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Report - cononley lead mine,north yorkishire, march 2015

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by Lancashire lad, Apr 27, 2015.

  1. Lancashire lad

    Lancashire lad chief taster for costa coffee
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    The first record of mining at Cononley dates from July 1532 when Christopher Aske leased "all the mines on the wastes and moors of the Manor of Cononley for 20 years." This lease contains a clause to set on workmen as soon as he "proves the ground" (Hoyle 1989 p.125). The wording of the lease suggests that mining has already taken place at an earlier date, but had been abandoned by the time of this lease. Previously the manor was part of the Bolton Priory estate, which was broken up on the dissolution of the monasteries.It would appear that Aske was not successful as a record of 1538 indicates that no lead was found. Patchy records indicate that small-scale mining occurred in both townships intermittently through the next two centuries (Spence 1992 p.167-168).
    The main period of working was between 1825 and 1882 when the mine was worked for lead ore. Hall and Co lead merchants with previous experience mining in both the Derwent mines of the North Pennines and the Arkengarthdale mines in the Yorkshire Dales are recorded as working on both the Glusburn and Cononley royalties from 1825 along with some interests on the Bycliffe vein at Grassington. By 1830 they had begun to drive the Deep Adit at a point just outside the village. The geology here was very disturbed and only 165m were driven before the project was abandoned (Gill 1987 p.8). The question that has to be asked is why? The Halls had gained considerable experience in the development of lead mines and had successfully driven several major level networks providing both improved drainage and haulage arrangements. Shortly after the Deep Adit was started the price of lead fell dramatically and it is suggested that this rather than the geology is the reason for the Hall's failure. Work began again in 1836 when George Gill & Co took a bargain to clear the mouth of the "Deep Level". 17 months and 200m later the main vein was reached. This work was all undertaken directly for the Duke of Devonshire who had inherited the Cononley mineral rights from the Dukes of Burlington. At this time the Dukes mining interests were under the supervision of John Taylor & Co mining engineers, and the Cononley work was under the direct control of Stephen Eddy the manager or agent at the Grassington mines, who's son James Ray Eddy would succeed him (Raistrick 1973 p 156). John Taylor was a pre-eminent mining engineer and entrepreneur, an innovator and a shrewd businessman who had a reputation for organising and modernising mining fields, instigating new and efficient working practices (Burt 1977). For the next two decades further development work continued with shafts and levels driven to fully explore and exploit the main vein.

    It is thought that the Glusburn section of the main vein was not exploited until 1842 when the Deep Adit crossed the boundary (Gill 1987 p.12), and new research indicates that ore from the Glusburn ground was being brought out of the Engine Shaft by 1845 (Chatsworth Archive L/39/31). It is interesting to note that the surface remained undeveloped until shortly after 1848 as an examination of the first edition 1:10560 (6") ordnance survey sheet shows only a few old shafts with no sign of Mason's or Garforths shafts. The Incline Plane (shaft) was sunk down to the Deep Adit between 1848/49 and completed by 1852. This connected underground with the Upper Adit a level driven from the side of Nether Gill probably by the Hall's, the Middle Level a purely internal level, and the Deep Adit. This allowed access to the richest section of the vein and acted as a focal point for the haulage of ore from the Glusburn ground, allowing material to be brought to the surface at one central site equipped with up to date mechanical ore dressing machinery. At the foot of Nethergill close to the Deep Adit a smeltmill was constructed shortly before 1839 (Fig.5). The mill probably had at least two hearths and like most 19th century smeltmills it had a long flue running up the hillside terminating in a chimney halfway up the side of the Gibb.
    After the mine closed a market developed for barytes (Barium Sulphate), which was the principal mineral present in the Cononley veins and had previously been discarded. It had previously been thought that the mine remained closed until the 1920s but evidence found underground suggests that some work may have occurred earlier. This operation run by Edward Murgatroyd to recover barytes from the tips as well as from new underground workings was not successful and was abandoned by 1927 when it was then taken over by J.H. Clay and run until the mine was mothballed in 1933 and finally closed in 1937. The surface tips continued to be worked sporadically through to the 1950's when some underground work was done between 1957 and 1958 by McKecnie Bros. of Widnes, after which the mine was finally abandoned. An application was made to reopen the mine in the 1980's but planning permission was refused.copied from the history of cononley mine page
    the urbex itself is quite an easy one fit to kill a few hours if you please:thumb. the actual mine shaft is open to exploration just a gate blocks the way but the locks have been removed, I would of gone in but I wasn't prepaired for underground exploration:wanker lead mine (4).JPG lead mine (6).JPG lead mine (8).JPG lead mine (10).JPG lead mine (16).JPG lead mine (19).JPG lead mine (20).JPG lead mine (23).JPG lead mine (26).JPG lead mine (31).JPG lead mine (31).JPG lead mine (34).JPG (no torches or ropes which looking at it I might have needed) the shaft itself looks easy enough to traverse a nice gentle slope runs into the blackness down to the face
     

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  2. KM_Punk

    KM_Punk Muppet
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    Looks a cool place, are you gonna return with equipment? Looks like it could be a smasher. Certainly researched your history on this(no need for citations though) and you've got some good shots, unfortunately you've duplicated you're tenth pic.
    Good stuff :thumb Cheers for sharing
     
  3. Lancashire lad

    Lancashire lad chief taster for costa coffee
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    :rolleyes:im planning a return trip maybe with a non member if hes up for it, ill wait for summer to roll around before heading back tho get more light in the day and hopefully it will be a little dryer . I know a guy whos been in but back in the early nineties as part of a caving club so maybe ill tap him up for advice and pointers.
     
  4. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Nice report and very well researched, good stuff :thumb
     
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  5. Lancashire lad

    Lancashire lad chief taster for costa coffee
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    Yeh I'm happy with this one plenty of history to be found and it's a very quiet place only a few caving clubs use it like I.say if I've got the minerals I'll explore.underground next time.I go o_O:turd
     
  6. The Kwan

    The Kwan funksoul Brother
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    Cheers for sharing this with us David, its history is fascinating and your photography is really nice mate :thumb
     
  7. Lancashire lad

    Lancashire lad chief taster for costa coffee
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    cheers pal much appreciated
     
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