NEWSLETTER NO. >66 EARLY SPRING 2006


EDITORIAL


A very happy New Year to members - I hope you had an enjoyable and peaceful Christmas. The 2006 lecture programme got off to a good start on 7 January with over 20 members attending to hear long standing section member and past Chairman Ted Connell talking about the Industrial Heritage of the National Trust. As usual reports of all the 2005/6 lectures will appear in the next Newsletter.

Please note an important change of date to the previously circulated lecture programme. The section AGM will now be held on Saturday 1 April, not 8 April as listed in the programme. The change has been made because the main Society, together with the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, is holding a day school on Alum Mining in the North Yorkshire Moors on 8 April and it was felt that some members would be interested in attending. Unfortunately although the change was discussed with me, I didn’t receive confirmation of the change of room booking, so made the wrong assumption that nothing had happened. Apologies to members for the confusion. At the time of writing I don’t have any details about the day school, except that it is being held in Great Ayton. All the Section officers are available for election at the AGM - Chairman; Vice Chairman; Lecture Secretary, Membership Secretary; Newsletter Editor and even Excursion Secretary. We haven’t had the latter post filled on a formal basis for many years, although David George has done sterling work in arranging trips, but that shouldn’t stop members from coming forward. David’s next excursion is on 6 May - details given later in the Newsletter. I do hope that we will have time for some members’ contributions after this year’s AGM; if any members have a contribution to make perhaps they could let me know beforehand. New blood for section officers is always welcome. Just because some of us (e.g. myself!) have been around for a long time, doesn’t mean that we want to continue for ever, let me know if anyone wants information about what is involved or is interested in being nominated. Also if any members have suggestions for speakers – or wish to give a talk please contact Jane Ellis our Lecture Secretary.

Members may recall previous mention of producing membership cards for section members only (main Yorkshire Archaeology Society members receive their membership cards from the YAS). This will enable section members to have some form of identification if they should ever be challenged over the use of facilities at Claremont. Enclosed with this newsletter is the 2006 membership card for those section members who have paid their 2006 subscription and a reminder for those who have not yet paid. Your card will be sent separately when your subscription is received.

For many years the Section was affiliated to EYE on the Aire, a group dedicated to improving the environment of the River Aire corridor and making its history better known. Funding for the group ran out in 2004 and I have received information that it has been formally wound up and its assets disposed of. The remaining cash assets were divided between the Leeds Civic Trust, Rodley Nature Reserve and Wyke Beck Community Forum.

There are no new members to report this time, so a reminder that membership leaflets are available from the YAS Library or from me if you have a friend or relative interested in joining – new faces for the section are always welcome!

I am aiming to produce the next issue of the Newsletter just after the AGM in April, so please let me have any news items or short items for inclusion by then. Hope to meet some of you at the remaining lectures or on 6 May.


Margaret Tylee

 

HELP WANTED

The Cleveland Industrial Archaeology Society has requested information about d’Isles of Stanningley, Leeds. During demolition of industrial buildings at Vulcan Street in Middlesborough, a 14 ft cast iron beam with an H profile was exposed. On the beam was the maker’s name – d’Isles, Stanningley, Leeds. It is believed that the site in Middlesborough was developed in the 1840s up to 1852, but it seems curious that in an area with plenty of foundries, that a beam from Leeds should be imported. Any information on d’Isles of Stanningley would be gratefully received. Please send to David Cant, 3 Middle Hathershelf, Luddenfoot, HX2 6JQ or email davidjcant@hotmail.com.


NEWS FROM THE NORTH EAST INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY PANEL

The panel has members from organisations in Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland with the main sponsors being the Council for British Archaeology and the Association for Industrial Archaeology. The Panel provides a forum for discussion of industrial archaeology and related matters and meets twice a year in April/May and October/November. At the moment I am the AIA representative and share the responsibility for convening and chairing the meetings with Harry Beamish of the National Trust. The Industrial History Section generously supports the Panel’s activities by meeting my expenses up to a sum of £30 per year for which many thanks!

Apart from discussing long term objectives and priorities for work in industrial archaeology, the Panel usually has one or two specific projects. At the moment we are finalizing a document on the diverse sources of information for those wishing to investigate aspects of industrial history. Many thanks to members of the Industrial History Section who have provided input to this document. This will add to the valuable bibliography produced in 1985, “Industrial Archaeology and Industrial History of Northern England by John Greenwood (Copy in YAS Library at Claremont Ref 11C14).

The November 2005 meeting was hosted by the CBA at their York headquarters. The discussion included the proposals for wholesale demolition of Victorian townscapes in Middlesborough; the threats posed to sites following action by landowners trying to limit their liability under the new countryside access legislation; and how inappropriate archaeological activities can destroy evidence and hinder the interpretation of sites. Following the meeting we visited the Lendal Bridge pumping station, a 13th century tower which used to house a Newcomen engine for the waterworks in the 18th century and was now being converted into apartments.

At each Panel meeting, members report on activities and developments from their area. Items of interest from the last meeting included the following:

South Yorkshire
News on sites including Rossington Colliery; CEAG Safety Lamp works in Barnsley; Stocksbridge steelworks; Eckland Bridge wire and umbrella works; Redbrook Mill, Barnsley; Bower Spring Furnace, Sheffield; Penistone Station coal drops.

Tyne & Wear
Recent work on sites included:
Newcastle - the conversion of Proctor’s flour mill into a Centre for Children’s Books, the Elswick Lead works and the Stephenson Quarter south of Central Station.
Gateshead – Sheriff Hill Colliery, Crowley Iron Works and the Bowes Railway
North Tyneside – the North Tyneside Waggonway project; Seaton Burn waggonway; Weetslade Colliery and Marsden Old Quarry
Sunderland – Alexandrina Pit and the Washington Chemical works

Details were also given of the SITELINES project to make information in the Historic Environment Record widely available details from the website www.museums.ncl.ac.uk/sitelines

National Trust
Demolition of the fertilizer works in the Spital area of Berwick.
Booklets to be produced on the built environment and transport of the Northumbrian coast.

West Yorkshire Archaeology Service
Continuing work at Kirkstall Forge
Code of Practice guiding relationships with local groups being prepared.
Details of sites being investigated and reports are available in the WYAS publication Archives & Archaeology or on their website www.wyjs.org.uk.

North Pennines Heritage Trust
Hydro station now generating at Nenthead
Conservation of a railway bridge south of Haltwhistle together with the preparation of an interpretation leaflet

Cleveland Industrial Archaeology Society
Cleveland Industrial Archaeologist No. 30 (2005) has articles on the Great Ayton Community Project, a 17th century tunnel at Bowlby, jet mineral workings and the development of the Middlesborough area.
A Research Report on the Vulcan Street area is being produced
A turbine and direct action hydraulic hoist has been preserved in situ in the conversion to dwellings of buildings at Home Farm, Hutton Hall, Guisborough.

The next Panel meeting is on Saturday 6 May 2006; if you would like further information please contact me (email davidjcant@hotmail.com)

David Cant


NEWS ITEMS

Gayle Mill near Hawes has found, like other buildings which entered the BBC’s ‘Restoration’ series that this can benefit the unsuccessful as well as the successful competitors. It was built as a cotton mill about 1776, later spun flax and then wool before becoming a sawmill in 1878. From 1882 it was driven by a Williamson double vortex water turbine, now the world’s oldest working example. It is claimed to be the oldest unaltered cotton mill in existence and is listed grade II*. Since the ‘Restoration’ series it has raised £875,000 including £585,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to complete the first phase of its restoration. It has been re-roofed, its gable end stabilised and its windows repaired. The aim is to use it as a training centre for the timber industry and it is hoped to provide some public access this year. Details of the Friends of Gayle Mill are available from Roger Emmins, Ella Farmhouse, Appersett, Hawes, DL8 3LN.

Other mills that have been recently been the subject of projects include Yore Mill at Aysgarth in Wensleydale, a 1784 mill used variously for cotton, wool and corn, was powered by turbines from 1937 until it closed in 1958 and now houses a collection of carriages. There are plans to use the turbines again to generate electricity. Gunthwaite Mill near Penistone is being restored as holiday cottages with the intention of displaying the remains of the wheel and machinery behind a glass viewing screen. Garnetts Paper Mill, Otley, which is built on the site of an earlier corn mill, is being converted to new uses and recording of the core of the 19th century buildings has been recommended.

Redevelopment in Sheffield, including a new section of the Inner Relief Road through the Kelham Island and Shalesmoor area, has allowed for the excavation of important sites from the early days of the Sheffield steel industry. The bases of five cementation furnaces were found at the west end of the Millsands site where the Vickers industrial empire began in the 1820s. Another 19th century cementation furnace base at the 18th century Love & Manson site in Snow Hill had been built over an existing cellar and a well preserved crucible furnace was found on the site of the Hope Works, Mowbray Street. The scheduled remains of the 1820s cementation furnaces at Bower Spring owned by the South Yorkshire Industrial History Society are right by the new road. They were part of the Franklin or Spring Works, now demolished. Its foundations were excavated before the road was built, revealing remains of the yard, workshops and warehouses, an arched structure thought to be a boiler water reservoir and some of the crucible furnaces.

Leeds Industrial Museum has worked with the arts organisation Heads Together Productions with a grant of £33,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to record and photograph the working lives of staff at the aluminium foundry Hydro Aluminium Motorcast in Hunslet, Leeds when it closed. The outcomes were a book “Meltdown: Words and Pictures from a Yorkshire Foundry” and an exhibition at the Museum.

The Calder and Hebble Navigation Warehouse in Wakefield is a grade II* listed building created in 1810 by joining two 1790s warehouses. It is the leading survivor of Wakefield’s role as an inland port and market centre in the 18th and 19th centuries and is being converted into offices.

The Midland Railway’s Millhouses engine shed in Sheffield was built in 1901 for passenger locomotives. It was closed in 1962 and converted into workshops for Jacobs manufacturing Ltd, makers of Jacobs drills and chucks. They vacated the premises in 2002 and the building is being demolished to create 222 apartments. The building has been recorded and there is good account of it, with photographs, in the Autumn 2005 issue of the Midland Railway Society Journal.

The CEAG Lamps works in Barnsley will disappear soon in the redevelopment of the Barnsley Markets area. The firm, which is nearly 100years old, originally made electric safety lamps for miners. Now it makes specialist light bulbs e.g. for railway signal lamps and production will be moved to an industrial estate. The 1936 building has outsize models of miners’ lamps which used to light up around the roofline and it is hoped to preserve one of them.

Not strictly speaking, news from Yorkshire but a reminder that this year we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. There are number of events planned nationally including a free exhibition at the National Archives at Kew entitled “Inventors and Inventions: Patents, Protest and Power in the Industrial Revolution 1750-1890”. The exhibition will feature Brunel’s influential designs as well as patent drawings, plans, paintings and photographs from the National Archives, including Arkwright’s spinning machine and Stephenson’s Rocket. Brunel Bicentenary week will be 3-9 July when events and exhibitions organised by the AIA and Institution of Civil Engineers will be taking place. Details of all the activities planned for Brunel 200 can be found at the website www.brunel200.com

FUTURE EVENTS

11 March
Lead mining in the Yorkshire Dales – John Hobson. IHS lecture. 11am at Claremont

25 March
Cumbrian Cornucopia: sources for researching Cumbrian history. A Day School at the University of Central Lancashire Newton Rigg Campus, nr Penrith. 10am – 4.30 pm. Fee £19 (lunch available at £9). For details and booking contact Christine Wilkinson, Fylde College, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YF.

1 April
IHS AGM & members session. 11am at Claremont

5-7 April
Wiltshire in the Age of Steam. A residential course based at Urchfont Manor examining the Kennet & Avon Canal corridor. Details from Urchfont Manor College, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 4RG. ? 01380 840495

8 April
Alum Mining in the North Yorkshire Dales. Day School organised by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, the North York Moors National Park and the Great Ayton Community Archaeology Project. Friends Meeting Room Great Ayton 10am – 4.30pm. Lectures & site visit.

8 April
Friends of St Aidan’s BE 1150 Dragline Open Day. An opportunity to view the largest preserved walking dragline excavator in Western Europe. St Aidan’s opencast coal site, Swillington, Leeds. Details from the Secretary, Dr Ivor Brown, 95 Manygates Lane, Sandal, Wakefield, WF2 7DL.

8 April
Northern Pennine Silver in the Late Medieval Period. A seminar to be held at the North Pennines Heritage Trust Centre, Nenthead, commencing 10.30am. Details from Sheila Barker, The Rise, Alston, Cumbria, CA9 3DB. Email:
sheila.barker@cybermoor.org.uk.

24-29 April
Alsace Awaits. AIA spring tour to Alsace, based in Strasbourg. Full details from Paul Saulter, 80 Udimore Road, Rye, Sussex, TN31 7DY

29-30 April
AIA Ironbridge Weekend. Held at the Ironbridge Institute, Coalbrookdale on the theme of brewing. Full details available later.

6 May
IHS Excursion to Akroydon. For details see below

20 May
EMIAC 71 Good Evans! Darley Abbey and its Mills. 71st East Midlands IA Conference on the theme of the Evans Cotton Mills, their technology and development of the surrounding community. Held at the Darley Abbey Village Hall, Cost £14. For details and booking contact Mark Sissons, 1 Far Coton, Market Bosworth, CV13 0PJ

The remaining lectures in the Winter Lecture Programme of the South Yorkshire Industrial History Society are given below.

Sheffield

Lectures held at Kelham Island Museum commencing at 7.30pm with a minimum charge of £1 for non SYIHS members, except for the 21 March event.

20 February
Emerson Bainbridge of Sheffield, mining engineer and chairman of the Lancashire, Derbyshire & East Coast Railway – David Wilmot

21 March
Stay Bright in Sheffield: a short history of stainless steels and Sheffield’s contribution to their development – Dr David Dulieu. The 15th Dr Kenneth Barraclough Memorial Lecture held at the Holiday Inn, Royal Victoria Hotel, Sheffield. 5.30 for 6pm

10 April
Surgical Instruments in the Hawley Collection – Adrian Padfield

15 May
The Upper Don Walk and the Brooklyn Bridge Project – Robin Fielder & Dr Alan Wood


Barnsley

27 February
Pit Voices: Barnsley miners remember – Brian Elliott. Joseph Bramah Lecture held at The Cooper Gallery, Church Street, Barnsley. 7pm

3 April
Barnsley: centre of the railway universe – Peter Rodgers. Lecture held at the Central Library, Barnsley. 7pm


Rotherham

18 March
Memories of the South Yorkshire Navigation – Graham Hague. Lecture held at Rotherham Central Library & arts Centre. 10.30am

Future dates for Railway Ramblers walks are given below. For more details and joining instructions please contact Jane Ellis ? 0113 2494644

10-12 February
Churnet Valley weekend
26 February
Denholme to Cullingworth
18 March
Goldthorpe area
21-30 April
Somerset week
6 May
Barnsley to Hall Green


INDUSTRIAL HISTORY SECTION EXCURSION TO AKROYDON
6 MAY 2006

David George has organised a section visit to the model industrial village of Akroydon near Halifax on Saturday 6 May. It is perhaps not as well known as Saltaire but there is much to see including two phases of model dwellings, All Soul’s Church, a cemetery, stables, park and memorial. The village is also close to the Bankfield Museum with its textile displays.

Meet at 1.45pm at Colonel Edward Akroyd’s statue outside All Soul’s Church which is situated on the A647 just off the North Bridge (GR 091260 OS Landranger map 104) This is in easy walking distance of Halifax town centre. Alternatively, if members would like to meet for lunch and view the impressive complex of mills at Dean Clough, again within easy walking of the town centre, we can meet in the Viaduct Gallery Café Bar at Dean Clough Mills at 12.15pm. Dean Clough Mills was once owned by the Crossley family and were famous for the production of carpets. They are now a thriving arts, business, design and education centre. There is plenty of pay and display parking on site.

Efforts are being made to secure a local guide, but if that fails, David will lead us with the help of a printed guide.

 

FOR YOUR BOOKSHELF

 

South Milford and the railways, by Christopher Rule, published by Selia Limited. 2005. 36pp. ISBN 0 907370 05 5. £3.75 (inc p&p).

This well researched work was written by Chris Rule, an IHS member. It tells the history of the of the railways around South Milford from 1824 and the formation of the Leeds & Hull Railway. The original route was surveyed by George Stephenson and Joseph Locke, though the opening of the Knottingley-Goole Canal led to a more modest line from Leeds to Selby. As the national railway system took shape in the mid-1840s, Milford Junction, the main passenger station for South Milford, became a significant interchange, important for freight handling, particularly coal from the Selby coalfield. Although many station buildings have been demolished, passenger and freight services continue on the line. The book is well illustrated, many photographs showing buildings demolished long ago. It is available from: Selia Limited, 35 Grange Grove, Canonbury, London, N1 2NP.

Robert Vickers

 

REPORTS OF VISITS, LECTURES ETC

 

Association for Industrial Archaeology Annual Conference 2005 - Derbyshire.
Held at the University of Nottingham 2-8 September2005

The 2005 conference focused on the IA of Derbyshire and was hosted by the Derbyshire Archaeological Society, though due to a lack of suitable accommodation in Derbyshire we were housed on the campus of the University of Nottingham! There was a good turnout from the Section and on the whole the weather was kind. I attended from Friday evening until Tuesday. The conference was preceded by a day seminar examining IA in the National Parks and David George provided a separate report on this seminar for the previous newsletter.

The conference followed the familiar pattern of lectures and field visits, commencing on the Friday evening with the traditional overview of the IA of Derbyshire given by Ian Mitchell of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society. Ian first considered the geography and geology of the county, the gritstone, limestone and coal measures all influencing the industry. His overview moved from agriculture with water and windmills onto brewing and malting. The extractive industries were then considered with large still active limestone quarries and cement works, the production of millstones; lead and barytes mining, coal mining and coal processing; brickworks, pottery manufacture and iron smelting. The textile industry is well represented in Derbyshire with silk mills in Derby, cotton mills in Cromford and lace making in Long Eaton and Ilkeston as well as the production of artificial fibres in Spondon. Derbyshire has a network of canals – the Trent & Mersey, Derby, Chesterfield, Erewash, Cromford and Peak Forest Canals together with tramways. Derby is a major railway centre and the National Tramway Museum is situated at Crich. Ian concluded his overview with examples of water, gas and electricity supplies and workers housing. An extensive, well illustrated talk which whetted our appetites for the rest of the conference.

Two members’ contributions followed, the first by Derek Brumhead on the industrial archaeology of New Mills and the second a high tech presentation on the Otago Goldfields of New Zealand by Barry Hood.

There were three lectures on Saturday morning, each looking in more depth at areas that had been touched on in Friday’s introductory talk. Mike Kaye from Derby City council spoke about the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. He gave a brief history of World Heritage sites, first adopted by UNESCO in 1972 with the UK joining in 1984. The sites must be of natural or cultural importance or a mixture of the two and are decided by the World Heritage Committee. Currently there are 812 World Heritage sites but only 33 are connected with industry or transport. 5 of these industrial sites are in the UK – Ironbridge, Blaenavon, New Lanark, Saltaire and the Derwent Valley Mills, the latter being designated in 2001. The site runs for 24km from Derby to Matlock Bath taking in Lombe’s Silk Mill in Derby, Arkwright’s mills at Cromford, the Darley Abbey Mills and Strutt’s mill at Belper. In addition there are good examples of workers’ housing at Belper, Cromford and Darley Abbey and the Cromford Canal. The site is managed by a partnership of several organisations including local councils, national bodies and local societies and a visitor guide is available.

The second talk was given by Peter Billson on Architectural Innovation in Derby Textile Mills. This focused on the Rykneld Mills complex rather than a general architectural examination. Peter Billson had extensively researched the history and development of these grade II listed mills and was in the process of writing a book on them. Rykneld Mills produced tapes and bindings including red tape for the legal profession until 1999 but were converted into housing in 2004. His talk included some mention of the fire proof construction and the various types of iron beams, but I felt the title was somewhat misleading.

After a welcome coffee break, we heard Ian Thomas, Director of the National Stone Centre talk on the Extractive Industries of Derbyshire. Again we started with the geology of the county; in some areas there was pure limestone which was used for soil enrichment and in the 18th/19th century for the developing chemical industry. Derbyshire is the biggest mineral producing county in the UK and the Tunstead limestone quarry near Buxton is the largest quarry in Europe. The Hope cement works was opened in 1929 and is still very active, extracting the limestone from a large quarry behind the works. At one time, Tarmac was operating at 60 sites in Derbyshire for road stone. There are outcrops of pure dolomite in NE Derbyshire where it is still extracted. As well as limestone, there are sandstone quarries, millstone and grindstone production and extraction of pot clay. The industry saw resurgence in the 1970s following planners insisting on refurbishment of buildings using natural stone. There is still sand and gravel extraction mostly in the Trent valley. Derbyshire produces 70% of the national output of fluospar which is used in the steel industry and barytes is still mined for use in paint pigments. The county also has substantial deposits of pottery clays, fireclay and coal, there are no coal mines left in Derbyshire but substantial remains are preserved at Pleasley Pit in the north east of the county.

Saturday afternoon saw the first of the several conference excursions. There was a choice of a visit to Swadlincote, Belper or Morley Park ironworks and the Heage Windmill. I chose the latter and the party viewed the impressive two blast furnaces of the ironworks believed to be the earliest surviving blast furnaces in the county dating from 1818 and 1825. They were large structures sitting rather forlornly in the middle of a field, the rest of the site being destroyed by later open-casting. We then toured Heage Windmill which dates from 1791, the mill has been rebuilt a number of times and has now been restored to full working order. We arrived back for the conference dinner followed by presentation of the AIA awards for publications, fieldwork and recording and students. The Field Recording Award winners gave a presentation on their work on the Thermos factory at Thetford in Norfolk and the steam engine at Wrotham Park in Hertfordshire on Sunday morning and this was followed by Keith Falconer from English Heritage giving an update on Current Developments in English Heritage. The organisation is undergoing significant restructuring with all the regional directors being replaced and fewer field surveyors being employed. The Monuments Protection Programme which has been running for 12 years is now taking up too much resource and has been replaced with a simpler approach. On a positive note, there is a greater interest in industrial sites due possibly to the influence of the current Chairman, Sir Neil Cossons.

The Association’s AGM took place next, together with the election of the Council officers, reports on current strategy and a financial report. Subscriptions will be increased from 2006 and we were reminded of significant dates in 2006 including the AIA sponsored Brunel celebrations in Bristol from 3-9 July. An interesting point was raised concerning what to do with the extensive slide collections held by members, the possibility of digitising them was suggested. Sunday morning concluded with the 2005 Rolt Memorial Lecture which was given by Dr Mike Nevell, Director of the University of Manchester’s Archaeology Unit. His lecture was entitled “Industrial Archaeology or the Archaeology of the Industrial Period? Recent Trends in Industrial Archaeology Research”. He commenced by reviewing the development of Industrial Archaeology as a discipline. The term was first used in 1955, the first overview was published in 1963 and the AIA was founded in 1973. Initially it was regarded as the archaeology of the industrial revolution concentrating on manufacturing processes; in the 1980s there was a shift to more thematic studies e.g. the series of publications on textiles mills produced by the Royal Commissions. In the 1990s the move was to a consideration of the impact of industry in society and on the landscape. Several publications were examined to illustrate these moves. Dr Nevell proposed that the current concept in IA was one of considering how Britain moved from a rural to an industrialised nation and that production, consumption and urbanisation should figure strongly in its future direction. Sunday lunch saw the completion of the main conference, but there were three afternoon trips arranged, the options being Derby railways, Long Eaton and Shardlow or Darley Abbey and Derby Mills. The choice was difficult but I attended the latter, initially visiting the complex of cotton spinning mills at Darley Abbey founded in 1783 by Walter Evans. The mills were in operation producing cotton thread as part of the J&P Coats company until 1970, but are now let to a variety of businesses. Crossing the River Derwent, we observed the workers’ housing provided by Evans together with the church and school. The coach then took us into the centre of Derby where we examined the Rykneld Mills complex, an impressive set of three, five and seven storey mills established by Thomas Bridgett from 1810 onwards. The mills were the subject of the lecture given on Saturday morning. Unfortunately we were not able to view the interiors of any of the mills which detracted somewhat from the visit.

Sunday evening’s lecture on Lead Mining in the Peak District was given by Lynn Willies from the Peak District Mines Historical Society. The Society was founded in 1959 to promote the recording and conservation of the mining heritage of the Peak District and operates a museum in Matlock Bath and a field centre at the Magpie Mine. Lynn explained that there is a lead vein every 25 miles between Castleton and Wirksworth and the first evidence of lead working occurred in the Bronze Age on Mam Tor. He looked in detail at the operation of the Magpie Mine which has features dating from the 17th century; the mine was last operated in the 1950s. He then described the processing of the lead ore using the Odin Mine at Castleton as an example with its preserved stone crushing wheel, followed by examples smelting. A good introduction to one of the field visits on Monday.

I decided to join the other visit on Monday which was to Caudwell’s Mill and the Hope Cement Works, mainly because I wanted to visit a working industrial site. We started at Caudwell’s Mill at Rowsley, a 4-storey roller flour mill built in 1874. It was converted to roller milling in 1885, with a water turbine installed in 1887 and still used to power an electric generator for the mill lighting. The Caudwell family ran the mill until 1978, and then in 1980 a Trust was formed to lease the mill from the Haddon Estate. It is now open to visitors who can see the Victorian water powered roller mill in operation and well worth a visit if you are in the area. We then had a long drive to the north of the county to the Hope Cement Works near Castleton. The works was developed in 1929 by G&T Earle in a site alongside the Sheffield to Manchester Midland Railway and adjacent to large deposits of limestone and shale. Following a series of takeovers, the works are now operated by Lafarge. After lunch in the 1950s works canteen we were kitted-out in hard hats, high visibility jackets, and eye protectors and made sure we were wearing suitable footwear, to be taken to the quarry situated behind the works. Here we saw limestone being moved by large mechanical diggers into dump trucks to be taken to the crushers, where it is crushed and reduced to 20mm sized pieces – a very impressive operation. The stone is then taken from the quarry by a series of conveyor belts to the works over a kilometre away. Back in the works it was explained how the limestone and shale are ground together and then dried in 70 metre long rotary kilns. Chipped used tyres are used together with pulverised coal and coke to heat the kilns. We were able to walk under the kilns which reach a temperature of 1,150 degree centigrade. The resulting cement can then be transported via a rail link from the works. The works produces 1.3 million tonnes of cement a year which is around 10% of the total UK output. Having driven past the distinctive preheater tower several times, it was an experience to see for myself what went on inside.

The evening was spent at the National Tramway Museum at Crich where the two parties met up and we had the Museum to ourselves, riding on the preserved trams and viewing the exhibits before having a meal in the restored pub on the site.

The field visits on Tuesday were to Cromford and Matlock or the National Stone Centre and the Cromford & High Peak Railway. I chose the latter visit which started at the National Stone Centre located between Middleton and Wirksworth. We saw several quarries within the centre and the millennium stone wall featuring 20 different types of regional dry stone walling. A coach trip took in a number of other local quarries before arriving at the Middleton Top Winding Engine on the Cromford & High Peak Railway. The railway was opened in 1831 to connect the Peak Forest Canal at Whaley Bridge with the Cromford Canal at High Peak Junction, sections survived until 1967 to serve the local limestone industry. The winding house at Middleton Top is the sole survivor of the 8 engines used to wind trucks up inclines and ran until 1963. The engine has been restored and is probably one of the oldest rotative engines still on its original site. We went on to High Peak Junction on the Cromford Canal where there is an interpretative centre relating to the railway and canal. The visit ended with a walk to the Lea Wood Pump House where we were able to examine at close hand the 1849 beam engine supplied by the Milton Ironworks at Elsecar used to pump water from the Cromford Sough into the canal. The engine was in use until 1948 and has been restored to steaming condition.

This visit marked the end of my conference but it continued until 8 September with evening lectures on Industrial Housing in the Derbyshire Coalfield by Philip Riden and the South Derbyshire Pottery Industry by Janet Spavold and field visits to North East Derbyshire, the Erewash Valley, South Derbyshire and Rolls-Royce in Derby. The Derbyshire Archaeological Society is to be congratulated on a well organised conference that was full of interest. As usual the conference produced an informative gazetteer A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Derbyshire, a copy of which is available in the YAS Library. The 2006 conference will be in the Isle of Man from 8-14 September and for the first time will be hotel based in Douglas. Details should be available from February.

Margaret Tylee

 

The Howsham Mill Project


David Cant has sent me the following information from the Renewable Heritage Trust about an interesting project and site that may be worth a future visit.

On a tiny island in the River Derwent at Howsham, North Yorkshire stands a Georgian watermill. Currently it emerges from the undergrowth like some magnificent Inca ruin – it has no roof, the waterwheel is long gone but the basic structure is still there. Howsham Mill dates back to c1755 and is attributed to John Carr of York, more famous for designing Fairfax House in York and an extension to Castle Howard stables. In 1965 a Royal Commission for Historic Monuments Inspector, James Williams, described the Mill as “…a building of the maximum historical interest as a very early example of gothic revival style” and “...of great architectural interest as it is a very rare example of the gothic revival style as applied to a functional building. I cannot find reference to a similar example e.g. watermill...”

Sadly, despite its grade II listing, years of vandalism and neglect have taken their toll and unless something is done soon to halt the decay it will rapidly become irreparable. The Howsham Mill Project has three aims:

1.Restoration of the Mill building as far as possible back to its original state externally, for use as an educational resource centre promoting renewable energy and a more sustainable way of life.
2.The reinstatement of the waterwheel will again harness the power of the river, but rather than driving millstones this time it will generate electricity. It is the Trust’s aim to make the building totally self sustaining for the 21st century using revenue from the power sales to fund future restoration and conservation work on the site.
3.Preservation of the existing natural environment including protection of peripheral cover for otters. Development of a management plan which will allow increased public access to, and ensure the future maintenance of this unspoilt area of woodland.

All of this can be achieved with the absolute minimum of visual and physical impact on the existing environment. It is definitely not the Trust’s intention to encourage large numbers of tourists to descend on such a peaceful part of the country; rather to provide improved access and facilities for local people whilst making a small contribution towards reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, from the past to create cleaner energy for the future.

Within the Mill’s walls we hope to house a permanent exhibition about renewable energy and its importance for the 21st century alongside conservation information relating to the Site of Special Scientific Interest in which the Mill stands. The location of the Mill would also lend itself perfectly to being a wild life hide. The resource centre would cater only for pre-arranged limited number groups from schools and other interested bodies who would be dropped off at Howsham Bridge and then walk the short distance to the island via the existing public footpath. Local people would also be encouraged to use the space as a Community Centre for meetings and functions.

Clearly none of this will be undertaken without full ecological surveys being carried out and permissions granted from all relevant authorities.

For more information see the website: www.rht.greenisp.org/index.htm