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Report - Roanhead mines Nr Askam in Furness, June 2013

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Keynsham, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. Keynsham

    Keynsham 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Jun 24, 2013
    Likes Received:
    This week I remembered something I wanted to photograph before it dissappeared. Trouble was that I saw it in January when it seemed it would never stop raining. All that rain brought the thistles and brambles on so that by June the place was nearly impassible. Ended up carrying the dog.
    This is what it looked like some time before 1940. Violet pit is in the centre with its cooling ponds in the foreground. Rita pit can be seen to the left with Nigel pit in the background. The Duddon estuary and Black Coombe in the distance.
    Myles Kennedy (who built Stone Cross) leased the mineral rights in 1852 and invested some of the proceeds in the North Lonsdale Ironworks. The mines worked until the last deposit was exhausted in 1942 and then some of the plant was taken over by the Ministry of supply.
    Here is a mine plan, Z2928 from Barrow Records Office:
    Landowner's copy
    Detail of No16 area
    This is the hole that is left when you take away 11 million tons of ore. The Rita deposit was worked from Wilfred (No 17), Betty (No 18), Kathleen (No 19), Violet and Rita pits.
    Concrete base of Hathorn Davey pumping engine at Violet. The engine was installed at Yarlside in 1881 and had 38" and 66" diameter cylinders. It was moved here in 1901 and worked from 1912 till 1942.
    Base of Violet winding engine.
    The Burlington deposit crossed the boundary between Park and Roanhead. Based on 1968 OS map

    No 16 pit is now a small black pond. It was sunk shortly before the mine plan was drawn up in 1877 and closed by 1882. in 1905 the old winder from Rita Pit was taken to No16 pit. It was intended to re-open No16 pit to take ore from the Roanhead section of the Burlington deposit. Barrow Haematite Steel reached the bottom of their ore in July 1908 and raised their pumps from the 134 Fm level to the 84 Fm level. No 16 Pit had been sunk to 205 Yds (102 Fm). Work stopped at Plunger Pit in September 1909 when the rising water made it too dangerous to continue. On the death of Myles Sandys the mines were valued for death duties. The valuers estimated 5757 tons of ore with the comment "other pits situated in this area which will - unless unforseen circumstances arise - resume their operations when the proper time arrives are:- the No1 or Plunger Pit and the No 16 pit from both of which a fair quantity of ore should be raised".
    The proper time has not arrived yet.
    No 16 pit was still not finished because at some time, probably when the site was under the Ministry of supply, a barrel roof was added to the winding engine bed to convert it to an air raid shelter.
    Winding engine bed converted to air raid shelter.
    The view from inside.

    This is Kathleen Pit changehouse and the reason I came out.
    After the Ministry of Supply it was used to store farm machinery until it became too dilapidated even for that but I reckon these canvas things on the rooflights could be blackout blinds:

    And finaly:
    If he was built like a brick shithouse, this is the brick shithouse he was built like. 60 years of use and 70 years of abandonment but still standing.
    #1 Keynsham, Jun 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013

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