It was also said to have housed a wooden staircase to allow access to underground stables.
The Station Hotel was also built in anticipation at Moorsholm, but the railway never materialised.
The two capped shafts at Liverton are unusually close together.
The smaller diameter upcast shaft plaque reads :-
The larger downcast shaft reads
The rest of the area including the shale tips has been heavily landscaped with a couple of nearby buildings being the only clue to the once industrial site.
The footpath down Hummersea steps cuts right through the remains associated with the Alum House for the Loftus Alum Quarries.
The remains of the building are fast eroding out of the cliff and will likely be gone within a few years. The largest remaining stucture is thought to be a kiln for cementstone.
Nothing remains of the three story building with a large chimney which was photographed on the site around 1900, by 1910 it was a complete ruin with only a couple of small wall remnants left.
North Skelton mine hold a number of records. It was the last ironstone mine in Cleveland to close, having operated from the early 1870s until the 17th January 1964. It was the deepest mine in Cleveland with a 770ft shaft. It was the last in Cleveland to use a regularly use a steam winder, right up until 1951 (although Lingdale did keep one in working order as a backup until closure in 1962)
Little remains today as the site is within the current premises of Tees Components who very kindly allowed our small group to photograph the remaining buildings.
Loftus Alum works began operation in the 1650’s and ran until the 1860’s and cover roughly half a mile on a quarried shelf below the cliff. Alum is a mordant for fixing dyes to cloths.
The quarrying process has left large sandstone cliffs at the back of the quarries
The quarries themselves are still barren with little vegetation ever having returned to the slopes.
After quarrying the alum shale was burned for many months in large mounds called clamps, a process called calcining. Areas of burned red shale can be seen on the site, although its possible these are from natural fires at a later date rather than clamps.
There are the remains of several steeping pits, where the burnt alum shale would then have placed in water to dissolve the alum salts, these are rapidly nearing the cliff edge and will erode away in a few years time.
Carved stone troughs can also be found which would have transported liquids around the site.
The alum liquor would have been transferred into a tank or cistern to allow any particles to settle out, a double walled circular cistern can be still be seen protruding from the edge of the cliff.
The settled liquor would then have been transferred to the Alum House where it was concentrated by evaporation until a specific concentration was reached, said to be the point where an egg would float in it. Akali (usually kelp or urine) was then added and the alum crystals formed as the liquid cooled.
INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE WALK
Sunday 13th September
Around Grosmont and Esk Valley
Meet outside St. Matthew’s Parish Church
At 1pm for a short walk
Over Lease Rigg
Return approx. 5pm
Details will include Hagg’s mine and Esk Valley mine, description of mining methods and tour of loco sheds.
Exhibition inside the Church.
Walk led by Simon Chapman
Author of Grosmont and it’s mines.
The most substantial building on site is the Main Winding House, dated 1872. This housed a steam winding engine which wound cages in the adjacent 384ft deep downcast shaft. The roof of this building was intact until late 1994 when it finally succumbed to the elements.
The largely intact Power House originally housed an air compressor for drilling and haulage, attached to this are a small ambulance room and time office.
The impressive Schiele fanhouse building also houses the 378ft deep upcast shaft. The different coloured 8ft of bricks at the top of shaft date from its conversion to also be winding shaft as well as ventilation.
Next to the fanhouse is a Secondary Winding House, its construction suggest it was modified for hauling in the upcast shaft and may originally have been used during construction of the downcast shaft which can be seen from the window.
Numerous other ranges of mine buildings still exist, such as a saddlers shop and Provinder House used for preparation of feed for the horses.
Also a Blacksmiths and Joiners workshops.
A substation from the electrification of the site in 1909 is shown below, the base of a chimney, weighbridge, boiler pump house, horse gins and a couple of powder magazines are also hidden away within the site.
Please note that the mine site is on private land and the mine managers house approached from Skelton Ellers has been converted into a private residence so should not be visited. That said the path from Back Lane in Skelton is heavily used by dog walkers. A detailed survey of the site can be found in the excellent “Skelton Park Ironstone Mine” by Simon Chapman.