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

Report - Thingdon Ironstone Mine - Northants - June 2019


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
(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

Interesting use of an old vehicle

First of many roof falls


Remains of track points

Fallen, rotten props everywhere

One of the few props surviving in situ

Side adit

Sealed entrance to flooded section

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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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
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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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