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Report - Northamptonshire Ironstone Mines June-Aug 2010

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by troglodyte, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. troglodyte

    troglodyte Cave Dweller
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    Photos taken over Various visits.​

    These mines almost became abit of an obsession to me, There isnt exacly a healthy amount of information about them on the internet. So trying to find where abouts the mines are located and possible entrances took alot of time and research. Although this journey for information has led me to stumble over some old mine workers reports and lots of other intresting information.
    Thus you can imagine my excitement when I finally stumbled across an entrance to one of the mines, Then another, Then another! I couldnt believe my luck. The research had all paid off, Within one day I had found entrances to three of them. Willowclose, Woodfield and Church Mine North. :thumb
    This report consists of Woodfiield and Church Mine North only.The reason is that early into my research I discoverd that Willowclose contains alot of bad air and therefore wasnt prepared to risk an exploration until I get the right equiptment.

    Historical report on what the work was like:
    "These were quite hard times and the regime at the ironworks was very strict. If a worker was only a minute late in arriving at the clock-in point he could not do so for another quarter of an hour and lost pay accordingly. But it was much harder than this on the labourers who knew what really hard physical work was, (unlike, I suspect, many of our younger generation). They had to work 8 hour shifts whatever the weather, feeling well or otherwise, since time off on sick leave was unpaid. For example the men who lifted the two hundred- weight "pigs" of iron had to lift 50 tons by hand in each shift, onto railway trucks or for stacking. Many suffered with early back and leg troubles as a result.
    The pay for this work was a mere pittance by today's standards and it is doubtful if you would get present day workers to do the job. It is no wonder that the men who had to meet these arduous demands were a pretty tough breed, and it is not for nothing that there was a saying that "at Islip they made pigs and old men".""
    Frank Edmonds, Thrapston & District Historical Society

    If your intersested in reading about the history of the mines in the area then I highly reccomend reading Alan Smith's experiences in working the mines.


    Woodfield​


    [​IMG]

    Woodfield contains alot of flooded sections as you head further in.
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    Church Mine North​

    After about 20 minutes of exploring this mine I noticed an expression of terror on my mates face, I stopped to turn and face him "Grrrrrrrrrrr" ,"what was that!" He cried, A low rumbling noise had shattered the silence and thats the last thing you ever want to hear in abandoned mine. It took a moment for me to realise that it had just been my stomache trying to digest the Burger king from the services on the way there.:p We took a moment to settle while my mate regained his composure.
    we decided to venture further in. The first thing we noticed about this mine is that it isnt as easy to navigate as Woodfield. It has alot of branching off passages and feels alot bigger!

    The crawl in.
    [​IMG]

    The passages started getting quite sloppy.
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    Old miners lamp left behind.
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    I think it may have been around this area that we noticed alot of old horse shoe prints remained from all those year ago.
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    cave dweller.
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    Thanks for looking :thumb
     
    #1 troglodyte, Aug 20, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2010

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  2. Eduard Berzin

    Eduard Berzin 28DL Full Member
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    I grew up in Thrapston. I have 2 photos that might interest you. Have you any idea what this is? I don't know, but I expect it is connected with mining in the area. It is to the west of Islip.

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    tower by Sorebelow, on Flickr

    This photo is of an ore grader near the old Midland Road train station in Thrapston.

    [​IMG]
    ore grader by Sorebelow, on Flickr
     
  3. troglodyte

    troglodyte Cave Dweller
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    Yeah your right that tower is an air vent for the mines. Ive walked over to this a few weeks ago. Would love to see it from underneath.
     
  4. Rustynail

    Rustynail it's dark in here innit?
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  5. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
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    ello fazy..got a group shot up somewhere with you in mate ..and one of u coming out of a hole .or so it seems
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    knew id get it to you at some point..bit fuzzy but that could just be you
     
  6. davetdi

    davetdi 28DL Full Member
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    been to that place, its just up the road from me

    heres a piccy or two of the south side of the road.....

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    O'er, errie looking cart still onthe rails........

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  7. Eduard Berzin

    Eduard Berzin 28DL Full Member
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    I thought he meant something like a water tank, but talking to him more he said it was a cube shape made from girders. You could see through it.

    Anyway, here are some of the photos of the mine carts I took on Friday.

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    quarry 2 by Sorebelow, on Flickr

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    quarry 1 by Sorebelow, on Flickr

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    quarry 3 by Sorebelow, on Flickr

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    quarry 4 by Sorebelow, on Flickr

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    quarry 5 by Sorebelow, on Flickr

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    quarry 6 by Sorebelow, on Flickr
     
  8. Rustynail

    Rustynail it's dark in here innit?
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    I've seen old pictures of the wagons used in these mines and they didn't look like these. They had inside frames and the body was more of a U shape. These "mine carts" aren't anything to do with the mines IMHO. These wagons are commonly known as V-skips. The bodies are a V shape when looked at end-on. They were too wide for most mines.

    They were used for all sorts of things, sand and gravel being examples. That "ore grader" looks more like a gravel grader to me.
     
  9. Arcade Al

    Arcade Al 28DL Member
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    I believe that the carts served the quarry, would this make more sense for that type of cart?
    Until I dig out my own pics, some of the area next to the demolished station are here:
    http://www.aditnow.co.uk/community/viewtopic.aspx?p=68693

    It's possible that the site was later used for something else such as tarmac production, as there are boilers and a mixer that has old, hardened bitumen dripping from it.

    Also an interesting theory that the metal post in the goods yard site could have been the base of a small crane...
     
    #9 Arcade Al, Nov 25, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  10. davetdi

    davetdi 28DL Full Member
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  11. Eduard Berzin

    Eduard Berzin 28DL Full Member
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    This is what Thrapston Midland Road station looked like. This building burned down a couple of years ago. Pity, it would have made a lovely home for someone.

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    Midland Road station by Sorebelow, on Flickr
     
  12. Rustynail

    Rustynail it's dark in here innit?
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    I may well be wrong on the gravel grader. From what you say about it being in a quarry, we're probably looking at the site of what was the Thrapston Limestone Quarries, owned by the Amalgamated Stone & Lime Co. Ltd. which closed in 1939. So these wagons have been stood around for a long time! They would have been hauled by a small diesel loco like this one [​IMG]

    There was a gravel pit in Thrapston but it was almost a mile north of where this site is (if I've got it correct about where this is).
     
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