Buried in the undergrowth at the side of Cleveland Way near the cliff top at Port Mulgrave are the rusting remains of a Blackstone No.1 Digger
Blackstone & Co were based in Stamford, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom. This piece of farm machinery was a potato spinner and probably dates from the 1930s as Lister took over Blackstone & Co in 1937 to form Lister Blackstone.
Here is an intact model.
In 1859 a borehole was started at Bolkow and Vaughans’ Middlesbrough Ironworks in search of a clean water supply for use in their boilers, instead of dirty water from the Tees. By 1862 at a depth of 1200ft a bed of rock salt was discovered that was almost 100ft thick.
The Cleveland Salt Company was formed in 1887 to exploit this resource for the fledgling chemical industry, Carl Bolckow nephew of Henry was one of the first board members, fresh water was pumped down into the salt bed which it dissolved, brine was then pumped out and evaporated in large pans to drive off the water and extract the salt.
The six original pans were initially fired by waste hot gas from the Middlesbrough Ironworks blast furnaces, this was expanded to thirteen pans in 1889. In 1920 the blast furnaces were blown out and the pans had to be converted to run on coal.
A total of four wells existed in the companies’ lifetime, The original No.1 was abandoned in 1893 due to a roof fall, No.2 and No.3 from 1888 and 1893 respectively operated until around 1938 when they started to become choked. So No.4 which had been an incomplete well started in 1896 was re-started, but was not completed until 1941 due to drilling problems and the outbreak of the Second World War.
In 1945 and 1946 there were roof falls in the remaining No.4 well after which the evaporation pans were never restarted. The company wound up in 1947 having produced 879,972 ton of salt in 59 years.
Making a few calculations that suggests a volume of over 400,000 cubic meters, or 165 Olympic Swimming Pools. It’s an interesting thought that there must now remain a huge water-filled void under the area, most likely under the river and Transporter Bridge !
Today all that remains is the impressive red brick boundary wall on Vulcan Street dating from 1887. This became a listed building in 1988, however it’s not totally original as it was rebuilt from other interesting sections of the original building by the Cleveland Community Task Force, Middlesbrough Council and the Davy Corporation in 1982.
Fountains Mill was originally constructed in the 12th century by the monks of Fountains Abbey.
At various points in its life it was also a Saw Mill, Dairy and housed wartime refugees.
The mill ground corn all the way until 1927, a Gilkes turbine was installed in 1928 to produce electricity, which still operates today.
Bolckow and Vaughan created this plaque to commemorate their 670 employees who died in the Great War. It was made by C.F. Mundell and Company, Tees Joinery Works, Marsh Road, Middlesbrough.Each plaque is split up into the works or mine they originated from, zooming in on Flickr will allow you to read every name.
Middlesbrough Office, Middlesbrough Works, South Bank Works
West Auckland Colliery, Shildon Lodge Colliery, Byers Green Colliery, Newfield Colliery, Black Boy Colliery, Auckland Park Colliery
Leasingthorne Colliery, Westerton Colliery, Dean & Chapter Colliery
Newlandside Quarry, Eston Mines, North Skelton Mines, South Skelton Mines, Belmont Mines
The plaque is currently on display at Kirkleatham Museum
Trough House is currently used a shooting hut.
But aerial photographs reveal the whole are is dotted with coal workings known as High Moor Colliery, and it may have originally related to those.
The stone over the door carries the date 1801