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Report - Quarry Dean - Surrey- March 2016

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by Medwaydan, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. Medwaydan

    Medwaydan 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Oct 31, 2012
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    Visited with SilentWalker, porkerofthenight (:thumb for finding this) and woody1112

    Brief History taken from merstham history online-
    Field terraces on the southern slope of the North Downs overlooking the stone quarries at Merstham suggest the area was inhabited and cultivated perhaps as early as pre-Roman times.

    In 1395 William Prophete, thought to be a relative of John and Philip, supplied stone from the Merstham quarries for the building of Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey. Knoop & Jones in their book 'The Medieval Mason' record that 'Eton College used freestone from Merstham in the mid 1400s, paying 1s 8d per load at the quarry and a further 2s 8d for transporting it to Eton.' The next period in history when demand for Merstham stone was known to have been heavy was in the re-building of London after the Great Fire of 1666. It was used in the building of London Bridge and it seems inevitable that it was used elsewhere. We next know something about the ownership of the quarries in 1745 when the Merstham estate and manor belonged to Paul Humphrey, who left it to his sister and her husband John Tattersall. They were childless so the land passed to John's brother James Tattersall, who put it up for sale in 1784. In May 1788 Tattersall sold the estate to William Jolliffe of Petersfield, where he was a Member of Parliament, for '40,000. This was the beginning of the association of the Jolliffe family with Merstham. In 1802 William Jolliffe's son, Hylton, inherited Quarry Dean. Hylton and his younger brother William, an ordained clergyman, were magistrates at Reigate and as such were approached by the sponsoring committee of the Croydon, Merstham and Godstone Iron Railway. From that moment on the history of the Quarry Dean quarries and the iron railway were bound together. Hylton Jolliffe went into partnership with Edward Banks in the early 1800s, but finding his time taken up with other matters he handed over the business to his brother, the Reverend William Jolliffe. Their business became one of the principle engineering contractors in the country.

    One of the last major buildings believed to have used stone quarried at Merstham was the Kingston Baptist Church situated on Union Street in Kingston-Upon-Thames, which was completed in 1864.

    On the 14th July 1867 Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, carried out a series of tests at the Merstham Quarry. These tests were to evaluate the use of dynamite in quarry blasting.

    In 1872 Mr. J.S. Peters took over the lime works and in 1890 the rest of Quarry Dean. He built a separate railway line, pulled by a little steam engine known as Gervase, which ran from the lime kilns to the new Merstham Station. In 1934 he formed the Merstham Grey Stone Lime Co. which continued until 1956. In 1961 the Croydon Corporation bought the lime pit for the dumping of refuse and by 1970 had almost restored the original contour of the hill.

    March 1972 saw the start of the building of the M23motorway and the east west M25, completed in February 1976. With this major construction work it was inevitable that the character of the Quarry Dean and Rockshaw Road area of Merstham was dramatically changed. The building of the road caused a serious risk of collapse in the caverns left by the underground quarrying. It was therefore deemed necessary that many of the caverns must be filled in and their entrances sealed.

    Once you enter quarry dean you can really tell the age of the mine. Most of it is now only craw spaces which open into some nice areas to stretch your legs. Some areas are no longer accessible due to the amount of cave ins and flooding. The further you go in you start to notice some passages are mined from a completely different time/method which adds some character to the place. Still got a bit more to find in this place but that will be for next time. Good little explore overall just don't look at the cracks above your head as your going round.







    #1 Medwaydan, Mar 31, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
    Wevsky, Lenston and silentwalker like this.

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