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As a member of the Lacock Positive Camera Club

why not have a look at some of the members work

Visit

http://www.flickr.com/groups/lacockpositive/

and why not come along and join us.


 

Click on the Kingsdown Memories to also have a look at a selection of

 photographs of some of my favourite places and things.

 


BATHSTONE

A concise look at the

 HISTORY OF BATHSTONE QUARRYING

AND THE OLD QUARRIES AROUND BATH AND 

WEST WILTSHIRE

"There is no stone that differs so much in it's bed, after it has been wrought and exposed to the air as the Bath freestone. While it is in the ground, it is soft, moist, yellowish, and almost crumbly and it seems very little more than congealed sand and that not well concreted together. But when it has been some time exposed to the air and is thoroughly dried, it becomes, white, hard, firm and an excellent stone."

E. OWEN.  1754.


My new book will be out very soon

order on Amazon

Bath Stone Quarries

by Derek Hawkins

 

Hardback with dust jacket
224 pages, 250mm x 250mm
ISBN: 978 0 9564405 4 9
Price: 24.99 post free to UK mainland addresses
Publication date: 21 November 2011

Video at

http://youtu.be/00aC-eYpR7U



INTRODUCTION

The City of Bath is famous world wide for its Roman remains and Georgian architecture. Most of the buildings of Bath all have one thing in common, they are all built of Bath Stone. This stone has been used world wide, but the story of the quarrymen that toiled for long, dark, arduous hours underground has seldom been told. Only a handful of short -run books have been written about what was one of this areas largest industries, and most of these are now unavailable. It is my aim to provide people with a concise history of this industry that has now been in operation for 2000 years.

I first went underground nearly 40 years ago with my friends, and was amazed at the size of the workings, and with further exploration we found more and more of these disused quarries. After becoming interested in photography, I began to record the workings and learn more about the history of the quarries. In 1982 I joined a friend who had just helped to set up the Bath Stone Co. at Hayeswood Quarry, Limpley Stoke. After a few years I went and worked for Bath and Portland at Monks Park Quarry, but in 1986 I moved to help Nick McCamley open Monkton Farleigh Mine as a Museum, but thanks to the greedy, short sighted owners we had to close this in 1990. Three months after the closure I moved to my present job as a Quarry Safety Officer for the Ministry Quarries, now looking after Tunnel, Spring and what was until 2005 the top secret government bunker.

I have not gone into great detail in this first site, but hopefully in the near future, with the help of others, we will be able to provide a full history and database for you. Anyone with pictures, information, comments, or who are just interested, please e-mail me, I would be glad to here from you, but please no silly things like spacecraft or conspiracy by the government. If this is your interest then look elsewhere, as people who know nothing about the workings have plenty of silly rumours for you, because one day these people are going to be very disappointed.


This site is laid out in six parts plus photographs, and in one of these I have compiled a list of quarries, some of these are accessible, but unless you know what you are doing, KEEP OUT, as the quarries can be very dangerous in places. 

If you do want to go down then the best way is to join a caving club or other recognized club that can gain access, also go prepared with the correct equipment and decent lamps.

Only venture underground with the correct equipment!

Not only are parts collapsing; workings such as Box are vast with over ten miles of walkable passage. A couple of years ago we, ' The Mendip Rescue Organization', were called out to find some people that had entered with a box of matches, they had told no one, and had to sit in total darkness for 36 hours until they were missed. They were found quickly as they were only a quarter of a mile from where they had entered. Remember if you do go underground, take only photographs, leave only footprints, and leave the bats alone. In some of the quarries there are tools and cranes, don't remove the tools, leave them for someone else to see, and don't get the temptation to try the cranes or you might end up under one. The tools in the photograph are from a collection at work that has been passed down over many years.

One other point of interest is the use of the word Mine; a lot of people now call the workings 'mines', but technically these are where you get minerals from, whether it be underground or opencast. Building stone has been won from Quarries whether surface or underground since roman times, also the old quarrymen do not like to be referred to as miners.


ADVICE ON BATS.

ACCESS IS BECOMING A PROBLEM AT SOME SITES,

BE RESPONSIBLE, 

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DISTURB ANY BAT, 

KEEP WELL AWAY FROM ANY AREA THAT BATS ARE IN, 

ESPECIALLY DURING HIBERNATION (NOV-APRIL) AND BREEDING (JUNE-SEPTEMBER), 

SOME QUARRIES MIGHT BECOME RESTRICTED DURING THE ABOVE PERIODS SO IF GATED THEN GET A KEY FROM A LOCAL CAVING CLUB.

IF YOU DO FIND A DEAD BAT THEN MAKE A NOTE OF ITS LOCATION, 

REMOVE RING IF IT HAS ONE AND HAND IN TO THE LOCAL WILDLIFE SOCIETY.

REMEMBER LEAVE BATS ALONE, IT IS ILLEGAL TO TOUCH OR DISTURB ANY BAT !

 Please don't disturb the bats

for Farleigh the following applies

Although at the time of update 01/09/08 access is getting more restricted due to health and safety concerns

 

Winter Access Conditions

  1. No parties with numbers greater than ten persons to enter the mine.

  2. Frequency of visits to be limited to a maximum of every two weeks per group/club.

  3. Access to be avoided at times when outside air temperature is 3 degrees centigrade or less. Air temperature is an important factor in how well disturbed bats fair if awakened from hibernation. Basically the colder it is, the worse it is for the bat/s concerned, particularly if temperatures are approaching freezing point.

  4. Areas with greatest concentrations of bats to be completely avoided at all times.

  5. AWT to have access to visitor information and to be kept informed of frequency of visits and numbers involved.

  6. Gates to be locked immediately after entry. This will prevent people who may possibly enter the mine afterwards, should a gate be left unlocked, from accidentally being locked in.

  7. All persons entering the mine to be appropriately equipped for underground conditions with protective clothing in compliance with caving clubs health and safety guidelines.

 

Summer (mid April - mid October) Access Conditions

 1. The Trust must be informed of any keys issued by caving clubs.

 2. The Trust would like to have access to visitor information and be kept informed of frequency of visits and numbers involved.


Contact me at derek@stonequarries MISS OUT THIS BIT .freeserve.co.uk

Thanks are due to Paul De'Ath for his help with the names of the quarries, especially the Combe Down ones, and to Andy Mathews for flying me over Bath. A big thanks also to Cliff, Pru, Spike and Gary, all members of the Easily Led Club, for their help over the years.


CHOOSE A PAGE FROM BELOW

GEOLOGY

HISTORY

WORKING METHODS

LOCATIONS

FACTS

PHOTOGRAPHS

All pages copyright of D. Hawkins. 2008


Click on the link below to visit the

Mining History Network homepage

 http://www.projects.ex.ac.uk/mhn/welcome.html

Links Page

http://www.projects.ex.ac.uk/mhn/www.html

If you wish to have a go at carving Bathstone then visit

www.carve-stone.co.uk