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.
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.
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.
Recent hot weather has slowed down our work programme, but we have achieved some objectives. Here is a summary from 27th June to 18th July.
Conserving the EIMCO loader and a mine wagon: both items have been coated with rust preventing chemicals and the loader has been partly undercoated. Audrey has been responsible for most of this work.
Rewiring the Barracks: the upstairs ring main and the boiler main have been installed and are working. Thanks to Colin for this task.
Lighting the Display Cabinets: Andy and Anne have built custom led lights for most of the display cabinets, and have almost completed this task.
Repairing the Dowgang footpath fence: ChrisB, Alec, Graham, Martyn and Rosemary have rehung the gate and started on fixing the fence across the burn. Erica, who lives nearby, has donated a length of mesh for the fence repair.
Arch repairs in Carrs Mine: The floor level arch for the old lower adit has been walled by Jim.
Stagg Wheelpit: Sheila has logged the vegetation within the safety fence, and has done a first draft of the SMC application for conservation work on the timbers.
Building signs and Noticeboards: Repainted in a new shade of green, by Rachel, Nicola, Sheila and Joyce.
Stray fridge; that had been dumped in Dowgang Hush recovered and recycled by ChrisB and Graham.
Thompson’s Level: old shaft top fence repaired, level entrance cleared of vegetation, rails covered with ply, and the dump bund rebuilt. Leif, Allan, Greg, ChrisC, Nick, Rosemary and Joyce were all involved. ChrisC repaired the gate by welding.
Archive: a start made with the Coldberry pay sheets by Margaret.
Carrs Shop and Barracks Windows: have had some white paint recoated by Pete and Graham.
We have also had visits from the Nenthead Chapel team, and the pupils from Nenthead School.
We are holding an information event at Nenthead Village Hall on Saturday 17th March from 1300 to 1700hrs.
Cumbria County Council owns the land and buildings at Nenthead Mines. The Council has invited the Society to submit a Business case for the transfer of the site to the Charity.
Please come and see our plans, Share your opinions and talk about the future of the site.
Meet the Society volunteers. Join the Society and help to conserve the mines for everyone.
Since our last report, we have made slow progress on site. Snow has prevented access both to Nenthead and the site. An expected delivery of wood on 13th February was cancelled because the roads around Alston were impassable in places. The wood eventually arrived on the 16th.
The wood delivery includes a joist and floor boarding for The Barracks. Work on the 10th and 11th had revealed wet and dry rot in a floor joist. The affected timber was removed together with large areas of the ground floor ceiling and internal plasterboard walls. All this demolition created a mess of broken plasterboard and timber which was eventually stacked outside to await the arrival of a rubbish skip. Chris Chilton, Rachel Chilton, Will Barron, Sandra Hall, Pete Jackson,Allan Richardson, Steve Bentley, and Rosemary Vidler were the team.
The skip arrived for Wednesday 21st but had to be left near to Rampgill Level because the skip wagon could not get traction on the icy road. Martyn Langley later dragged the skip onto the site using his Land Rover.
On the 21st, the new joist was cut to size by Alec Langley and Chris Battersby and made ready for installation. Audrey Battersby cleared the ground floor mess and with Mark Hatton and Joyce Jackson worked to fill the skip with the demolition material. Colin Wilkinson was checking and rearranging the wiring in The Barracks. Sheila Barker and Anne Hopkirk tried to work in the Office whilst subject to power cuts. Meanwhile, Andy Hopkirk was discussing drone imagery and mapping with a new visitor, whilst Mark Hatton also introduced our Eden District Councillor, Lissie Sharp,to the site.
Another great day with plenty achieved. Sheila Barker continued the sort of the Eric Richardson collection documents and Audrey Battersby put more paint on the Assay House windows – both of them were snug and warm. Meanwhile…..Anne and Andy Hopkirk completed the sort of the Mineral Specimen collection drawers aided by the gas heater loaned by Chris Chilton. We took the thermometer out of The Barracks so that they would not know how cold it was. Joyce Jackson cleared the mud from the showers and then went to work in the mine.
Down the mine, it was more warm than The Barracks. Colin Agnew, Rosemary Vidler, Graham Brooks, Alec Langley Chris Buckingham, and Chris Battersby removed rotten roof timbers and installed new sections. Joyce Jackson and Martyn Langley came to help later.
Pete Jackson gave a conducted tour of the mine to PCSO Tony Labram and had a useful discussion about recent burglaries on our site. Colin Wilkinson installed a replacement outside light at The Barracks.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
A new award was announced this month – “NMCS Volunteer of the Year”.
The trophy is a Davy Lamp.
This year it has been awarded to Audrey Battersby.
Audrey is notoriously camera shy but we managed to snatch this photo on 22nd November 2017.
8th and 15th November Wednesday Work days.
Most of the year we can ignore our location high on the Pennine hills, until we are reminded in November when the temperature falls and the snow starts. The snow fell on the 8th and melted, but the outside temperature fell to 2C by the 15th. On the 15th, we worked in a balmy 7C in Carrs mine, checking timber, surveying and doing a little exploring. Jim, Graham, Chris and Pete were in the mine today.
We are going to replace a fair amount of the entrance crosscut timbering over the winter and clean off some of the loose rock.
Meanwhile Audrey was very carefully painting windows inside the Assay House.The windows look better than they have for years – a very neat job completed.
Andy, Anne and Pete sorted through mineral specimens to remove the poorer quality specimens from our collection. Standing still in a cold Barracks building makes one think a lot faster and harder – it was colder inside than out in the yard!
The archive and computer team have sorted, checked and verified. We now have two back-up discs, one of which is taken off site after every Wednesday. Sheila, Anne and Joyce have been systematically checking through our systems.
Colin and Chris have also installed a new extraction system for the Assay House showers and Audrey has primed the woodwork.
ART GROUP VISIT 12th November – East Durham Artists Network
We hosted a visit from the EDAN team who wanted to visit a mine. Some of the members are former miners and some are new to underground. They have a good Facebook page and you can read more about their visit.
Thanks to Chris, Will, Frank and Charley who hosted this group.