bottom of this page – follow our signs from the Village Car park at Nenthead. Do not stop in the first car park – follow the trackway alongside the river.

We are an All-Volunteer operation.


GROUP BOOKINGS

The Society can also arrange custom group visits to Carrs Tourist Mine throughout most of the year.  We are not presently accepting any group bookings.

A  minimum of eight people and a donation of  £80  is needed to confirm a booking for a custom visit, subject to a volunteer guide being available.   To discuss a date, please either send us an email –  admin(at)nentheadmines.com or phone 07494 497868.  We usually need two weeks notice of your proposed date.

We do not offer Carrs Mine tours from November through to late March. We carry out mine maintenance during this period.


HOW TO GET TO NENTHEAD MINES

We are at Nenthead, near Alston, in Cumbria.

The postcode for our site entrance road is CA9 3NR.

Follow the brown tourist signs from the A689, do not stop in the first car park – follow the trackway alongside the river. 

Click on the map below for a larger view.