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Report - Box Quarry, Wiltshire, 06.2013

Discussion in 'Mines and Quarries' started by The Franconian, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. The Franconian

    The Franconian 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Nov 8, 2012
    Likes Received:
    History first
    Box is probably the best known of the Bath Stone Mines. This is due to it's size and complexity. It is the largest stone mine in the country with many miles of interconnecting passages.
    The village of Box was put on the map when Brunel created his railway tunnel through Box hill in 1841. Although quarrying was carried out on Box hill in medieval times, the extent of the stone was unknown until the tunnel was built.
    Soon after building the tunnel they started to mine the stone commercially, several companies being involved, these were Pictors, Nobles and Stones. The mines evolved in a haphazard manner and pass over the top of Box Tunnel. A problem years ago was that they often met up underground which must have been annoying for the rival companies. The principal entrances in Box hill were Eastgate, Northgate, Westgate, Bridgegate, Backdoor, Clift and what is now called Jack's Workings, named after a stone quarrier. All these entrances were adits or levels and entered into the side of the hill or cliff face.

    The workings once joined quarries in Hudswell and reached almost to Corsham. During the first and second world wars parts of this complex were requisitioned by the War Department and converted into bombproof stores. These have not yet been decontrolled and are used as stores by the Royal Navy. Eastgate was once the biggest entrance but was blocked in 1906. Northgate, Westgate and Bridgegate were also blocked at about the same time.

    The easiest entrance into the mines nowadays is by Jack's workings. This is in the most southern region of the mines known as the Lower Hill Series. The entrance is found in the woods on Quarry Hill near the west portal of Box Tunnel. Another entrance still accessible is the Backdoor. This is found at the foot off a cliff face near the top of Love Lane. This entrance is somewhat more difficult than Jacks Workings but it does provide direct access into the central-region of the mines. In the centre of the complex is an area known as the Cathedral, so called because of it's sheer size, it measures 190 feet long, 100 feet high and 25 feet wide at it's centre. In the roof of this chamber there is a large hole about six feet across. All the stone removed from this chamber was hauled through this hole to the surface between the years 1830 to 1850. The roof above the Cathedral is only fifteen feet thick and a row of cottages are partially sited on this.

    In the northern section there are many old quarrying tools such as saws and cranes.

    The northern section was quarried by the Bath and Portland Stone Co. until as late as 1968, Clift entrance is found in the northern section and can be seen from the A4 near Box Hill Motors. This section was quarried with a little more planning than the other parts as all underground junctions point towards Clift entrance. A map of this section resembles a tree and it's branches with the branches being the headings, this is a much more sensible method as wagons loaded with stone always had a straight route from the working face to the entrance. This made it practical to use a small steam locomotive for haulage. The engine was named Thunder by the quarrymen, it was also known as the Coffee Pot. The roof of the main passages near Clift entrance have a line of soot running down them caused by this engine.
    This quarry was part of a very good multi quarry weekend in June, we were down for maybe 6 and a half hours, I could have stayed the same time more
    crew: Oxygen Thief, Altair, PCWOX, Fazy UK, Urban Junkie, Darryl and TFman
    a good group, I'd like to join again.

    nice area, looks like it should be at an underground quarry

    yeaahh, nice rocks

    cavish that hole

    guys like these were working there, wouldn't start trouble with them in the pub:
    The Quarrymen
    have a look through this side for technics and tools, it's very interesting and informativ

    not far in
    The Cathetral
    a manmade extraction hole, for me it looks on photos more impressing than in reality

    tried to get it in another view than usual, but not so easy, not so much possibilities
    these chambers look filled up, what might be in there, are they eventually connected to outside ground?

    rockmove detector woods (hope I am right with that), pressed in, showing moving stone when falling out or broken

    old writings, see yourself, you have seen the guys who did it



    a winch, I am not sure how it was exactly used, did some trials with light and shadow



    blocks stacked as support as it seems


    barrels of carbide to be used in miners lamps
    reaction is over after while in contact with water or air

    ...direct beside the water tank, to fill the lamps

    one of the cranes



    have a good look on this, sprockets can be changed by moving the mechanic from left to right with the lever. is this up and down?
    Looks like different size, so different strenght needed. that small one up right is an autobrake, hook falling in safetyposition automaticly.
    one wheel goes directly into winch, the other not. there must be a way to do this upward and downward. needed a better look.


    the sawblade sharpening place, pieces of sawblade and files to be seen

    the slit is filled with sand now, but in original the sawblade went nearly complete into the stone
    to keep vibrations as low as possible while filing

    some rail

    that was it, thank you
    I must say that I am bit confused with all that different quarries, must get me a map which shows where they all are located


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