Posts Tagged ‘mine’

Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum

June 9, 2016

I thought this museum was fantastic, even though some is outside and the day we were there was very, very rainy.

The museum is sited at the Norden station of the Swanage Railway. This has a large car park and gives scope for a grand day out. But the museum is somewhere not to miss.

The bits of tramway are just lovely. They look the part and I love this junction for hand pushed mine trucks.


That square of metal in the background is a sort of four way junction.image004In better weather we might have spent more time outside. There are good explanation boards and things to see. But it was throwing it down so we headed for the recreation of a mine head.

The ball clay that was mined had all sorts of use.


It was ideal for clay pipes but also used in products from insulators to a cleansing agent for piano key hammers.

A very child friendly model of a pit tramway. Well, it amused me!


When ready you can descend into the mine. There had been a mine here but this is pure re-creation and 100% above ground. But as you descend you’ll forget that you are well above ground level. It has the feel and atmosphere of a mine. It is dimly lit – enough to see by, but I used flash to show up mine and wife.


At the end of the mine you get to the clay face.



Having admired all there is to see you turn to the right and find yourself outside and right by the entrance to the site.

Guess what. It’s free but donations are requested with a suggestion of a pound a person. Having seen it, it is worth more – a lovely bonus for a day out on Purbeck.

The Slate Lands

October 5, 2015

On a wet and miserable August day we left Corris and promptly failed to go the way we intended. We mistakenly, but quite wonderfully, got to the slate lands around Aberllefenni.

This is a part of mid Wales where everything is made of slate.

In my part of the world we have chestnut paling fences. Here it is made of slate.


image002 High on a hill was a lonely slate mine.

Down at our level was the timekeeper’s office, complete with bell.


Also there is a sluice for managing water levels and power.


I have to say, I found this place – Aberllefenni – absolutely fascinating although it was hard to keep a camera dry!



The mine at Botallack

July 20, 2014

Botallack is close to St Just in Penwith in Cornwall. It is an amazing place and could have a family connection. My wife’s great great grandfather, William Williams was a miner and he lived in the St Just area, possibly for about ten years. He may have worked at Botallack, but there were many other mines in the area.

Botallack has an amazingly dramatic location.


The engine houses have been built on a ledge and on a sheer cliff above the sea. The prospect of building these almost beggars belief. I wonder how much a beam for an engine actually weighs. Being steam engines they’d have needed copious supplies of coal. It was as calm a day as you could wish for when we were there but the wind can howl and the sea can rage. It can be a thoroughly unfriendly place. But what a dramatic one!

A notice in the upper house gives a bit of history.


Crowns Engine Houses Botallack Mine

Worked before 1724 and closed in 1814?? Lower pumping house was built in 1830s and upper winding house ?? in 1858

Preserved 1954 by Carn Brea Mining Society with the help of many individuals and authorities as a tribute to past generations of Cornish miners.

What a great tribute!


What a great place to visit as well.

The Somerset Coal Field

November 10, 2012

Back in the 1970s, when I lived in Devizes, I made a couple of pilgrimages to the Somerset Coal Field. The last two pits at Kilmersdon and Writhlington closed in 1972/73.

Let’s take a look.

A row of miner’s cottages at Kilmersden. I imagine more senior employees got the larger end of terrace houses.

There was still coal to clear at Writhlington.

Trucks under the filling hopper at Writhlington.

But it was the end of the line for the Somerset Coalfield.

The second visit was after closure. Here’s a general view of Writhlington.

We did some working over of the spoil tips.

We were looking for fossils.

There’s some definite leaf imprints there.

And now a lonely survivor at Writhlington. His mine had closed and his work mates no longer came to the pit. He was lacking in company and was more than willing to enter a friend’s dormobile and chat up friend’s baby son. It was the colliery cat.

The Somerset Coalfield closed all but 40 years ago. It’s but a blink in terms of geological history but even so you need to be at least middle aged to have memories – like seeing the love and affection the miners had for their canaries which still went down the pit until the very end.