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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 259
Date assigned Sunday, February 24, 1980
Date last amended Monday, December 8, 1997


REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The Meerbrook sough portal represents the rare survival of a well preserved, dated outlet for one of Derbyshire's best documented soughs. Soughs were an important feature of the Derbyshire lead mines and the Meerbrook sough portal reflects many of the technological difficulties confronted by lead miners in the fields of drainage, cutting and ventilation. The massive quantities of water which still discharge from it indicate the scale of drainage problems which early mining engineers faced. In addition, the sough illustrates the long term planning strategies of mine proprietors and the high level of investment which they thought worthwhile to secure the drainage of mines. It will thus provide technological information for the study of drainage technology and for organisational skills employed during the early 19th century by owners of lead mines. DETAILS The monument lies 1.5km north east of the town of Wirksworth, south of the railway track. It includes the intact dated portal of a sough or drainage tunnel. This is the outlet for one of the best known soughs to serve the Derbyshire lead mining field. Begun in 1772, its construction was affected by technological difficulties, such as problems of ventilation during excavation. Progress was extremely slow despite large initial investments and the cutting of the main sough ceased in 1813, but was resumed from 1841. The portal survives as a well preserved and wide-arched entrance, 3m wide and 2m high. The keystone bears the legend `F.H.1772'. The initials are those of Francis Hurst, the sough proprietor at the time. The sough continues to discharge around 17 million gallons of water a day. A water supply station was set up in 1902 to draw off water from the sough, and this later water management resulted in the installation of sluices and other modifications around the portal, to adapt the sough mouth for water storage. These additions represent the changing function and technology of the sough and are thus included in the scheduling. All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1980. Scheduling Notification: Meerbrook sough portal 380m south west of Leashaw Farm. List entry no. 1017652. SM Cat. No. 259.



Grid reference Centred SK 3267 5524 (13m by 13m)
Map sheet SK35NW

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Oct 11 2013 4:17PM

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