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Report - Holme Bank Chert Mine, Derbyshire - Aug 15

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by Hydro, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. Hydro

    Hydro 28DL Regular User
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    Explored with Raz, FatPanda & Jord - Pic Heavy

    A Brief History of Bakewell Chert Mine

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    Holme Bank was the last of two operational chert mines in Derbyshire the other being the Pretoria Mine, both at Bakewell. Access was from adits in a quarry at Bank Top and the steep workings extended beneath the road to connect with the earlier Greenfield shaft. The chert bed lies on a 1 in 3.7 gradient and the mine was subject to flooding in severe winters. Illumination was by mains electricity in addition to carbide lamps carried by the miners. Chert is a form of fine-grained, flinty silica most commonly found in veins in the uppermost beds of a limestone sequence. Chert was worked into tools in prehistoric times, easily shaped by chipping off flakes to produce sharp edges.The most useful role for chert was recognised about two centuries ago for the grinding of calcined flint, used as a whitening agent in earthenware manufacture. In 1772 the potter Josiah Wedgwood recommended Derbyshire chert as a major improvement over granite millstones, which left annoying black specks in the pure white flint.

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    The chert bed was on average 9 ft (2.7 m) thick, though up to 18 ft (5.5 m) in places. It was extracted by removing the underlying limestone so that the chert fell under its own weight. A hoist powered by compressed air loaded it onto flat wagons, drawn to the surface by compressed air winches along a 1 ft 6 in (46 cm) gauge railway. The ‘waste’ limestone was built up into substantial roof supports. Early 19th-century extraction at Holme Bank was from quarries but commercial mining was in place by 1867, when the site was known as Bakewell Chert Mine. Later it was also referred to as Smith's Mine, after the owner. The workings consisted of an extensive system of passages with eight entrances.

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    In 1925, 41 men were employed but 20 years later only 21 were at work. Approximately half worked underground. Between the two World Wars, mining broke out on the surface, enabling the chert to be quarried alongside limestone. In its later years Holme Bank met a considerable demand for poultry grit. The mine closed between 1959 and 1961 but a block-making plant, trading as Smith’s Runners, remained in operation, using existing supplies of chert.

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    In recent years the few underground visitors to Holme Bank Mine have included cave divers, using the clear subterranean waters for training purposes. Almost 10 years ago the Peak Park Planning Board granted permission for the mine to be opened up to visitors but this plan has so far not been implemented.

    Heres a Video link to some guys diving in the mine; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sswnvlbo1zI

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    The Explore;

    So after an early start and a long trip to Birmingham of which i remember only about 15 mins due to being in the land of nod, we had already explored Birmingham Central Library and tried 2 other places, so on our way home Mr i love mines & cranes Raz suggested a mine!

    With low batteries and low energy we were rather unprepared but still we ventured on, arriving at the entrance (which you can't miss due to the tempreture drop of freezing air flowing up from the pit bottom) and doing a little sqeezing and we were in!

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    We quickly realised that the roof was in a dire state and in some places it was actually being held up by rotten wood and stones stacked on top of each other. This made me very very uneasy and we came to the decision not to go too far in without any disagreement.

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    Heres a few more of our adventures underground;

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    Thanks for looking :thumb
     
    Tomw1989, The Kwan, Mr Sam and 4 others like this.

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  2. The Wombat

    The Wombat Mr Wombat
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    Nicely lit photos :thumb
     
    Hydro likes this.
  3. Funlester

    Funlester The Fun One
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    Love the water shots, would love to go somewhere like this but not had the chance to yet.
     
  4. Hydro

    Hydro 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers mate :)
     
  5. Hydro

    Hydro 28DL Regular User
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    Get yourself out to one mate!! They are brilliant
     
  6. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Very nice mate. You've managed to get a good set of snaps.
     
    Hydro likes this.
  7. Hydro

    Hydro 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers bro!!
     
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