Author Topic: Miners in Speedwell/Peak/JH.  (Read 4041 times)

Offline Mrs Trellis

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Miners in Speedwell/Peak/JH.
« on: December 14, 2004, 08:40:17 am »
Morning chaps and chapesses.

Been doing some caving, walking, and thinking.

1.) Surely the miners didn't descend Leviathan?

2.) Surely the miners didn't ascend Block Hall?

2.) Where did they enter Stemple Highway from?

3.) Recent update of Caves of Castleton  :worthy: shows a lot of mining activity beyond Pilkington's Cavern. Did they enter via here? If so - should we be investigating the Longcliffe Mine & Pot area? Standing on the top (concreted) entrance of Old Tor mine there is an obvious shaft top on the opposite (S) side of the Winnats by the roadside which is not obvious from the road as it is above head height at the roadside. Also there is that blocked entrance opposite Suicide - can we do no work here because it's NT property?

4.) The sough on the W side of Peak Cavern gorge just by the toilet - which mines does that drain? Are the entrances known? Why is there so little documentary evidence on mining operations in the area when all the families still live in the village? I'm not prying - I find the area fascinating that's all.
Mrs Trellis
Upper Sheeps Bottom
North Wales

Offline mudmonkey

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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2004, 09:47:22 am »
I am no expert, and am merely regurgitating the thoughts of others here - though they do tie up with what I've seen...

The miners did drop Leviathan. There's a few relics in the tearoom halfway down, stemples across the pitch at that level (tree-trunks!!) - it's suggested they built a deck there to sort ore, throwing tailings down the pitch

JH to FSE was dug largely through lead tailings - that's what makes the floor of Leviathan - washed in  by the stream from the resulting spoil-heap.

During the dig from JH to Stemple Highway, stemples notches (stemples? not quite sure) and (IIRC) a trolley were found buried in the tailings. The Old Man got in that way. It may be that the passage we use was only flooded completely because of the changes in the floor, or that the stream was diverted to allow exploration for lead ore. I think it's still there - when the diggers/divers first got to Salmon's Cavern, there was a single set of clog prints going across the sand floor, to a scrape on the wall to look for ore - and then they turn around and go back - the last visit for a few hundred years...

The amount these guys achieved is phenomenal!

This also all makes sense when you think that there are stemple notches in places along the side of the Speedwell Streamway - a much easier way of getting ore out than hauling it all up JH....

As to the rest of your questions -  I know nothing!

Online SamT

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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2004, 06:43:23 pm »
I think I agree with mud monkey.

The miners probably descended leviathan which they probably discovered from JH. it was then that they probably hatched the plan to drive speedwell level - not as an expensive trial as is oft told on the tour - but as a deliberate act so that they could float out the lead instead of hauling it.

The 'plumbtre' article in the PDHMS bulletins (vol 11 number 6) winter 92) make very good reading and kind of bring it all together.

Looks like they also mined into the far sump extensions (stemple highway) from the bottom of Leviathan - the route that moose reopened up.

As for the sough I think its called 'slop moll'- I think it may be connected to russet well and actutally be the resurgence for the speedwell water. if it is a sough then my guess would be rakes around cowlow nick - the gully that can be seen to the left of winnats. just a guess though.

Offline Cave_Troll

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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2004, 06:56:25 pm »
if they wanted to float the ore out why does the passageway have stemple notches above the water level?

Does anyone have a rought date for the mines we're talking about?

Online SamT

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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2004, 07:24:47 pm »
that section of passage lies above i.e is higher than the flooded part with the boats - I reckon they had floor boarded most of that section of passage so that they could wheel the lead in carts down to a landing - transfer the lead to the boats and float it out.

the flooding of the level was completely deliberate - which is not what they say on the tour (or didnt used to). An outstanding example of the accuracy in their surveying skills. (see water icicle also)

Offline Mrs Trellis

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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2004, 10:05:42 am »
Thanks to you all for your contributions.

The surveying involved in driving the canal and then turning at the end to hit the streamway is vastly underestimated by non-cavers and non-miners.

I'm sure they were influenced by the success of Wormhill born Brindley's Bridgewater Canal of 1761.

Is the Plumbtre article available on line?
Mrs Trellis
Upper Sheeps Bottom
North Wales

Online danthecavingman

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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2005, 03:28:42 pm »
Speedwell / JH was mined out about 1770. The Speedwell level was commenced in 1774. As far as I can recall Brindley was responsible for the Speedwell level. One interesting fact that not many people pick up on - why go to all the trouble of the level only to have it end at a 70' shaft and 105 steps??? The reason for this is that the landowner wouldn't give permission for the level to exit where it was originally intended - somewhere down the slope between the toilets and the Mam Tor road.
The stream was definitely boarded out from boulder piles as far as the whirlpool which is where the boats were loaded. Another interesting thing to note in the Far Canal is that a lot of the shotholes are driven from "the wrong way". A clear indication that the miners knew exactly what they were up to. I don't have time to go into the details here but Speedwell was an amazing feat of underground surveying for its time. I was a guide there for 6 years and I used to tell the truest story I could. I think the idea that it was driven in a blind hope has now gone out of the window.
The streamway was originally found via Pilkingtons series by the way - in low water in the summer you can see where Pilkingtons would have connected to the streamway - there is a small boulder filled passage just below water level on the right hand side just upstream from pit props.

Dan.
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Online danthecavingman

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« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2005, 03:56:14 pm »
Mrs Trellis!
There is a small sough in the Gorge opposite Slop Moll. That takes water from the small vein that runs west out beyond the last houses up Goosehill. I think the vein is called the Tankersley Vein. There are at least two shafts visible if you walk up to the back of Goosehill. Wall Shaft is (strangely enough) just over the wall on the right about 50yards from the gate. Field shaft is a little further on in (strangely enough) in the field behind Goosehill Hall. The level was originally intended to be driven as a sough to unwater the Longcliffe mines but was abandoned.
Hope this helps.

Dan.
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Offline cavermark

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« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2005, 12:12:16 am »
Quote
diggers/divers first got to Salmon's Cavern, there was a single set of clog prints going across the sand floor, to a scrape on the wall to look for ore - and then they turn around and go back - the last visit for a few hundred years...


At the far end of salmons cavern on the left i taped off a clog print a few years ago.

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« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2005, 12:47:51 pm »
Quote from: "danthecavingman"
Another interesting thing to note in the Far Canal is that a lot of the shotholes are driven from "the wrong way". A clear indication that the miners knew exactly what they were up to.

Sorry - I'm not a mine historian - but does this mean that they were driving the tunel from both ends (to meet in the middle) :?:

Online danthecavingman

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« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2005, 01:14:54 pm »
Yes!
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Offline Cave_Troll

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« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2005, 02:36:03 pm »
not nesecerily. I've been down some blind passages with the shot holes pointing backwards.
they could have driven a small pilot tunnel and enlarged it backwards