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The Grit Sett

Mining History Feature

Workings on the Grit sett at White Grit

Background

There are effectively three main mines that form the Grit Sett (mining area) - Old Grit, White Grit and East Grit - all have engine house remains.

Mining at the Grit is believed to have been carried out since Roman times, initially by trenching on outcrops of the galena veins. Nineteenth century miners concentrated their efforts where several veins intersected, sinking shafts several hundred feet deep to reach them.

Old Grit engine house - thought to have housed an early Bolton & Watt engine

Old Grit

These walls are all that remain of the engine house of 1783 which contained a 30-inch (75cm cylinder diameter) Boulton & Watt beam pumping engine. The pump rods extended to a depth of 60m in the shaft which was sunk where two veins met - Foxhole and New Britain veins (a third, Rider vein was also very close). Later, the Wood drainage level (which followed the line of New Britain vein) terminated at this shaft 60m (200ft) below the surface, although the mine was much deeper than this.

The 1860s East Grit engine house, with it's large flywheel slot

East Grit

150m to the south of Old Grit, the East Grit engine house pumped from a shaft sunk to yet another vein (Engine vein). Built in the 1860s, probably by the ubiquitous mining engineer John Taylor, it also drove a winding drum and ore dressing plant - the water it pumped from the mine was used on the dressing floor.

The remains are in better condition than Old Grit and the large size suggests the engine might have had a 40-inch (1m) diameter cylinder. It also has a flywheel slot in the wall just like the Ladywell engine house.

The 1840s White Grit engine house at the junction of Rider and Squilver veins

White Grit

Developed in the 1840s-50s on the junction of Rider and Squilver veins, by Captain Clements. The beam engine house (which survives today) was built to pump several shafts on both veins - the power to the pumps was transmitted via flat-rods.

From the mid 1860s John Taylor took over the mine, but concentrated his efforts at East Grit. By the 1870s Taylor had surrendered his lease and the Grit mines were only worked sporadically, closing completely in the early 1900s.

Remnant of the Bob platform on the 1840s White Grit engine house

Circular powder magazine on the Rider vein workings, White Grit

The beam engine house at White Grit is the most complete of the three Grit engine houses with part of the bob platform (a wooden walkway near the top of the engine house beside the beam) surviving.

Nearby on the Rider vein is the remains of a double walled circular powder magazine.

 

National Grid Reference: Old Grit SO 3272 9824, White Grit SO 3195 9797, East Grit SO 3272 9803

Key Dates:

cAD 4: Romans thought to have worked the area of the Grit mines.
1678: Land dispute, over entering old mine workings at White Grit.
c1760s: John Lawrence and partners establish the White Grit Company. Start of large scale mining on the South Shropshire orefield.
1767: Roman lead ingot ('pig') found at the Grit.
1783: 30" Boulton & Watt pumping engine installed by White Grit Co. - probably at Old Grit.
1785, June: Boulton & Watt pumping engine sold! Lawrence suspends work at the Grits in favour of other mines.
1825: The More family (ground landlords) refuse to renew Lawrences lease, mine let to Lewis & Phillips (involved with the Leigh Tunnel Drainage Co.), they form the Grit & Gravels Co to work Grit and Roman Gravels mines. Major developments take place at the Grits.
1830s: Marshy area around the Grits drained by the turnpike road, plus Wood Level reaches Old Grit opening up new areas.
c1846-8: Lewis & Phillips build White Grit engine house. Mine Manager: 'Captain' Clements.
1848: Due to falling lead prices, partnership of Lewis & Phillips wound-up.
1850s: The sett divided into seperate leases and mining expanded considerably.
1852 to 1854: East Grit worked by Readwin & Company.
1852 to 1864: White Grit worked by Lloyd, Ward & Company.
1864: John Taylor & Company take over White Grit lease, and build large engine house at East Grit for pumping, winding & dressing (a rotative beam engine - similar to Ladywell with slot for flywheel).
late 1860s: Due to poor returns from the Grit Mines and unable to lease Ladywell, Taylor abandons the lease.
1870: Grit Mines largely neglected.

 

 

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