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Report (Permission Visit) - Godstone mine - Godstone, surrey (April 8th 2018) | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report (Permission Visit) Godstone mine - Godstone, surrey (April 8th 2018)


Tocsin35

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
The history
The old mine workings under the North Downs at Godstone, often called ‘caves’, are actually older underground STONE QUARRIES. The bed of sandstone, which was quarried, is part of the Upper Greensand beds [formed during the cretaceous Period], which lie directly beneath the chalk.
It was sometime in the 17th century when quarrying started in Godstone, although nobody is exactly sure when. The stone was used for buildings, and can be seen in furnaces because of its special fire resistant properties. Because of this it earned the name FIRESTONE.
The quarries were part of the Clayton estate and provided a useful income to the Clayton family over the years. Quarrying for stone continued until about 1900 when more durable stones from further afield and bricks removed the demand for firestone. However, the quarries survived, and some continued for several more decades supplying HEARTHSTONE.
In the middle of the 19th century, a fashion developed for whitening stone hearths, doorsteps and window ledges by rubbing Hearthstone into them. This left a chalky white deposit when it dried out. Some of the material otherwise considered unsuitable for building purposes was sold as hearthstone. Together with other mines in Surrey. the Godstone mines supplied many hundreds of thousands of tons of hearthstone to retailers of household materials such as BLANCHARDS of South East London.
Mines to the east continued to supply hearthstone into the 1940’s and 1950’s but those under Godstone Hill were turned over to GROWING MUSHROOMS in the earlier years of this century. Until the 1930’s nearly every available square foot of floor space in the mine was used to grow mushrooms. Compost was laid out in long piles called RIDGE BEDS. The walls were regularly painted with limewash to disinfect the galleries, and doors and barriers were fitted ton control the ventilation in the mine.
Mushrooms require careful control of humidity to thrive, and pipes were installed to distribute water to various parts of the mine to keep the ridge beds adequately moist. It is the remains of the mushroom farm that are most evident in the mine today, though there is plenty to see of the older quarrying and mining activities.
source: http://www.godstone.net/aboutus/history/mines/

our visit
a few months ago while browsing around 28dayslater I can across a report on the godstone mines and instantly I was fascinated by this extensive system of tunnels under surrey especially due to it being rich in history and a great looking mine not located far from Berkshire where I'm based. after emailing the wcms regarding a visit I very quickly got a response which confirmed as visit as being possible. come the end of march I emailed again and confirmed a date and come april 8th we were on our way over to godstone with my mother and @supreme_brick . we pulled up a dirt track and within minutes peter from the wcms pulled in behind us and off we went. the mines are rich in history and that really shows when exploring them. its also amazing the work the wcms are doing to preserve this mine as much as possible although areas are in a poor state with roofs and pillars collapsing. furthermore peter who was showing us around was very knowledgeable on the workings which made the visit even more interested, he is obviously very passionate about the work they do in the mine and the mine themselves. its was also great of him to take 3hrs out of his sunday morning to show us around. I found his outlook of its pointless preserving a place like that if your not going to show anyone very amicable and that it was better to show people rather than people come and break in. any way on with the pictures.
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DaveFM

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Looks quite a clean mine with mostly clear floors, some of the more dilapidated stone mines you're clambering over boulders or walking on ankle twisting rubble a lot of the time. Is there still a bat grill at the Roman Road entrance? I remember that from when I went to look at the mine in 2002, I didn't get inside but found one or two old sealed entrances.
I learned of Godstone caves as they were referred to, from a book in Maidstone library called Chalkways by someone Pyatt, it was about paths on the downs and listed features of interest nearby.
 

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