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Grinkle Miners

Another piece of the jigsaw – this image includes the two ”trappy” lads from a previous post and the Archive originally posted this image believing it to be of miners from Loftus mine; however Simon Chapman has advised us it is the miners from Grinkle mine which was owned by Sir Mark Palmer of Grinkle Park. Interestingly it looks as if it is also part of a larger image and hopefully at some time the Archive will find the complete picture, in the mean time can anybody name any of these people?

With thanks to Simon Chapman for the correction.

Loftus Mine (1912)

A miner and his loader and a full tub of stone; overhead two shattered roof supports. The Archive’s question yet again is; does anybody know their names?

South Skelton Pit Workforce

”South Skelton Mine – 2nd December 1903” is the information this image; however Eric Johnson advises: ”Three of the men are holding carpentry tools; wood plane, large saw and  set square. The front row are sitting on a plank between two saw “horses” (benches). They maybe joiners, tub repairers etc., also on the front row some men appear to be wearing oilskins (shaft workers ??). Simon Chapman’s book ”South Skelton Mine” has a photograph contemporary with this dated 6 days after this image”. Any more information would be welcomed.

Image courtesy of Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum.

South Skelton Pit Management?

I’m guessing a bit here, but there’s a fair-cross section of society depicted, so I reckon this is the mine manager with his management team.  The man seated on the right with the walking stick has a shot cannister under his arm.  Can somebody could supply names we’d get a better picture?

Image courtesy of Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum.

“Trappy” Lads

Now known to be part of the workforce of the Boulby and Grinkle mines, Trappy Lads were present in all mines. This was the job you got when you left school in the pit villages of the North-East – these lads look about 14 – their job was to open and close the ventilation doors as the horses and tubs came through.  They’re possibly wearing ”miner’s heels” which were an attachment to the workers boots of the time – you knew you’d been kicked if you got a ding from these! – the lads are carrying Tinplate ”midges” by the look of them, they used candles in the earlier days, later carbide powered midges were used.  Part of a larger group image, which can be viewed later in the Archive.

Loftus Drill Testing

All through the life of the mines there was a constant battle to increase yield without increasing manpower.  Ironstone was won by blasting a portion of the rock face out and then loading the stone into a tub (or sett) to be taken back to the heapstead.  To place the shot the miner had to create a hole into which he could place his powder, detonator and fuse. This was the time-consuming part of the job initially carried out by hand; then by hand ratchet drill; then by either compressed air, petrol or electric drill.  This obviously posed photograph is a record of the testing of just one such drill. This picture and the other one entitled similarly are two out of a group of four pictures taken about 1900 when Whitecliffe Mine was re-opened and this compressed-air drill was tried out underground. From the earliest times the hand ‘jumper’ drill was used, in 1875 the first compressed-air powered rotary drill was invented. Loftus Mines introduced such drills in 1891 but they were big and cumbersome so this one illustrated was tested but never adopted.
Later electric drills were used in Loftus but about 1895 hand-operated rotary drills were introduced (the so-called ‘ratchet’) and eventually superseded the powered drills. Loftus Mines, however, were never as mechanised as the Dorman Long mines in Cleveland. (words by Simon Chapman).

Lingdale Mine Engine House and Brick Kiln

A good image of the engine house at Lingdale mine.  The brick-kiln (and associated brick wheel) was part of an attempt to make the mine profitable (especially during slack times).  It wasn’t particularly successful, but probably contributed enough to prevent total closure of the mine.  Lingdale mine was the deepest mine in the Cleveland system and also at the poorest yield, there being a large band of shale splitting the seam in two.  This resulted in the huge shale heap which took forever to dispose of!  Lingdale village was described as almost derelict in the late Victorian era, the difficulty of winning the stone meaning that the mine was closed more often than in production. Paul Stonehouse tells us: My Granddad worked in quite a few or the East Cleveland Ironstone mines for most of his working life from a young boy to retirement. His name was Douglas Stonehouse and he lived as a young man in Lingdale and then later in Brotton. I know from stories he told me as a young lad that he was an ‘overman’ at one of the mines and I seem to think it was Kiltonthorpe but I can’t be sure. Any information or web sites etc would be greatly appreciated.” Peter Appleton comments: “I am not sure that the statement about Lingdale being the deepest mine is true. Peter Tuffs, in his “Catalogue of Cleveland Ironstone Mines” (pub. April 1999) gives the following depths for shafts: Lingdale 628 feet; North Skelton 740 feet 6 inches.
I accept that these are only the shaft depths. It is possible that the dip slope of the seams could have taken Lingdale’s workings to a greater depth than North Skelton’s. However, North Skelton had a sizeable head start on the depth – over 100 feet.
The matter could be settled if records of depths within the workings have survived for both mines. Anyone know the answer to that?”

Many thanks to Paul Stonehouse for that update and query; also to Peter Appleton for the hard facts.


Dale House to Port Mulgrave Tunnel Entrance

An image of the unique cableless locomotives used by The Grinkle Mine of Sir Charles Mark Palmer to negotiate the low headroom in the tunnels on the route from Grinkle to Port Mulgrave. In the background is the Dale House end of the Port Mulgrave Tunnel; at the other end the wagons were transferred to the dock at Port Mulgrave using a main and tail rope system powered from an engine-house on the Port Mulgrave side. A real bit of industrial history!

More Loftus Drill Testing

Here we have another type of drill being tested and another photographic record of the event.  The backlash of this automation was that fewer men were required to produce the same (or better) yield and a lot of miners were downgraded (with loss of pay and status) to loaders/drivers or simply made unemployed. Once again does anyone know the type of drill and the name of the miner?

Last Tub of Stone Out, Loftus 1958

Men of the last shift at Loftus Mine pose with their handiwork.  The closing of the mines destabilised a lot of the local communities as people drifted away to find new jobs and eventually moved to be nearer their new place of work.

Back Row: Allan Creswick, Harold Found, Cyril Gibson (blacksmith’s striker), Walter Wilson, Bill Dawson, Don Breckon.

Front Row: Jim Tinkler, Walt Sayers (check weighman), George Adamson, Harold Ralph ‘Lal’ Gibson (blacksmith), Jim Easton (holder of the Daily Herald Award for Industrial Heroism for rescuing Jim Tinkler in an incident which witnessed the death of Jim Trousdale), Allan Readman. 

Thanks to Eric Johnson, Joanne Cooper and Cazzi Kerr for names.