TRAVEL NORTH - 40: Guisborough Circular, Part 3: Mines and Lines

Crossroads of East Cleveland...

Aerial view of Guisborough Station and part of the town around Westgate. The market town still is at the heart of a network of roads that lead to Whitby, Middlesbrough, Saltburn, Stokesley and Redcar
Aerial view of Guisborough Station and part of the town around Westgate. The market town still is at the heart of a network of roads that lead to Whitby, Middlesbrough, Saltburn, Stokesley and Redcar | Source
The network of the Chaloner Mine tramways and railway links to the Cleveland Railway around Tocketts and north-west Guisborough
The network of the Chaloner Mine tramways and railway links to the Cleveland Railway around Tocketts and north-west Guisborough | Source

Mines and Tramways connected to the M&GR and CR

Let's take a closer look at the reason why these lines were here in the first place. Ironstone, the means to an end, could be found in copious quantities in the locality of Guisborough - as also further afield at Eston, Skinningrove, Rosedale, Eskdale and so on.

There are visible signs at ground level here, there and everywhere if you know what to look for and where to look. There are also subterranean signs, but to see these you would need to get in touch with an industrial archaeological group. One such organisation if you'd like to see what there is available, is The Cleveland Industrial Archaeology Society, www.teesarchaeology.com/partners/CIAS/CIAS.html

Some properties and lands are in private hands, and these people may be able to help you locate areas of public access before you wear yourself out looking on difficult terrain. I have added Ordnance Survey references for you to at least find them on the map before you start your hunt. To business then:

Chaloner Mine (NZ 603175) had two 56' shafts plus drifts and quarry workings. The main seam was between twelve and thirteen feet in thickness, varying to the east to sixteen feet in outcrops, thinning in the east to six feet. The royalty for this mine was taken up by Bolckow Vaughan between 1853 and 1929, thereafter by Dorman Long until 1939. Although Bolckow Vaughan had signed the lease for the Chaloner Royalty in 11th October 1853 they did not begin working it until 1869. The price then was 4d (four pence) per ton of 22.5 cwt (hundredweight) and the lease was for 70 years. The Chaloner pits had been sunk in 1872, the first output of 1,947 tons being extracted in mid-November, 1872.

In 1873 cottages were built for mine workers' families at Mount Pleasant on Wilton Lane. At the time the lease was renewed in 1923 it included twenty-four dwellings in a row at right-angles to the lane and a further thirty dwellings and ancillary buildings on nearby Bolckow Street, Guisborough The new rate per 20 cwt ton was by then 9d. By the end of operations here the mine was ventilated by a Scirocco Fan. Around thirty horses - Clydesdales, no less - were stabled nearby at ground level for hauling the product from the drifts (in the same way as nearby Eston).

The mine was initially linked by the private Chaloner branch to the M&GR near Low Cross Farm, Pinchinthorpe. Underground tramways linked up with the Upsall Mine above Eston, so that by 1897 the stone could be taken inbye to Upsall Mine. It was then worked forward to the Trustee Drift entrance above Eston. In 1883 the output for the mine was 457,366 tons. The extraction of ironstone was by 'bord and pillar', the 'bords' being the horizontal passages between the pillars that were worked progressively. When pillar extraction rendered the underground waggonway unusable, a narrow-gauge surface tramway was laid in around the base of the northern escarpment to reach New Bank Top by 1915. Three stationary electric haulage engines of 300hp lowered full waggons and hauled empties to the bank top. The engines were established at Moordale Beck, Wilton Bank Top and New Bank Top. Large quarries were worked to the east of Chaloner Pits and eventually these too were linked underground, reaching as far as Dunsdale to the south of Kirkleatham. At the old Kirkleatham Mine the seam was found to be of fifteen feet in thickness and the stone was of a very hard nature.

If you go down to the woods today...

Tocketts ventilation shaft
Tocketts ventilation shaft | Source
Tocketts House to the north of Guisborough
Tocketts House to the north of Guisborough | Source
Upleatham Mine north of Guisborough on the Redcar road
Upleatham Mine north of Guisborough on the Redcar road | Source

Crowell and Tocketts

Crowell Mine (NZ 586173) was operated by Bolckow Vaughan from 1865 to 1870, a single shaft 132' deep and accessing the main seam. In the Geological Survey the shaft did not reach to the main seam. A plan dated 18th October, 1893 shows the shaft as being sited .a little south of the main underground tramway that ran from Eston to Chaloner Mine. This shaft may have been an additional one bringing up ironstone from the southern boundary of the Eston Royalty. An incline - probably self-acting, i.e. four laden waggons counter-weighting four empty ones - linked this mine to the CR that ran along the base of the hill to the Normanby incline close to Flatts Lane.

Tocketts Mine (NZ 620179) was operated by J W Pease & Co. from 1871 to 1880 and had four vertical shafts that accessed the main seam. When the Royalty was leased from is uncertain, but the account book shows the first entry as dated 31st December, 1871 but it is recorded that Pease & Partners took out a lease from Admiral Thomas Chaloner to work the Tocketts stone on 19th February, 1878. The lease ran from 1st January, 1874 for thirty years at 9d a ton. The Peases laid a standard gauge railway branch from Chaloner Pit 1 mile 57 chains to the site of the shafts next to Tocketts House. This line cost £18,000 to build and its construction entailed diverting around Wilton Lane and its crossing by a 350' wooden viaduct 45' above the road and another longer viaduct 450' long, 35' high. These two temporary viaducts ran over thirteen and eighteen 25' long wooden spans respectively and the engineer for the line was E W Lyall of Darlington. The builder was R Dowson of Rothbury.

The shafts by the railway were sunk on a clay washout and no stone was found, although stone was raised through these shafts. The only stone was in a small area by the beck where the other two shafts used for ventilation were sunk. A clay drift was laid in to the beck area from the main shaft and 860 tons of stone was raised initially on 7th August, 1875. Altogether 240,219 tons of stone was found in the Pease's Chaloner Royalty, and the mine was only worked over only three years, in 1875-77. Figures released show a total of 317,539 tons but the difference is in the Upleatham stone raised through the Tocketts shafts. The last stone worked through here was 44 tons on 3rd March, 1877. The shafts were henceforth used to raise Upleatham stone ending with 1,860 tons on 13th October, 1877. The shafts by the railway have been referred to as the Clay hole.

In 1876 the company employed one hundred and sixteen miners, eighty-one of whom mined Upleatham stone. In November, 1877 the men were paid off and the mine shut down.

A nostalgic look into the past around the North Eastern's forgotten railways from early British Railways days,. You can almost smell the creosote-like mixture of burnt coal and hot oil! Atmosphere aplenty in these colour views of a region steeped in railway history, sadly almost all disappeared.

British Railways in Colour, North Eastern

Guisborough, North Riding of Yorkshire

Cod Hill (Hutton) Mines (NZ 697215)

The view across from Guisborough Forest to Roseberry Topping in the west - little remains of the ironstone workings in this area, a series of small mines such as Cod Hill, Ayton Moor and Roseberry
The view across from Guisborough Forest to Roseberry Topping in the west - little remains of the ironstone workings in this area, a series of small mines such as Cod Hill, Ayton Moor and Roseberry | Source

Working the Drifts and Quarries

J W Pease & Co. worked the drifts and quarries that exploited the 3' thick Main Seam and 1'-4" thick Pecten Seam that was separated by a band of shale and stone that was 1'-3" thick. The term Hutton Mines was an 'umbrella' for a number of smaller workings known as Cod Hill, Ayton Moor, Roseberry, Newton and Hutton Mines.

These workings were opened by the Pease company from the time the M&GR opened, and which gave an outlet for the stone. The stone was quarried intensively at the outcrop and drifts followed the stone below ground southward. First recorded output in 1853 was 6,646 tons, at best achieving a total of 314,789 tons in 1857. Total output in 1867, the last year of production, was 39,367 tons. The workings were shut down in that year, although Pease & Co held onto the leases and continued to quarry on the surface.

From the M&GR an incline took the mineral only branch up the main street of Hutton Village to the quarries atop the steep hillside. This is where the Main and Pecten Seams were worked and the stone was calcined before loading into trucks to be lowered down the incline. A second incline was built in 1860, branching off the original course at the Timber House and running to the Roseberry Mine. This part of the workings was under Little Roseberry. Between the two was Hutton Mine, at first quarried and then worked as a drift. Furnaces ventilated the mine workings underground. Inbye (underground) the Roseberry Mine became Ayton Moor Mine. It was the underground workings under Roseberry Topping that unsettled the ground, causing the landslip that gave the hill its instantly recognisable shape. The Newton Mine behind Newton-under-Roseberry produced 27,852 tons of stone in 1864, its last year of operation, although the wayleaves were paid on 36,256 tons at 22 cwt to the ton. J W Pease also leased the surface land above the mines, increasing his ownership. Nearby Hutton Hall was built as his main residence.

This is the site of the Belmont Mine to the south-east of Guisborough
This is the site of the Belmont Mine to the south-east of Guisborough | Source
One of the Belmont culverts that allowed watercourses to flow under the trackbed
One of the Belmont culverts that allowed watercourses to flow under the trackbed | Source
A group of Belmont miners poses for the camera - possibly on the last day of working
A group of Belmont miners poses for the camera - possibly on the last day of working | Source

Belmont Mines (NZ 625146)

Worked by the Weardale Iron and Coal Company, the mine to the south of Guisborough was leased on 30th November, 1853. The stone was worked at 6d per ton of 22.5 cwt, as quarries where the stone lay close to the surface and through drifts following the Main Seam into the hillside.

Several furnaces ventilated the workings here. The stone extracted from underground was calcined in open clamps near the mine to reduce the carriage weight and taken by narrow gauge waggons down the incline to Guisborough Station Yard for further shipment to furnaces at Tow Law and Tudhoe in County Durham.

The first extracted stone reported was 437 tons in May, 1855. The nearby Spa Wood Royalty was also worked from drifts that entered these quarries until the Cleveland Railway reached Slapewath. Part of the Belmont Royalty was sub-contracted to the North of England Industrial Company, that part being named the South Belmont Mine which was worked from 1861-77. The first stone extracted that was dispatched from this mine amounted to 106 tons 12 cwt of calcined stone and 221 tons 13 cwt of raw, un-processed ironstone in March, 1882.

In 1907 Bolckow Vaughan & Co re-opened the Belmont workings, putting in a new drift entrance near Hunter Hall Farm at NZ 617143. The drift climbed from the adit through shale on a steep incline to meet the main engine level a half mile inbye of the old main drift near the quarry workings. This drift became a self-acting incline with a heapstead at the foot of the incline. This was where stone was tipped into standard gauge railway wagons. A branch was laid in from the M&GR. Later a picking belt and aerial ropeway was built to dispose of extracted shale. A long stable building was built near the railway sidings. To begin with the old furnace ventilation system was utilised but in 1914 an electric Scirocco fan was installed on the hillside above the Belmont Drift. The old main drift became a water level and nearby were settling tanks for the mine water (many of the Cleveland mines had problems with flooding due to the nature of the surrounding rock layers and the character of the seams themselves. When not flooding, the reaction of the damp against rocks underground produced a green 'mist' that, after a while, created breathing problems for the miners).

The initial stone was extracted here in August 1909, the last in January, 1913 and the largest recorded daily production was 1,466 tons 4cwt on 6th January, 1913. Average weekly production in 1917 was around 4,700 tons. The Royalty was made up of leases from Chaloner, Pickering and Turton and determined on 30th September, 1932, 21st December 1929 and 30th September, 1927 respectively. No stone was extracted after Dorman Long & Co took over operating the mine in 1929 and the mine was abandoned in 1931; subsequently the site was cleared.

Spa Mine (NZ 639158) and Spawood Mine (NZ 638157)

An old culvert at Waterfall/Spawood Mine, laid in on a slope against a retaining wall, and now overgrown amid woodland to the east of Guisborough
An old culvert at Waterfall/Spawood Mine, laid in on a slope against a retaining wall, and now overgrown amid woodland to the east of Guisborough | Source
Waterfall Viaduct 1894 with sites of Spa and Spawood mines
Waterfall Viaduct 1894 with sites of Spa and Spawood mines | Source
Spawod Mine powder magazine near the stables - what if this lot had gone up and taken the stables with it?
Spawod Mine powder magazine near the stables - what if this lot had gone up and taken the stables with it? | Source

A Royalty of good quality stone was leased by Bell Brothers of Port Clarence Works (north bank of the Tees opposite Middlesbrough, accessed on foot or by car across the famous Transporter Bridge) from Lady Hewley's Trust. This working was situated between the CR and Waterfall Beck at Spawood. This Royalty abutted on the Skelton Royalty and the mine worked stone from both royalties.

Stone was extracted first in 1864 and in 1870 the mine was manned by 72 miners who produced 360 tons of stone per day between them. There were also eighteen horses, twelve of which worked the day shift. Later Gjers Mill took over the Royalty and bought twenty acres of the Skelton Royalty from a Mr Wharton' after Bell Brothers gave it up. Bell Brothers are thought to have put in the original drift as Bell Brothers' production refers to Spa Wood in connection to the old shaft.

The first stone extracted by Gjers from the Wharton Royalty was 27,321 tons in 1873. Ventilation of the mine was achieved with a furnace, a 180' deep shaft. A collapse on March 19th 1879 affected the Slapewath section of the CR's branch. A train had only just passed, closely averting a disaster and further work was hampered by the difficulty of access. The last stone was moved on 14th July, 1883, then the mine was finally abandoned on June 6th, 1904.

The lease for Spawood's workings was the same as for Belmont Mine. Chaloner Estates let a large acreage at 6d for 22.5 cwt/ton from 30th November, 1853. Stone was first extracted from Spawood in 1864 when 134 tons was brought up. As the CR had not yet opened, we have to assume Spawood's production was shipped out via Belmont's bankhead at Guisborough. The basis for this line of thought is an abandonment plan of 7th August, 1890, which shows a working headway entering the Spawood Royalty near Belmont and a line of pillars in the area. These eventually joined up with the headway from Spawood and let Guisborough miners enter Spawood at the top of Butt Lane. Later the pillars were taken away and all access was via Spawood.

After the mine was abandoned by Chaloner's Weardale Company, Sir Bernard Samuelson took over the Royalty on 1st July, 1890. The price was tied to the quote for No.3 pig iron which varied between 41/2d and 5d per ton. The stone was then transported to Samuelson's Newport Ironworks. When Samuelson's works were bought out by Dorman Long & Co. the mine also passed into their possession. The Spawood Royalty was merged with the company's Slapewath and later Aysdalegate Mine.

Stone at the north of the royalty was of average quality, where the Dogger Seam merged with a band of shale detrimental to iron processing, thus having to be extracted. A picking belt was established and the shale rubbish was tipped into the old alum works via a narrow gauge railway. After 1916 the shale was dumped into Cass Rock Quarry around a mile away from the mine by an aerial ropeway. The shale heap rose around 350' up the side of the escarpment as a result of this operation and in 1917 the mine produced 8,265 tons of shale each week.

Work ended in mid-1930 due to lack of demand and the royalty was abandoned on 31st December, 1933. As with a number of workings that produced an indifferent quality of stone Spawood had several idle periods. Closure came in October, 1877 to October, 1878; again from May, 1880 to July, 1882; November 1883 to August, 1886, soon after again at the end of August, 1886 to July, 1890. Closure came once again from 31st March, 1921 to 12th February 1923 through lack of demand. The last stone was taken out on 31st December, 1928. Output that year averaged 10,000 to 12,000 tons monthly.

Near Waterfall Viaduct ironstone seams are exposed in a narrow railway cutting. Divers mine buildings still stood in 1995, such as the boiler chimney, offices and workshops, two fan houses and a Waddle fan house. Above the mine on the eastern side was a powder magazine and stable. At Cass Rock Quarry there is more spoil and signs of the machinery that worked the aerial ropeway.

A more localised view of railways around Cleveland as they were, and as they are now. There is still something left to be seen! Take a tour through these pages, of lines no longer extant and compare them to what's on the ground today. Plenty of scenic views.

Skelton Old Shaft (NZ 638169)

A sizeable tract of good quality ironstone was leased for a 42 year period by Bell Brothers from Mr Wharton from 1st January 1858 at the price of 6d per 22.5 cwt. This shaft is reputedly the first sunk in Cleveland.

The first 61 tons of stone was brought out in November, 1861. In 1864 a drift from Spa Wood was put in and stone brought out onto the CR for transit. Average annual output was 120,000 tons taken by the CR via the Upsall tramway to Normanby Jetty and shipped across the river to the Clarence Iron Works.

In 1903 a tramway was laid in from the mine to the south-west to work a small part of Chaloner Stone near the CR by Waterfall Beck. The mine - known in the district as Ping-Pong - was only worked for a short period. Between 1918-1923 the two foot thick seam was worked by putting in drifts down from the Main Seam drift.

Skelton Park Mine (NZ 644180)

Ventilation shaft at Skelton Park Mine, north-east of Guisborough
Ventilation shaft at Skelton Park Mine, north-east of Guisborough | Source
Skelton drift entrance, showing arched stonework.
Skelton drift entrance, showing arched stonework. | Source
Skelton Co-operative Society milk token
Skelton Co-operative Society milk token | Source

A little further north another Bell Brothers' royalty leased from Mr Wharton on 1st January 1868 at 6d per 22.5 cwt. This working had a condition stipulating that only stone from existing royalties leased by them should be smelted at their Port Clarence site. The first stone brought out was 284 tons on 16th December, 1871. Later leases saw the royalty price raised to 11d per ton.

Two shafts were sunk to the Main Seam and the Skelton Mines branch was extended around the hill to the Park Pit. The stone turned out to be very hard, too hard for mining by hand and in 1878 four Walkers compressed air drills were brought in to speed up extraction. At the time two hundred miners produced 1,200 tons of stone daily. In another three years three hundred miners were employed at the site bring out 1,500 tons per day. In 1910 electrification was introduced, the unending rope and pumps were supplied by electricity but the compound two cylinder steam winder stayed. Electric drills were in use by this time and the 12' diameter Schell fan (used from 1882) was electrified.

In January 1910 the two foot thick seam began to yield 103 tons. The price for the Two Foot Seam stone was 3d per ton. The Bell Brothers mention the Two Foot Seam as either the Pecten or Lower Pecten Seam. Drills were driven through the shale into this seam where the ironstone was worked by longwall methods. In 1923 Bell Brothers became part of the Dorman Long empire. The last Two Foot seam stone was worked in March, 1925 and the seam was abandoned.on 7th August, 1925. The Main Seam was abandoned around thirteen years later.

Waterfall Mine (NZ 626172)

Waterfall Viaduct eased the passage of Cleveland ironstone in the Guisborough district to Teesside steel works. Now a listed structure (see Travel North 39)
Waterfall Viaduct eased the passage of Cleveland ironstone in the Guisborough district to Teesside steel works. Now a listed structure (see Travel North 39) | Source

At the time the Ormesby mine was being worked out a twenty-one year lease was taken out by the Cargo Fleet Iron Company to work the Waterfall Mine (NZ 626172) from 1st January, 1892.

Any stone located within an area of 450 acres at Tocketts Lythe priced at 9d per ton. The first stone brought out was 27 tons on 9th September,1893. The mine was worked wholly under clay and sand and needed heavy timber supports. The clay followed the stone to the dip and was prone to falling from the drift roof. The mine became known to those who worked in it as 'Linger and Die'. The last stone brought out was in May, 1901, by when the Cargo Fleet Iron Co. had recently installed the largest water pumps available to keep the drifts dry. They failed and the mine was abandoned.

A narrow gauge railway ran south-east from the mine, crossing Waterfall Beck on a timber bridge and terminated at sidings at the Skelton Mines branch line. Ventilation was by a furnace and altogether 265,835 tons of stone was produced at an average of 30,000 tons a year..

Slapewath Mine (NZ 646148)

Abandoned, sorry-looking Slapewath buildings stand in winter snow awaiting an uncertain future
Abandoned, sorry-looking Slapewath buildings stand in winter snow awaiting an uncertain future | Source
Ventilation shaft at Slapewath - a fairly uniform style of concrete structure around East Cleveland
Ventilation shaft at Slapewath - a fairly uniform style of concrete structure around East Cleveland | Source

Thomas Charlton & Company took out a lease on the ironstone at Hollin Hill Farm from Mr W H Thomas for thirty years from 1st January, 1864. His quoted price was 4d per 24 cwt from a ton of stone. A drift mine named the Slapewath Mine was set up that ran under the main road at the site of the village now known as Charltons Terrace (across the road from Slapewath and facing the Boosbeck road near Margrove Park).

At first the stone was good quality, but they came across a 'washout' and the stone quality deteriorated as they progressed. The workings were advancing to the dip in the seam, so a 47' deep pumping shaft sunk into the south of the drift. Charlton encountered financial problems and owed £68,000 by October 1878. In 1880 the mine and sixty-eight cottages were put up for sale, the mine taken over by the executors until the lease could be taken over by Sir Bernard Samuelson & Co on 1st January, 1880.

Charlton sank a winding shaft at the extreme end of the royalty and on completion in September, 1878 all the stone was raised through it, the drift then being only used as a way through, the pumping shaft abandoned. The shafts linked to the CR by a branch line were worked by a tank locomotive. Workings from the shafts entered the Tidkinhow Royalty.

During operation by Charlton the mine yielded about 50,000 tons of stone annually, supplied to Messrs Gjers Mills and Thomas Vaughan. Ratchet drills were used to extract the stone where it proved too hard for manual extraction. Whilst the stone was paid for by the ton, miners were paid by the cubic yard for shale worked. The surveyor measured working places daily and calculated the cubic yards worked. Shale was picked out from the trucks after the spouts and the Dogger Seam was of good enough quality to be included with the stone.

When Samuelsons took over the mine they sank a new 15' diameter ventilation shaft at the furthest end of the Royalty. Work on the shaft was begun on 26th April, 1880 and was completed in less than four months. By 1881 output at Slapewath Mine was 172,701 tons and by 1890 two hundred miners were employed here. Eventually, during Samuelsons' ownership, the royalty at slapewath was worked from the Spawood site, the stone going there inbye before being brought to the surface for shipment.

The Slapewath.working known locally as Hollins after the nearby farm was also referred to as the Tidkinhow Mine.


**Footnote: There is no set route here for one reason only. You can work out your own way around. A Tourist Information office in Guisborough will help with route finding, www.redcarclevelandcyptrust.org.uk/family.nsf/Service?readform&id;

More local information can be had from www.information-www.britain.co.uk/county40/townguide/Guisborough;

www.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk/

www.thisisguisborough.co.uk

Although each of the locations raised in these three pages (TRAVEL NORTH - 38-40) is within walking distance from east to west, a full day could be allowed or more than one trip with accommodation in the Guisborough area as a centre of operations.

For local accommodation contact www.laterooms.com, enter your destination/postcode/attraction(s), arrival date, number of nights and number of adults & children in your party,

Unless you are driving yourself, you will need train and bus information; if you are flying into the region the nearest airport is Durham Tees Valley situated between Middlesbrough and Darlington, usual car rentals available.

www.durhamteesvalleyairport.com;

www.arrivabus.co.uk/passes (also times and fares);

www.nationalrail.co.uk/ (times, fares);

www.northernrail.org/travel/timetables;

Last few words: Welcome and enjoy your travels

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2 comments

old albion profile image

old albion 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Top class as usual Alan, of great interest to a Northern Lad. Voted up and shared. Excellent.

Graham.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) Author

All right then, is that enough for you to cross the great 'divide' - aka the Pennines -? Glad you enjoyed it, Graham. If this gets an appreciative audience, it might bump up tourism in the area.

By the way there are a few of my reviews for other attractions in the area on TripAdvisor, such as the Birch Hall Inn, Whitby Pickering Railway and the Abbey.

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