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Report - - Thingdon Ironstone Mine - Northants - June 2019 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Thingdon Ironstone Mine - Northants - June 2019


marcman

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
History
(gleaned from various wikipedia entries)

Walter Neilson, a farmer at the time, began opencast quarrying for ironstone, on land he owned on the south west edge of Finedon, Northants, in 1879. By 1881, he was producing enough ore to justify laying a narrow gauge tramway from his land down to sidings on the Midland Railway about a mile north of Wellingborough railway station.

By 1892, Neilson’s original pits were exhausted and he leased new land, south of the town and began Thingdon Quarry. By 1911, all the ore that could be extracted using opencast quarrying had been found. The ore deposit dipped beneath Neville's Lodge and required mining to access. Neilson was not prepared to undertake the more technically difficult mining process. Instead he sold his company to the Wellingborough Iron Company who opened up the Thingdon Mines to access the ore.

...unfortunately, I can't find any information on how long the mine operated for but I hope to visit the records office soon, to view plans of the workings, and to get a better understanding of the layout.


The visit

Thinking this one was called Finedon, we failed to locate it on our first visit. That involved a couple of very sweaty hours searching through gullies, undergrowth and nettles, in the wrong quarry, for the wrong mine. Skip to a week later, after a friendly pointer from someone here who knows it, and me realising that this one is actually called Thingdon and not Finedon, I find myself crawling feet first through mud and rusty iron bars, into the main, backfilled adit.

Looking back at the way in, I was quite amused to see that an old scrap vehicle had been used as the main base for the backfill material. Going forwards it's only a few meters until the first of many roof-falls. Easy to clamber over it, but quite awe-inspiring looking up at the exposed area above. The floor everywhere seems to be littered with rotten timber roof props, laying where they have fallen, many, many years ago. We literally whispered the entire time we were down there, in a subconscious effort to not bring down the roof with our soundwaves - silly I know, but it was only after we exited that we were even aware we'd been doing it.

It was a relatively short visit - we didn't actually venture far. There seems to be loads more to see down there but the threat of bad-air was enough to keep us wary of exactly how far away the entrance was, at all times. The few side tunnels we explored, didn't seem to have a regular pattern to them, further escalating the need for caution.

Back above ground, we spent some further time exploring the quarry gully. We found another sealed entrance further along, partly blocked with some crude concrete, and marked '1975'. Peering down with torch beams, through the gap between concrete and bars, we could see that that section was flooded.

Please excuse my photos - they're not great quality, and most of the views have already been covered in earlier reports. For this reason, I've kept them to a minimum.


Backfilled entrance
backfilled-entrance.jpg


Interesting use of an old vehicle
backfilled-car.jpg


First of many roof falls
first-roof-fall.jpg


Tracks
tracks.jpg


Remains of track points
track-point.jpg


Fallen, rotten props everywhere
rotten-props.jpg


One of the few props surviving in situ
surviving-roof-prop.jpg


Side adit
first-tunnel.jpg


Sealed entrance to flooded section
1974.jpg


All in all it was a great visit, and once I have some plans and a gas detector, I will return for a deeper look.

Thanks for looking.
 
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mattyjcooper

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I've been in this year! We visited it twice. Had to go back with a gas detector. Oxygen is very low! Messes with your head and makes it way to easy to get lost. Luckily we had sense and remembered our way out. This place is literally a cross section mine running underground for over 20miles of tunnels. We actually managed to find the main drive after walking about an hour into the mine! If you are going to explore this mine, be very careful. It's the most dangerous mine I've been in due to lack of oxygen and literally being a maze!

Be careful on your next visit
 
Last edited:

pirate

Rum Swigger
Regular User
Please get yourself a detector......atmosphere can change within very short spaces of time or distance.

The last place I went........21%o2 outside...as soon as we went through hole in wall it dropped to 19% a few hundred meters at 17.5% then suddenly dropped to 16%.........our guide pointed out an area approx 50ft ahead of us where he said it dropped to 10% last time he was there........that’s get the fuck out quick time and without a meter that’s get dead fucking quick time.


Stay safe :thumb
 
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Mintyjimbob

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
How far in did you get?

I managed to get to the orange 9 before it was first buried.

Knew where to dig as had a photo of the original hole

But it is now buried AGAIN. Sadly too much attention online and the council know about it after some idiot had his look down there then reported it.

So it won't be being explored again for a long time!
 

Down and beyond

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Again it’s sealed that’s the only open one in findone all the others are completely buried they pull all the rock face over them now days so their no points of reference to much online attention
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Some crazy nice shots there. Love the roof shot and the colours. But safety does come first.
 

Djfine

28DL Member
28DL Member
I lived in finedon in the 1980s and we explored these mines back then. They were all full of water beyond 100m. Interesting that they have dried out over the subsequent years
 

craving_caving

Do not ask for directions
28DL Full Member
I've been in this year! We visited it twice. Had to go back with a gas detector. Oxygen is very low! Messes with your head and makes it way to easy to get lost. Luckily we had sense and remembered our way out. This place is literally a cross section mine running underground for over 20miles of tunnels. We actually managed to find the main drive after walking about an hour into the mine! If you are going to explore this mine, be very careful. It's the most dangerous mine I've been in due to lack of oxygen and literally being a maze!

Be careful on your next visit
I second this. (I return to 28 after nearly a decade of dormancy!) This mine in particular has areas of very bad air (predominantly low O2) and have even encountered pockets of bad air significantly worse than the same area weeks before. The majority of this mine was sitting between 17.8% and 18.2% O2 in the latter half of 2019. The 19.5% alarm triggered 20m inside the portal. Disturbing the sediment in flooded areas (much of the mine) released 1 or 2ppm hydrogen sulphide occasionally. Though I have not encountered high Carbon monoxide or dioxide here yet (I have in others locally) so I'm sure there is lurking in here too. Be careful folks.
 

craving_caving

Do not ask for directions
28DL Full Member
Personally I dont think this place should of been publicised!! Atleast not left on the public side of this site.
Usually I say it is nice to see everything and let people decide but with this I agree. This place can be deadly as can others in the same ore bed. With the general Internet reader they may think "it is just to keep the places to themselves" and go in. I think these should be invite on individual merit only. As mentioned above others locally are generally now sealed because of publicity or slightly better air most of the time in most of the area but all have the ability to change for the worst in minutes. Case in point this week. In the space of 3 minutes the o2 dropped 3.4% at the same point. Not because I was standing there as I walked away and returned. 18% to 15%. Be very careful or keep clear!
 

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