The Mining Heritage of the Lincolnshire Wolds
Looking at the tranquil Wolds landscape of Nettleton and Claxby it's hard to imagine that it was once the scene of heavy industry. Only 100 years ago ironstone was mined, first at Claxby and then at Nettleton.
With support from Heritage Lincolnshire a group from Nettleton and Claxby has researched the industrial history of the area and the fascinating story is now presented in a series of banners that form a touring exhibition.
The displays range from geology and the mines machinery to stories by the miners themselves, from the early days of mining with a pick and using pit horses in the tunnels, carrying the ore by aerial ropeway down to the railway sidings, the annual Social Club Gala and even the drama of underground rescue. By 1968 the mines had closed and an era had ended, whilst the photographs let you compare the ravaged land with the restored landscape of today.
Oral History voice recordings
David started in 1960 when he was 17 years old and worked for 2 years.
He started as a loco driver, then worked on the face, using pneumatic hammers, loading ore into 3 ton trucks. He remembers many of the men with whom he worked.
Derek described his memories of his father, Frank Favill, who was a driver at Nettleton Mine. He drove a route picking up workers from the surrounding villages and the Polish camp in his Commer lorry. He took the apprentices for their day-release studies in Scunthorpe and, when not driving, he prepared pit props and repaired the aerial ropeway when necessary.
John worked in the mine from 1958 to 1964. He was an apprentice electrician who spent most of his time repairing the motors and the aerial ropeway. He moved from the mine to trucking chalk from Nettleton Bottom to Scunthorpe.
John was an apprentice fitter in the mine from 1960 to 1964. His grandfather and father had also worked in the mine. John worked in the loco workshop, then the machine shop, the blacksmith's workshop and finally, maintaining the excavators for the opencast workings at Nettleton Bottom. All the apprentices went to college in Scunthorpe for day and evening classes. He described the extraction of iron ore and the chalk and sand which were worked at the site.
Kenneth worked in the mine for 8 months in 1954. He gave details of his shift 6am – 2pm 5 days a week. He described in detail how they tested the roof for safety, extracted the iron ore, the trammers who collected the full trucks and the pay they received. Lunch break was taken underground at the point where there was electric light.
(This recording was made by Alan Dennis and this is all the information Alan was able to provide). Les Wilkinson helped dismantle the mine when it when it closed.
Patrick was an apprentice fitter from 1964 – 1967. He began when he was 15 years old and was not allowed to work a full day. As soon as he could work full time he worked on the locos, going to North Lindsey College in Scunthorpe on day release. He left in 1967 to work in Melton Ross quarry, using very similar machinery.
"Ironstone Mining in the Lincolnshire Wolds"
Local heritage enthusiast Stewart Squires has completed his illustrated book that documents the relatively unknown mining history of both Nettleton and Claxby mines. The production of the book was supported by the Lincolnshire Wolds Small Grant's Scheme and also utilised the oral histories that were produced through the work of the Down Your Wold community heritage project.
The book was successfully launched at the Caistor Arts and Heritage Centre on Sunday 5th December, with over 25 volunteers attending to thank Stewart for his hard work and dedication in researching and compiling this very impressive publication.
Stewart thanked the many volunteers, local landowners, miners and their families who had all helped in the research and evidence gathering to help tell this largely untold story. The first mine opened in 1868 at Claxby, with the last workings at Nettleton finally closing in 1968; life was challenging, conditions were tough and sadly lives were lost; but many friendships clearly gained…
The book is a great legacy for the ironstone mining heritage that has helped undeniably to shape the western escarpment of the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB. The book has been published by The Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology and copies are available to purchase at Jews' Court, 2-3 Steep Hill, Lincoln. firstname.lastname@example.org