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Shaft-sinking Crews at Boulby Potash

This is an image from an archive we were given access to.  It shows the shaft-sinking crews from Boulby Potash Mine who broke the European Shaft-sinking record with 400 feet in 30 days on the 4th February 1971 on the Rock Shaft. (This record was beaten again during the sinking of the Main Shaft). The names of the men (where known) are on a separate post. Phillip Smith tells us: ”My granddad James Stanley Smith worked as a steel fixer whilst the shaft was being sunk.” Steve Peirson also tells us: ”Hi! Yes you are correct I was at Boulby also at Whitemoor from 3rd March 1980 to 23rd August 1985; from start to finish. I was on no. 1 shaft and finished off no 2 shaft, they were tough days; my works number was 10. I worked with Mick Lanigan, Dennis Shepard, Eddie Catron, Mick Libby, Barry Johnson, Les and Neville Wheatley, George Cox, Jacker Porriit and the late Terry Lofthouse; Liam and Charlie Johnson and worked with many, many more good lads!” M. Cundy tells us: ”I also can remember all names listed at Whitemoor, especially Dennis Shepard the winder driver. I too started in February 1980 till the end of sinking. There were many problems least of all when water chased the working platform back up the shaft quicker than winder could winch it on No 2 Shaft. Working in Foraky frozen shaft early on was a trauma for the sinkers too I recall.” We also have a request from Gary Hayes: ”Hi all, I am looking for some information on my father (Wilf Hayes), I can remember going with him on numerous occasion (I think in the late sixties) to the Cleveland Potash Mine; he worked for a German firm called Deutag. He was from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire and so was several other crew members. If any one could give dates when this was and any other information on him and crew members would appreciate it? Many thanks.” Steve Peirson further tells us: ” Deutag did the drilling around the rock shaft in 1970 for Foraky, to freeze the ground while the shaft was being sunk. I remember it I was only twenty at the time and work for the mine construction consortium.”

Image courtesy of Alan Franks and thanks to Phillip Smith, Steve Peirson, M. Cundy, Joan Webster, Gary Hayes and Alan for the updates and memories.

Exploratory Drilling at Boulby Potash Site

I suppose it pays to be in the right spot!

Image courtesy of Alan Franks.

Early Days

Cleveland Potash rises from the green and pleasant fields near Boulby. A scan of an original print, dated October 1969. Roy Jacklin tells us: “I was living in Liverton Mines and working at Skinningrove steel works when I learned that a Potash firm was to open at Boulby. I along with workmate Ken Rawson of Loftus made enquiries and learned that Monks were to prepare the groundworks. We got a job and along with Mr Murphy?, his sons Colin and Bernard of Boosebeck and another man were the first to start work on preparing the land for developement. Because the weather was unfit to begin work immediately we spent time in a tin shelter with only a small gas ring for heating and boiling a kettle. Water from the surrounding hillside poured through the hut. We did eventually get started preparing roadways, drainage etc. I was employed as tractor driver which had a hoist (handy for lowering the large drain segments!) and assisting the Thysen mechanics liting heavy engine parts in or out of the heavy earth movers. I didn’t remain at Boulby to see the sinking of the shafts as I went to Low Worsell Pumping Station with Monks. I later learned that one of the Murphy brothers, Colin perhaps went on to be head sinker with Thysens.”

Image courtesy of Alan Franks and thanks to Roy Jacklin for the update.

More Early Days

An aerial image of the site with the ground cleared ready for construction.
Image courtesy of Alan Franks.

Just a Blip on the Horizon

You can hardly see the works, but they are here – early construction image.
Image courtesy of Alan Franks.

Blot on the Landscape?

Still very early days, but it’s beginning to take shape.
Image courtesy of A. Franks.

Later Days!

The headgear is up and so are the administration buildings, but it’s not all finished yet. Another image scanned from an official photograph, dated 1970.

Image courtesy of Alan Franks.

Getting Bigger

It’s beginning to look like the Potash now isn’t it?

Image courtesy of Alan Franks.

Boulby Landscape

I think this photograph was taken to play down the impact that Boulby Potash would have on the landscape. A lovely landscape none-the-less.
Image courtesy of Alan Franks.

What did you do for Red Nose Day?

We couldn’t resist this image – you’ve gotta hand it to these guys and girl – wearing your underpants on the outside of your trousers is way cool! Employees of Cleveland Potash doing their bit for Comic Relief!
Image courtesy of Alan M Franks.