Shropshire History

Shropshire

Mining

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Mining

 

Mine Sites

Clee Hills

Coalfield

Coalbrookdale

Coalfield

Forest of Wyre

Coalfield

Lilleshall

Limestone

N Shropshire

Coalfield

N Shropshire Orefield

Shrewsbury

Coalfield

S Shropshire

Orefield

 

                    

 

Today, Shropshire seems to be a quiet agricultural area with green fields and forests. However, many of its villages and towns grew up around new mines and became wealthy as the mines prospered.  It was not only the miners who depended on the mine for their livelihood, there were the local shopkeepers, farmers, blacksmiths, carpenters, builders and especially innkeepers!  At the larger mines, there were shareholders relying on dividends and these were often retired people hoping for a bonanza to supplement their income.  The landowners received rent and royalties from the mines and many families made their wealth in this way.  Some of these were absentee landowners such as the Marquis of Bath, Duke of Sutherland and Earl of Tankerville. All drew an income from the mines and it was a catastrophe for a community when a mine closed.  In some places, the miners and their families moved elsewhere to find work and left ghost towns behind which rapidly became piles of stones. 

 

 

Although coal and iron were important minerals, Shropshire was lucky in having numerous other minerals.  Metals such as lead, copper, iron and zinc plus other materials such as clay, limestone and barite.  All of these were mined in Shropshire and helped to shape the landscape and provide wealth.  The industrial revolution could not have taken place without the mines that provided cheap raw materials. Today we have no working mines left in Shropshire, the last one was Granville Colliery that closed in 1979. A lot of information can be obtained from Census returns and data for 1841 has been extracted here.

 

To most visitors, many of the mine sites are no more than humps and bumps in the landscape.  There are some sites with visible remains, however, but many have been forgotten and left to decay.  It must be stressed that many of the mine sites are on private land and permission must be obtained before visiting them.  Remember that mine sites can still be dangerous, especially where there are ruined buildings or open entrances.  You should never climb on old buildings or machinery and never explore disused mine workings unless you are properly equipped and experienced.  Details of the mining areas and individual sites can be found by clicking on the links above.

 

There are two organisations closely involved with the history and exploration of mines in Shropshire :-

 

Shropshire Caving & Mining Club (SCMC)

 

Shropshire Mines Trust (SMT)

 

Minerals

 

A great many minerals are found in Shropshire and the following list contains the minerals that have been mined in Shropshire.

 

Barite - barium sulphate. Although the pure form is white, impurities cause it to be found in many colours.  Used as drilling mud for the North Sea oil industry, an additive to paper and for medical and chemical purposes.  The old term was barytes.

 

Calcite - calcium carbonate.  Its colouration is the same as barite.  Used as abrasive in toothpaste, pebbledash and decorative chippings.

 

Clay - found in various consistencies and colours.  Fireclay (White Clay) was used to make fire bricks that could withstand high temperatures in furnaces. Red Clay was used to make pottery, pipes and tiles.

 

Coal - found in varying qualities.  Used mainly as a fuel.

 

Copper - found as a carbonate (malachite), sulphate (azurite) or associated with iron (pyrites).  All are smelted to obtain the metal.

 

Fluorspar - calcium fluoride. Its colouration is the same as barite.  Used as a flux in smelting iron.

 

Fullers Earth - a clay based material.  Was used for de-greasing wool (fulling) and is now used by the military to combat chemical and nerve agents.

 

Iron - found as various oxides.  All are smelted to obtain the metal.

 

Lead - mainly found as a sulphide (galena).  Was used for roofing and plumbing but is now used for battery plates and radiation proofing.

 

Limestone - occurs in several colours.  Was used as building stone and in iron smelting.

 

Sandstone - occurs in several colours.  Was used as a building stone.

 

Silver - occurs with galena.  Was cupellated to obtain the metal.

 

Tar - occurs as pools which ooze from the rock.  Was used to waterproof boots.

 

Zinc - found as a sulphide (blackjack).  Was smelted to obtain the metal.

 

 

Further Information

 

Bats in Shropshire Mine

Boulton & Watt Engines in Shropshire

Children in Mines

Childrens Employment Commission 1842

Coal Mining in Shropshire

Coal Nationalisation

Colliery Closures

Colliery Rules

General View of Agriculture of Shropshire 1803

Geography of Shropshire 1919

List of Shropshire Mines 1869-1950

List of Shropshire Mines 1896

Mine Protection in Shropshire

Mineralogy of Shropshire

Miners Welfare Fund

Mining Disasters

SCMC Account 20

SCMC Account 22

SCMC Journal 1993

SCMC Journal 1994

SCMC Journal 1995

SCMC Journal 1996

SCMC Journal 1997

SCMC Library List

Shropshire Gazetteer

Shropshire Mine Database

SMT Library List