Mining Geology Of The North York Moors – Friday 3rd February

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Mining Geology Of The North York Moors By Dr Steve Liverast
Local Jurassic rocks include Ironstone, Coal, Cement, Jet, Building Stone and Alum
Find out about the formation and resulting mining of these ores
Friday 3rd February at 7pm
St. Matthew’s Church, Grosmont
Donation of £3 includes refreshments

We are very fortunate to have a superb sequence of rocks across the North York Moors. They helped pioneering geologists define the early framework of the science and continue to be used to train the next generations. However the rocks have also been exploited throughout human history to build prosperity and develop the region. The Jurassic section spans some 50 million years of deposit and contains a large variety of ore minerals including ironstone, coal, cement, jet, building stone and alum. Each ore required unique environmental conditions for its formation and the talk will outline what these were and illustrate the resulting mining activity used in extraction.

The photo shows Cleveland Ironstone seams and infilled mine adits near Staithes

Fossils and Fortunes at Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum

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Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum in Skinningrove is holding a heritage day event ‘Fossils and Fortunes’ at the Museum on Saturday 6th July 2013. Talks will include Ages Past, Plant Fossils at Marske Quarry, Alum Folk, Ironstone, Maps and Museums- William Smith, the Rotunda Museum and the Geology of the Yorkshire Coast and Protecting your Earth Heritage. Speakers include locally based specialists including Denis Golding of TVRIGS, Mike Windle (NE Yorkshire Geology Trust), Will Watts (Scarborough Museums Trust), John Waring (TVRIGS), Peter Appleton (Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum) and Andy Cooper (TVRIGS). All welcome, but spaces limited booking required.
No formal charge, donations will be invited from the audience.
To book or for further information please contact Jean Banwell to book on 01287 642877 or by email jean@ironstonemuseum.co.uk . Sandwich lunches can be ordered in advance.

Whitaker Brick Company, Ravenscar

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This brickworks was setup in 1900 to provide bricks for the nearby Ravenscar development that never materialised, it is located inside an old Alum quarry.

The remains of the single large Hoffman Kiln are still to be found on the site.
Ravenscar Brick Works
Although heavily overgrown the outer doors can still be identified
Ravenscar Brick Works
Ravenscar Brick Works
Despite the failure of Ravenscar, the brickworks was next to the railway and found work supplying bricks to Scarbrorough until the 1930s. The chinmeys on the site remained in place until demolition in the 1960s.
A bridge nearby still stands that carried the abanboned Whitby to Scarborough line
Ravenscar Brick Works

Saltburn Alum Works

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Very little information exists on the Saltburn Alum works which operated 1670-1695 and 1765-1775.
Saltburn Alum Works
The semi-circular sandstone structure with a water-tight clay lining that is currently eroding out of the cliff strongly resembles a cistern for alum liquor such as those seen at well known alum working sites such as Boulby and Loftus.
Boulby Alum Works CisternLoftus Alum Quarry

Much timber and brickwork is also present, suggesting there was a building adjacent and perhaps even steeping pits.
Saltburn Alum Works
Saltburn Alum Works

The site is gradually being destroyed by erosion as a central wooden post was originally visible in the cistern.

Update 2013 : Sadly the remains of the stone cistern were completely destroyed by the storm surge on 5th December 2013 (photo by Simon Chapman)

19.12.2013.

Black Nab Alum Quarry – Saltwick Bay

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Little remains of Black Nab itself which will be completely lost to the sea at some point.
Black Nab - Saltwick Bay
The site below the cliffs is now heavily eroded and covered but its location can be seen on the first edition OS maps.

The most promenant remains are those of a harbour / breakwater below the actual quarry site, the quarry is thought to have been in use between 1649 and 1791.
Breakwater Saltwick Bay
The highlight is a 1766 datestone which has somehow survived nearly 250 years on the beach.

1766 Datestone Saltwick Bay
In the cliff at this location are the ‘Smugglers Holes’ its not really clear whether these actually relate to smuggling, the alum works or possibly jet mining (although my local expert on that tells me they are in the wrong strata)
Saltwick Bay
Saltwick Bay

Saltwick Bay Alum House

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The remains of the alum house can be found at the edge of the beach and are being rapidly lost to erosion, what can be seen now is just the back wall of the structure.
Saltwick Bay Alum House
Saltwick Bay Alum House
Saltwick Bay Alum House
Some remains still exist under the beach itself which were excavated by the Scarborough Archaeological and Historical Society. A circular stone cistern also remains just in front of the wall but I don’t have a photo as some holiday makers were using it as a seat at the time.