A mine shaft was revealed at this location during field work investigations in 2009 by The Portland Path Project, which was a Heritage Lottery Funded project concerning an early railway of the Butterley Company and the collieries it served. Following further research as part of the project, it was discovered that the shaft was sunk by the Butterley Company circa 1810. It is 2.4 metres in diameter (similar to one at Kirkby Portland Collieries), and is brick lined. The brick lining starts about 1 metre below the current ground level, which is composed of coal spoil and domestic debris associated with the former large Codnor Park Iron and Wagon Works of the Butterley Company. The shaft is water filled and appears to have a current depth of about 6.1 metres. Within the shaft there is a fixed flanged pipe, above which there is stone walling and evidence of an access door to a beam house. Records identify this beam engine house and shaft as being used for pumping out water from an associated cluster of collieries and coal seams. A thin top soil layer was brushed off to reveal the remains of the stone built engine house and possible fire house to the east. Estimated dimensions of the engine house were taken, giving a total width of about 4.3 metres and an overall external length of about 7.1 metres. The access pit in the beam house shows signs of burnt ashes in the spoil being a brown/red colour. Based on documentary evidence, the beam would have weighed 12 tons. It is possible that remains of the beam engine could have been disposed of in the shaft or buried in the spoil nearby, as there is an associated length of cast iron pipe partially buried five metres to the north of the shaft. The possible firehouse is estimated to be double the length of the engine house, although is it difficult to be precise as so much of the remains are buried by soil. Map evidence shows a chimney stack at the same end as the shaft and on the same alignment (east to west), although no remains are currently visible.
On surveying the immediate surroundings, obvious signs of associated early horse-drawn mineral railways were noted. Map evidence confirms that an extensive network of railways once existed in the area from circa 1797 onwards.
A stand-alone stone-built support wall was also discovered about 9 metres from the shaft centre and parallel to it. It is 1.83 metres long and 0.53 metres wide. It is thought to be a support wall for another beam engine, or possibly a sluice taking water from other mines to the Cromford Canal.
To the north, about 40-50 metres from the shaft, are the remains of what appear to be early Butterley brick kilns, which are also marked on Sanderson's map of 1835 [see SMR 21831].
A Butterley Company beam engine pumping house and associated shaft dateable to c. 1810 is exceptionally rare, if not unique. Following documentary research, the engine house is thought to be attributable to William Brunton of the Butterley Company, who was an engineer of some importance, appointed by William Jessop (the elder). By 1815, this engine house was one of four such built along the Western bank of the Cromford Canal, from the Eastern Portal at Golden Valley to the Langley Mill Basin at the junction of the Nottingham and Erewash Canals, and they formed the means of drainage for the coal fields in land belonging to the Marquis of Ormonde (1770 to 1820) and the Reverend Legh Hoskins Master (1754 to 1814). It is a significant site that could aid future understanding of how and when coal fields in Derbyshire were developed, and the interaction between the land owner and a large industrial company such as the Butterley Company.
See full report for more information. (1)
Unpublished document: Taylor-Cockayne, M. 2013. Butterley Company Style Beam Engine Pump House Remains Report.
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Centred SK 4448 5040 (35m by 35m)
ALDERCAR AND LANGLEY MILL, AMBER VALLEY, DERBYSHIRE
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Record last edited
Feb 3 2014 3:31PM
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