Posts Tagged ‘industrial archaeology’

A walk in St Agnes

April 10, 2016

St Agnes is in Cornwall and my wife had ancestors from that area. It’[s a mining area and the ancestors were all mining families. Back in 2014 we took a stroll in the St Agnes area – notably a path known as the Rock Road.

Let’s start at Trevaunance Cove and head upwards from there.


Mine engine houses are very much the order of the day in this part of the world.

image004We had gone up quite a way from Trevaunance Cove.

image006We were in amongst the relics of the old mining industry.


image010More mine engine houses.



Most of the engine houses remain as gaunt ruins – a reminder of a time past. Some have been converted into dwellings.

image014Taking this walk really was walking through family history. We do not know where in the parish of St Agnes ancestors lived or where they worked – there are dozens of possibilities, but they must have walked this or similar paths to get to work. Some area might remain recognisable to the folks from 150 or more years ago.


A tub boat at Blists Hill

November 17, 2015

Tub boats were small barges that could carry goods into difficult terrain. Obviously, they floated along tub boat canals – particularly in Shropshire, but where a hill was in the way, the boats were floated into rail borne cradles and hauled up.

Blists Hill is in the Ironbridge Gorge area and is a large open air museum. It has the Hay inclined plane – the tub boat railway that lifted the boats more than 200 feet from roughly River Severn level and it also has tub boats.

I was there in 1972 when the museum was in its glorious infancy. There were traces of rail visible on the inclined plane.


I think that’s me standing a bit up the slope so my wife must have had the old Canon Demi camera at that time.

I believe that trackway is now fully restored and railed. No doubt it makes more sense in restored order but somehow it lacks that pioneering look.

Up at the top the tub boat would have been re-floated in the canal for more of its journey, delivering coal to local factories. This was the scene back in 1972.


The very rectangular vessel in front is an old wrought iron tub boat.

Happy memories!

The Galena Glint

June 28, 2015

On our recent trip to the north we came upon, quite by chance, the Weardale Lead Mining Museum. We were encouraged to have a go at breaking stone which might contain ore and then taking any we found. The lead ore is called Galena and it glints in the sunshine.


So there is my little bit of lead ore – galena. The whole stone is about a centimetre long. It has a lot of galena in it  but its that very bright area at the bottom left which shows it best. The white stripe is (I think) calcite.

Extracting the lead, which once had so many uses, was a lengthy process of breaking and pulverising and then smelting.

Maybe we’ll take a look at some of this at that Weardale museum at some point in the future.