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Travel North - 4: Walk the Moor - in the Footsteps of Eston Ironstone Miners

Alan's at home here, raised at the foot of the 'scarp' his interest in home territory has taken in the area's geography and history

Eston Moor - What was there long ago, that overlooked the escarpment and the lower Tees Valley?

An artist's impression of the Iron Age hill fort that dates back to 700 BC, traces of which were found near the Nab at the top of the escarpment.

An artist's impression of the Iron Age hill fort that dates back to 700 BC, traces of which were found near the Nab at the top of the escarpment.

A plan of the Iron Age Hill Fort. Seen from ground level the perimeter is well marked out with its now shallow ditch

A plan of the Iron Age Hill Fort. Seen from ground level the perimeter is well marked out with its now shallow ditch

Eston Moor with the rim of the escarpment - top - and footpaths to the old mine and cottages (Upsall Pit)

Eston Moor with the rim of the escarpment - top - and footpaths to the old mine and cottages (Upsall Pit)

A member's recent photograph of a moortop track that leads eastward to the narrow, winding lane between Wilton village and Guisborough

A member's recent photograph of a moortop track that leads eastward to the narrow, winding lane between Wilton village and Guisborough

Where Eston's history took off: mining engineer John Marley finds 'rusty gold' up behind the village of Eston (from Craig Hornby's dvd 'A Century in Stone')

In 1850 John Marley was with John Vaughan, business partner of ironmaster Henry Bolckow since 1840 (works at Witton Park, County Durham) when he kicked over an iron-bearing rock. First quarrying was above Bankfield, Eston, (later Old Bank incline)

In 1850 John Marley was with John Vaughan, business partner of ironmaster Henry Bolckow since 1840 (works at Witton Park, County Durham) when he kicked over an iron-bearing rock. First quarrying was above Bankfield, Eston, (later Old Bank incline)

John Marley and John Vaughan find an outcrop of ironstone above Lazenby Bank

John Marley and John Vaughan find an outcrop of ironstone above Lazenby Bank

A short note provided by Craig Hornby about the filming of 'A Century In Stone' (see links below near the foot of the page).

The actors in the opening scenes were Paul Chapman as John Vaughan (contacted through Spotlight:Actors Directories via his agent) and Jason Etherington of Darlington took the part of John Marley.

The sequence was shot in one day at Lazenby Bank on the original footpath taken by Vaughan and Marley in 1850. The final quarry shot was at New Row, Kildale (you can see it from the Kildale-Commondale road). The rock face was actually sandstone, but for the sake of the filming it became ironstone!

The scene below shows the opening of the Bold Venture quarry in 1850, a painting by Craig Hornby, author of 'A Century In Stone' DVD in the absence of a photographic record,

Official Opening of the 'Bold Venture' quarry in January, 1851

When PM William Ewart Gladstone came north to Middlesbrough as Trade Secretary he also visited Eston. He was duly impressed by its industry and spoke of a bright future. Eston mining ceased in 1949, almost a century on

When PM William Ewart Gladstone came north to Middlesbrough as Trade Secretary he also visited Eston. He was duly impressed by its industry and spoke of a bright future. Eston mining ceased in 1949, almost a century on

walking-the-moor

"A Century In Stone" - The DVD that tells the story of Eston's ironstone miners, where and how they lived

Watch a sometimes harrowing, often heartening story of the doughty men of Eston, their families and kin. Many of their descendants still live in the village that became a town astride the road between Marton Crossing (near where another doughty Yorkshireman, James Cook was born) and Redcar. The ironstone they brought out from several drifts and one shaft mine was processed, went to the creation of industrial Teesside and an international name for quality steel. Famous bridges produced by Dorman Long Engineering Ltd. include Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Nile bridge at Khartoum ... Oh, and one of the bay bridges of San Francisco.

That's a history that's well worth recalling ... And the circumstances of its creation


A Century In Stone

  • PANCRACK.TV
    Craig Hornby's coverage of some of Teesside's iconic stories, notably "A Century In Stone" and "Teesside Troubador", a story of Vin Garbutt's dedication to his art in folk music ... And there's more ...

Report by John Marley, 1856-1857, published 1857

A web address that proved too long for the link module,

www.aditnow.co.uk/documents/Personal-Album-859/Cleveland-Ironstone-John-Marley.pdf

This is a 52 page report made about the discovery of the Main or Thick Seam and its uses by the Iron works in the North of England - to wit, County Durham and duly also the North Riding of Yorkshire

A view that predates the station to the west of Jubilee Road

Overlooking Trustee Drift and gradient from Low Drum, Eston, late 19th Century before the station was opened in 1902 by the North Eastern Railway. Christ Church (centre background) had been built in the late 1870's, but looks newer in red brick

Overlooking Trustee Drift and gradient from Low Drum, Eston, late 19th Century before the station was opened in 1902 by the North Eastern Railway. Christ Church (centre background) had been built in the late 1870's, but looks newer in red brick

Eston's Productivity, 1858-1881, OS reference NZ 563182

The figures shown here are combined, (New Bank Drift, Old Bank Drift, Trustee Drift, Upsall Pit, Lowthers Drift, Bold Venture Quarry):

Year...... Ore in Imperial Tons ...... Value in £ nearest 000 *Gaps indicate no figures available

1858 ............. 507,265.............................. 76,089

1859 ............. 638,620 ..............................95,793

1860 ..............613,391.............................. 92,008

1861 ............. 565,285 ............................. 84,792

1862 ............. 608,420 ............................. 91,263

1863 ............. 633,206

1864 ............. 649,404

1865 ............. 685,980 ........................... 171,495

1866 ............. 710,156 ........................... 177,789

1867 ............. 665,975 ............................166,493

1868 ............. 715,248 ........................... 178,812

1869 ............. 761,594 ........................... 190,398

1870 .............. 831,787 .......................... 207,946

1871 .............. 532,821 .......................... 133,205

1872 ...................... No detailed returns

1873 .............. 705,228 .......................... 214,568

1874 .............. 569,240 .......................... 170,772

1875 ............... 571,621

1876 ............... 581,978

1877 ................592,477

1878 ............... 557,982

1879 ............... 540,749

1880 .............1,037,654

1881 ............ 1,094,200

....................16,028,121 Total tonnage extracted by 1881

Figures taken from CLEVELAND IRONSTONE MINING by John S Owen, ISBN 0 9506863 2 8, published 1986 by C Books, PO Box 11, Redcar TS10 1YS,

Owners until 1881 were Bolckow Vaughan. Dorman Long took over ownership until September, 1949 when operations ceased at remaining sites, New Bank and Lowthers. Over the time the Eston mines were in operation there were 372 fatalities, the last being Randall Brighton in 1949. Interestingly the previous fatality, Raymond Nellist was eight years earlier in 1941.

By 1949, after 99 years of extracting iron ore at the different sites - beginning with the Bold Venture working - over 60.3 million tons had been gained from this one district of the North Riding. Much of the iron ore went into Teesside's industry, and some (lucky Aussies!) going into the Sydney Harbour Bridge (for details of a trip down under see Craig's Pancrack website below, at the foot of the page)..

The view from 'Eston 'scarp' - the iconic escarpment that overlooks Teesside to the north and the Cleveland Hills to the south

The view from here - on a clear day see around the panorama of Teesside, across the Tees towards Middlesbrough, and north-west beyond to Stockton. In the other direction...

The view from here - on a clear day see around the panorama of Teesside, across the Tees towards Middlesbrough, and north-west beyond to Stockton. In the other direction...

...Teesmouth, Tees Bay and the North Sea - seen from the site of a Roman beacon and many years later a Napoleonic War era beacon tower (demolished) that made way for the present 'Nab' ... The ever-changing view north

...Teesmouth, Tees Bay and the North Sea - seen from the site of a Roman beacon and many years later a Napoleonic War era beacon tower (demolished) that made way for the present 'Nab' ... The ever-changing view north

To the south is the equally warming view to another iconic landmark, Roseberry Topping and the Cleveland Hills

To the south is the equally warming view to another iconic landmark, Roseberry Topping and the Cleveland Hills

Seen from the moortop in winter, Roseberry Topping with the Cleveland Hills beyond

Seen from the moortop in winter, Roseberry Topping with the Cleveland Hills beyond

Autumn view west from the 'Scarp'

Autumn view west from the 'Scarp'

Pen and wash drawing of the Nab towards the North Sea

Pen and wash drawing of the Nab towards the North Sea

A cottage - shack, really - was built just below the escarpment top as a family dwelling, seen here in 1910, since demolished

A cottage - shack, really - was built just below the escarpment top as a family dwelling, seen here in 1910, since demolished

No visit to the escarpment on Eston Hills would be complete without the views in any direction...

... Of the beacon tower, a simple stone design that in 1956 replaced the old watchtower built at the height of the Napoleonic War. A warning beacon was erected here during the Roman occupation to look out over the North Sea for raiders from between the Rhine delta and the Jutland peninsula (the so-called 'Saxon Shore').

Look north-west towards Stockton-on-Tees, north-east over Tees Bay and the North Sea beyond. A great place to land ships for raiding. At one stage in September, 1066 Harald Sigurdsson, 'Hardradi', came with his great fleet (over 300 vessels', it's said) and landed some in an attempt to intimidate the locals in what was termed 'blooding' raids to introduce his rawer recruits to the act of killing for profit. What they took with them no-one knows. Few had anything worth taking. The nearest church was inland at Kirkleatham near modern-day Redcar - then known as 'West Lith' or Lythe - and the settlement at 'Middilburh', the site of what in the mid -19th Century would at the time become the fastest-growing town in Europe, Middlesbrough.

Below is the iconic Eston Nab, its predecessor built at the height of the Napoleonic Wars in 1808 and demolished as an unsafe structure in 1956 to be replaced with the simple stone structure you see in the second view, seen from the north-west side.

... Or the 'Nab'

A view of the old Nab structure shows the long vertical crack in the masonry that ushered its demolition. It was still lived in at this stage

A view of the old Nab structure shows the long vertical crack in the masonry that ushered its demolition. It was still lived in at this stage

The earlier beacon tower built during the Napoleonic War in 1808, demolished in 1956 with a huge crack in its north-east wall - replaced by...

The earlier beacon tower built during the Napoleonic War in 1808, demolished in 1956 with a huge crack in its north-east wall - replaced by...

This is 'The Nab' atop the Eston escarpment that overlooks the Tees Bay, the original reason for a lookout tower and beacon from Roman to Napoleonic times

This is 'The Nab' atop the Eston escarpment that overlooks the Tees Bay, the original reason for a lookout tower and beacon from Roman to Napoleonic times

The geology under your feet, why and where mining was conducted

General geological map of Yorkshire, bordered by the Tees to the north, east by the North Sea, to the south the Humber and the Pennines in the west

General geological map of Yorkshire, bordered by the Tees to the north, east by the North Sea, to the south the Humber and the Pennines in the west

Iron ore seams are still broadly extant around hilly north-eastern Yorkshire...

... between the sea and the western edge of the Cleveland Hills overlooking Northallerton. Early bloom furnaces have left slag deposits across the area. During the mid-19th Century mining was widespread as far south as Eskdale to the west of Whitby. Although this southern moorland area is not strictly Cleveland, the umbrella term was applied to its output, as well as to that from Rosedale.

(Refer to: Cleveland Ironstone Mining by John S Owen, ISBN 0 9506863 2 8)

Over the fifteen decades that ended in January, 1964 at Skelton in East Cleveland, six distinct seams were worked to impracticability, and this was just the northern half of the district. From when the first underground workings were begun in the Grosmont area, three mining districts developed. These were 1. The Esk and Murk Esk dales centred on Grosmont, 2. Rosedale and 3. Cleveland. A grouping of this nature, based on deep dales between high moorland was more interestingly sub-divided by geological eccentricities of workable seams.

The narrow Pecten and Avicula seams were worked around Grosmont, the Top Seam level was worked around Rosedale and the Main Seam was worked altogether north of a line drawn between Swainby near Northallerton and Port Mulgrave south of Skinningrove. There were scattered local workings of other seams within these main districts, but the thicnkness and quality of seams were the determining factor in their exploitation.

Along the coast all the commercial layers but the topmost Eller Beck formation show on the surface on perpendicular high cliffs. Small scale exploitation of the outcrops was undertaken here from early in the 19th Century until demand made quarrying necessary. Around wide-spread inland districts tests were conducted for workable seams. Extension of the rail networks made exploitation easier, which in turn brought home the realisation that greater deposits were there to be had.

Jurassic

The moorlands and coastal cliffs of north-eastern Yorkshire are made up of Jurassic layers, most being formed under a succession of sea and fresh water. Thin coals also formed sometimes when the land was inundated by water. With this compacting of layers the rocks were sandwiched, made up largely of shales, sandstones and limestones with widespread iron minerals. A few thin ironstone seams or iron nodules can be found at various levels and could have been the source of early furnaces.

The Main Seam with associated Pecten, 'Two-Foot' and Avicula Seams is in the Middle Lias and the Top Seam is the base of the Inferior Oolite, the Eller Beck ironstone cropping up a little higher in the series. As they are of marine origin all six named ironstone seams vary somewhat in the way they were left behind and quality was dictated by the origins of the sediment and local conditions at the time they were laid down.

All the ironstones embody the iron-carbonate Siderite and the iron-silicate Chamosite to different degrees. Most look like mudstone or oolitic rock. In some areas partial replacement of the minute, round chamosite ooliths by other minerals like kaolinite, calcite and opal took place. A newly broken-off fragment of rock might look as if peppered with minute white dots. Broadly speaking, the ironstones of the Middle Lias might be seen as made up of a third part chamosite, a third siderite and a third non-iron content.

All the seams contain a notable quantity of phosphorus which before 1879 limited Cleveland ironstone's use. The following written comment was made on its chemical composition :

'The phosphorus content of the ironstone is mainly due to the presence of the cryptocrystalline mineral collophane, a calcium phosphate which generally also contains carbonate... The Mineral generally occurs in the form of water-worn fragments... Organic structure is rarely found in the collophane of the ironstone...'

Two major faults, the Upsall fault with a maximum downthrow of 550 feet (170m) on the south side of the Eston Hills and the Lockwood Beck fault with a maximum known easterly downthrow of 240 feet (73m) had a considerable effect on mining, as did a deep synclinal basin with North Skelton at its centre, where the Main Seam sank by 400 feet (120m) below the surface of the sea.

Main Seam

By definition the Main Seam can be seen as the most consistent in thickness and standard where commercial value dictated working. This seam turned out to be thickest. With the highest iron content of a little over an average 30% where it shows in the northernmost range of hills - Eston and Upleatham - the seam thickness reduced from 11 feet (3.4m) in the west and centre to around 8'-6" (2,6m) in the east towards the coast. To the south of the Eston-Upleatham axis the thickness of the seam narrowed considerably and the quality of the stone was relatively lower. Also to the south of Eston-Upleatham the solid seam was split vertically by an intrusive band of Dogger Ironstone (low quality stone) which gradually increases in depth and is finally replaced by a band of ferruginous shale. This shale thickens to the south, just as the ironstone band thins out, a factor not tolerated by the blast furnaces. This is a factor which saw the Grosmont mines being worked out at a much earlier stage than in their northern Cleveland neighbours. In some areas, such as Commondale, the workings were very short-lived.

The apex of the Main Seam is marked by a notable 'Sulphur Band'. A thin section of the ironstone had been offset by pyrites and care was taken not to load this mixed in with the ironstone. From 1870 a market opened for this material with regards to the manufacture of sulphuric acid. Above the sulphur band is a seam of impure ironstone, known to miners as the 'Dogger', which was worked with the Main Seam at first, then rejected by blast furnace managers. It was from then on kept as a tough and durable material for 'roofing' purposes in the drifts.

Pecten Seam

Named from the abundant 'pseudopecten aequivalvis' fossils found within it, commonly mentioned as the 'Picton Band' by Cleveland miners (after Picton on the western edge of Cleveland, south of Yarm).

It is largely of poor quality with a maximum thickness of about 5 feet (1.5m) in a small part of Eston Mines where it underlies the Main Seam and was worked with the better ore. Over much of the mining area it is separated from the Main Seam by a ferruginous mudstone known as the 'Black Hard' and although generally sampled it was thought too thin and of too poor quality to be worked.

Around Grosmont it averages around 3'-6" (1.07m) in thickness and was worked from various small mines in the Eskdale district. Analyses reveal its iron content to be at most 27% in the area locally. .

.

Ironstone - the Cleveland Klondike

Above where New Bank Drift adit was, the empty shell of an electricity substation stands guard - since the picture was taken in the 1970's the structure was demolished, leaving no trace (unless you're ready to rummage around in bracken and brambles)

Above where New Bank Drift adit was, the empty shell of an electricity substation stands guard - since the picture was taken in the 1970's the structure was demolished, leaving no trace (unless you're ready to rummage around in bracken and brambles)

New Bank Incline Top, with empty tubs drawn up by full ones downhill

New Bank Incline Top, with empty tubs drawn up by full ones downhill

The head.of the incline tramway at New Bank as it looks now. The tramway came from Lazenby Bank direction and beyond that Guisborough. The tramway was relaid Hill quarry beyond Wilton Lane, see note below

The head.of the incline tramway at New Bank as it looks now. The tramway came from Lazenby Bank direction and beyond that Guisborough. The tramway was relaid Hill quarry beyond Wilton Lane, see note below

New Bank Incline foot, looking in the opposite direction beyond the 'clip wheel (see below)  - the site is fairly overgrown now, the steep incline barely visible at ground level

New Bank Incline foot, looking in the opposite direction beyond the 'clip wheel (see below) - the site is fairly overgrown now, the steep incline barely visible at ground level

This is the cable drum at Low Drum behind the California Estate . From here wagons were lowered by the narrow gauge line under the Redcar road to the tipping yard

This is the cable drum at Low Drum behind the California Estate . From here wagons were lowered by the narrow gauge line under the Redcar road to the tipping yard

The scene now, totally transformed with the incline almost invisible from the air under a spreading canopy of trees

The scene now, totally transformed with the incline almost invisible from the air under a spreading canopy of trees

Old Bank Drift mine - an early view

Old Bank Drift mine - an early view

The site of Old Bank Drift to the west of and lower than New Bank

The site of Old Bank Drift to the west of and lower than New Bank

Eston to Bolckow Vaughan, later Cargo Fleet, Dorman Long and Lackenby works. Where the stone came from and where it went

Eston mine tramways fan out bottom right to the drifts at New Bank, Old Bank and Trustee, through which Upsall Pit's ore passed.  Old standard gauge chaldron wagons carried raw ore from the Tip Yard  Eston to the crusher at Grangetown until closure

Eston mine tramways fan out bottom right to the drifts at New Bank, Old Bank and Trustee, through which Upsall Pit's ore passed. Old standard gauge chaldron wagons carried raw ore from the Tip Yard Eston to the crusher at Grangetown until closure

The lead photograph of an article in a 1936 edition of the Yorkshire Post on Eston's mines shows wagons on the incline from Trustee Drift.

The lead photograph of an article in a 1936 edition of the Yorkshire Post on Eston's mines shows wagons on the incline from Trustee Drift.

Trustee Drift, a view of the winding engine house and drums. These wouldn't have been as hard-worked as New Bank's or Old Bank's, which were higher above the back of Eston

Trustee Drift, a view of the winding engine house and drums. These wouldn't have been as hard-worked as New Bank's or Old Bank's, which were higher above the back of Eston

The scene north from the site of the Trustee Winding house in 1964 fifteen years after closure

The scene north from the site of the Trustee Winding house in 1964 fifteen years after closure

Trustee Incline head - winding house on the left - overlooking Eston and beyond ...

Trustee Incline head - winding house on the left - overlooking Eston and beyond ...

.. Viewed uphill, Trustee Drift adit ahead and escarpment above ... How much more is in there? Dorman Long had considered the expense of extraction, weighed up the bills versus importing and opted for the latter. Ninety-nine year lease was up anyway

.. Viewed uphill, Trustee Drift adit ahead and escarpment above ... How much more is in there? Dorman Long had considered the expense of extraction, weighed up the bills versus importing and opted for the latter. Ninety-nine year lease was up anyway

The view out - last shift at Trustee, 1949, ended early. Miners went to draw their pay and that was that.

The view out - last shift at Trustee, 1949, ended early. Miners went to draw their pay and that was that.

Last shift exits Trustee Drift, 18th September, 1949, bringing out the 'Osses' that brought the laden wagons to the cable drum. This tramway joined the one from New Bank just above Low Drum

Last shift exits Trustee Drift, 18th September, 1949, bringing out the 'Osses' that brought the laden wagons to the cable drum. This tramway joined the one from New Bank just above Low Drum

Un-hitching the last tubs. Last day at Trustee, possibly last wagon loads for the incline to Low Drum. Considering it's the end of the road for their jobs, these lads seem chipper enough. Retirement for them as well, maybe?

Un-hitching the last tubs. Last day at Trustee, possibly last wagon loads for the incline to Low Drum. Considering it's the end of the road for their jobs, these lads seem chipper enough. Retirement for them as well, maybe?

Afternath, 1964, 15 years after closure iron deposits ooze 'rusty water'. Some who were children at the time delighted in sloshing around in the 'rusty' water that escaped the closed workings. These have since been secured. There is now little to see

Afternath, 1964, 15 years after closure iron deposits ooze 'rusty water'. Some who were children at the time delighted in sloshing around in the 'rusty' water that escaped the closed workings. These have since been secured. There is now little to see

The extent of mining operations between Swainby in the west and Raithwaite in the east of the Cleveland area, from Eston in the north to Rosedale in the south. Workings had been opened in Roman times and petered out in the mid-1960s

The extent of mining operations between Swainby in the west and Raithwaite in the east of the Cleveland area, from Eston in the north to Rosedale in the south. Workings had been opened in Roman times and petered out in the mid-1960s

Old Bank Top winding engine. Old Bank was an earlier casualty, being suevived by Trustee and New Bank

Old Bank Top winding engine. Old Bank was an earlier casualty, being suevived by Trustee and New Bank

New Bank Top - the tramway along to Wilton and Guisborough parted company with New Bank Incline near here

New Bank Top - the tramway along to Wilton and Guisborough parted company with New Bank Incline near here

New Bank,. laden runaway downward-bound wagons were routed over the hump, the 'Clip Wheel' in the centre of the picture to save them running into Low Drum. The end cottage was demolished by runaways, injuring a miner resting after a night shift

New Bank,. laden runaway downward-bound wagons were routed over the hump, the 'Clip Wheel' in the centre of the picture to save them running into Low Drum. The end cottage was demolished by runaways, injuring a miner resting after a night shift

The view from close to Low Drum, where the three inclines met, to proceed onward to the Tip Yard north of the Redcar road, and Grangetown Works via the 'Crusher' beside Church Lane

The view from close to Low Drum, where the three inclines met, to proceed onward to the Tip Yard north of the Redcar road, and Grangetown Works via the 'Crusher' beside Church Lane

Dorman Long's holdings on Teesside in The Works,1959. Dorman Long owned Eston Mines until closure in 1949, by which time much of the stone came in by sea to Eston Jetty and westward along the Tees.

Dorman Long's holdings on Teesside in The Works,1959. Dorman Long owned Eston Mines until closure in 1949, by which time much of the stone came in by sea to Eston Jetty and westward along the Tees.

Clay Lane Steel Works, South Bank 1884

Clay Lane Steel Works, South Bank 1884

Cargo Fleet works were inaugurated in 1902. Previously Cleveland Port, the site was finally shut down in the late 60s, The workforce was redistributed around the other sites or took redundancy. Dad was transferred to Lackenby after ca. 20 years here

Cargo Fleet works were inaugurated in 1902. Previously Cleveland Port, the site was finally shut down in the late 60s, The workforce was redistributed around the other sites or took redundancy. Dad was transferred to Lackenby after ca. 20 years here

Redcar's steel works were taken over by Corus in the 80s, shut down and opened by Indian company Tata. They said 'Ta-ta' to Teesside. The knock-on was felt around the area, and not just in industry.

Redcar's steel works were taken over by Corus in the 80s, shut down and opened by Indian company Tata. They said 'Ta-ta' to Teesside. The knock-on was felt around the area, and not just in industry.

Landmark+++ The 'SS' Castle near the 1871 Wilton carter's bridge over the mine tramway

The 'SS' Castle from the east, the Guibal fan house also housed a mine adit (or entrance). The fan was never electrified, going out of use in 1915.

The 'SS' Castle from the east, the Guibal fan house also housed a mine adit (or entrance). The fan was never electrified, going out of use in 1915.

The view from the back (south side) shows the mine adit roof where it slopes to the hillside

The view from the back (south side) shows the mine adit roof where it slopes to the hillside

Looking up at one of the buttresses on the SS Castle - Guibal Fan House and drift entrance near the 1871 Wilton-Guisborough cart road bridge over the wagon tramway

Looking up at one of the buttresses on the SS Castle - Guibal Fan House and drift entrance near the 1871 Wilton-Guisborough cart road bridge over the wagon tramway

An early snap of the Guibal Fan housing with 's' shaped steel bracing - the mine tramway towards Guisborough's workings can be seen bottom left

An early snap of the Guibal Fan housing with 's' shaped steel bracing - the mine tramway towards Guisborough's workings can be seen bottom left

The way in - clamber over a concrete post that lies in front of the steel door, and the 'clag' around it, find your feet in the half dark. Not advisable to go beyond the round brick arch inside. One or two nervy tour members refused to come in

The way in - clamber over a concrete post that lies in front of the steel door, and the 'clag' around it, find your feet in the half dark. Not advisable to go beyond the round brick arch inside. One or two nervy tour members refused to come in

Inside the Guibal fan house, looking down to the mine adit. Dangerous to go too far (you might never get out)

Inside the Guibal fan house, looking down to the mine adit. Dangerous to go too far (you might never get out)

...Look the other way at the fan opening. The fan wheel was housed in the 'tower' you see in the top image

...Look the other way at the fan opening. The fan wheel was housed in the 'tower' you see in the top image

One of the smaller mine drift passages with some props still in place, albeit rotten from damp - a problem many faced when working in the drifts

One of the smaller mine drift passages with some props still in place, albeit rotten from damp - a problem many faced when working in the drifts

To Guisborough by the tramway (below)

There are the remains of workings on either side of the trackbed up to the 1871 bridge I mentioned - see also walk account at the top of the page - that stands near the remains of a Guibal fan-house locally nicknamed 'SS Castle'. Its nickname stems from the 'S'-shaped steel masonry braces on its concrete walls. The old tramway trackbed passes a footpath (left) that leads down behind Wilton Village, Wilton Castle and the golf course, and (right) up to the Lazenby-Guisborough cart track. [This leads to a metalled farm road. Pass over the cattle grid between the gate-posts, and follow the country code (keep your litter and put dogs on the lead, as livestock graze the field on your left - should you ignore this advice beware, the farmer would be within his rights in gunning your dog down for harassing his animals.)]

Ahead the trackbed runs to where Tockett's Mine used to be, along with other workings. Emerging from dense woodland and opening a gate come onto the little Wilton to Guisborough road that snakes around the edge of a hill. Earthworks by the left of the roadside show where mine workings and processing sheds once stood. The road leads down into the back of Guisborough past Mount Pleasant on the right, a row of former miners' cottages, and Tockett's Mill in the distance to your left.

Guisborough is a pleasant market town, the 'capital' of East Cleveland. The land was once owned, as I've already said, by the de Brus family, formerly of Skelton Castle further east. The lord of Annandale in the southern borders region of Scotland now owns the land. The High Street looks mainly Georgian, unlike Eston - mostly Victorian and post-War - with a fair number of cafes and public houses to choose from. The market takes place twice weekly and fills the street with colour almost from end to end between the market cross at the east end and the chapel at the west end.

Hopefully I've whetted your appetite for a visit to the area. For things to do and an accommodation guide look in on the 'Visit the Tees Valley website' shown at the base of this Hub.

Not too far away, near the coast at Skinningrove is the Tom Leonard Mining Museum. Here you not only see pictures of what ironstone mining used to be like, conditions and so on, you also get to experience conditions. If you find an hour or two spare you will want to look in on the premises. The museum is located at Deepdale, Skinningrove, TS13 4AP, ph: 01287 642877. From Carlin Howe on the A174 descend the zig-zag, pass under the steel and concrete railway viaduct and at the last bend turn left into Skinningrove village along Mill Lane. The museum is marked, on the right of the narrow dale. From the Whitby direction Loftus is at the top of the hill on the south side of the dale. There's a long, straightish road to the zig-zag. opposite. Turn right from the bottom onto Mill Lane.

Redundant mine tramway trackbed above Lazenby Bank

The tramway - now footpath - leads beyond the old carter's bridge past the remains of Quarry Siding and Guibal Fan house, aka 'SS Castle' above Wilton village to the Guisborough-Wilton road

The tramway - now footpath - leads beyond the old carter's bridge past the remains of Quarry Siding and Guibal Fan house, aka 'SS Castle' above Wilton village to the Guisborough-Wilton road

Note to above:

The tramway was extended piecemeal in the 1850s-1860s with the extension of quarrying east along the escarpment. 1870-1893 it was relaid to Lowell Hill quarry beyond Wilton Lane, also serving Agar's Drift, Quarry Siding Drift and North Drift. Further extension south in 1914 above ground to the Chaloner workings outside Guisborough. Here it ran into three drifts, South Drift, Outcrop Drift and Quarry Drift. Lowthers opened halfway between New Bank Head and Wilton Bank in the 1920s to re-work old workings from Agar's Drift.

You can still see the much decorated Guibal Fan House now dubbed 'SS Castle' on account of the 'S' shaped steel masonry braces.

The tramway ceased operation in August, 1939, when all Chaloner drifts were worked out. There is still ironstone in the hills behind Eston and Lazenby, but the cost of extraction would outweigh any income achieved.

Looking north-west from Eston escarpment near the Nab

Looking north-west from Eston escarpment near the Nab

North East Film Archive - 1937/38 footage

I was e-mailed a link by Craig Hornby recently. The link below is to the North East Film Archive (NEFA) which holds a vast store of reference to the East Cleveland and Middlesbrough areas of the North Riding of Yorkshire in its fairly recent industrial heyday.

Visit the link below: (the document number refers to this particular footage that dates back to 1937 - less than two years prior to WWII - and witnesses the beginning of an upsurge in the area's fortunes). In the search box enter 'Eston', the relevant clip is the second one down on the right.

The twenty minute footage (16mm, no soundtrack) made by Wilf Shaw in the late 1930s shows workmen and their families, pre-war working and living conditions and a snapshot of leisure time, travelling to the seaside by bus or train. Note the men and women didn't undress for the beach, that was for a later generation to introduce shortly before the summer 'exodus' to warmer climes in the Mediterranean, Madeira or the Canary Islands.

North East Film Archive (NEFA)

Where is Teesside? The region, the district of Eston, Eston Grange, works and connecting lines

The location of Teesside three quarters of the way up the East Coast of England, marked above 'Middlesbrough'

The location of Teesside three quarters of the way up the East Coast of England, marked above 'Middlesbrough'

Large scale district map of Eston and part of Eston Grange to the east of Middlesbrough

Large scale district map of Eston and part of Eston Grange to the east of Middlesbrough

The map is a larger 'slice' of the Ordnance Survey of 1924 and shows the moortop at Upsall and Barnaby Side

The map is a larger 'slice' of the Ordnance Survey of 1924 and shows the moortop at Upsall and Barnaby Side

Early 20th Century Eston and late 19th Century Normanby ironstone miners

A group photograph taken at Pit Top (Upsall) in front of the steam winder that operated the cage used by the miners to descend into the pit to go to work

A group photograph taken at Pit Top (Upsall) in front of the steam winder that operated the cage used by the miners to descend into the pit to go to work

Normanby ironstone miners on the last day of operation, late 1880's

Normanby ironstone miners on the last day of operation, late 1880's

The original Cleveland Railway route and the later line to Ormesby mine and brick works

The original Cleveland Railway route and the later line to Ormesby mine and brick works

Normanby mine deputies test a drift ceiling after blasting before they can allow the miners back to the work face

Normanby mine deputies test a drift ceiling after blasting before they can allow the miners back to the work face

Normanby Ironstone mine, owned by Bells of Port Clarence on the north bank of the Tees, closed late 1880's

Normanby Ironstone mine, owned by Bells of Port Clarence on the north bank of the Tees, closed late 1880's

The view from the escarpment over Eston and Grangetown and Dorman Long's works

Eston seen from the 'Scarp, the escarpment crest in 1982, with the steel works beyond at Grangetown and South Bank

Eston seen from the 'Scarp, the escarpment crest in 1982, with the steel works beyond at Grangetown and South Bank

Grangetown, the works once owned by Bolckow Vaughan was taken over by Dorman Long, subsequently nationalised as part of British Steel Corporation and re-privatised by the 'Iron Lady'

Grangetown, the works once owned by Bolckow Vaughan was taken over by Dorman Long, subsequently nationalised as part of British Steel Corporation and re-privatised by the 'Iron Lady'

The Eston escarpment, the 'scarp'.

As I've already mentioned in TRAVEL NORTH - Tees to Esk, John Vaughan found ironstone by accident when walking along the Eston escarpment behind Lazenby. He and John Marley, a mining engineer of the company John Vaughan and Henry Bolckow had founded not long before, were surveying for borehole sites for ironstone exploration.

The pair were scaling Lazenby Bank when Marley picked up a stone both men knew to be from the Skinningrove Seam. Almost at a run they came upon an outcrop of the rock already being quarried for road surfacing. They followed the rock westward to Eston Bank and in following the source estimated it must have been sixteen feet in thickness. In the event it turned out to have been twelve feet thick but overlaid by another type of ironstone! Bolckow and Vaughan were so keen to exploit this new source a new quarry was opened on the hillside at Bank Fields above Eston called Bold Venture. The quarry can be seen under the tracks of motorbike tyres. In the final seventeen weeks of 1850 4,040 tons 7 cwt were extracted and despatched by cart to Cargo Fleet Works near South Bank. Under the strain of eighty-three cartloads a week the roads were mired in little time. A railway was built to link Eston with a new works at Grangetown, a mile and a half to the north towards the Tees and the Stockton & Darlington railway extension on the south bank of the Tees.

Within a decade or so new workings, the Trustee Drift and the Old Bank Incline were opened up, then the New Bank incline was built. Things were powering along. By the end of the 1860s more workings had sprouted around the escarpment and one on top of the moor, Upsall Pit. This was reached first by the extension of the Cleveland Railway - an offshoot of the West Hartlepool & Harbour Railway - that snaked round from the Normanby Jetty on the south bank of the Tees via Normanby and Flatts Lane, up over the hill via a rope-worked incline and past Upsall Hall to Barnaby Side and onto Barnaby moor. The line passed behind the Cross Keys on the Guisborough Road and on past Guisborough to Slapewath and Boosbeck. The line up to Barnaby Moor was lifted when the pit was used merely to supply the two rows of miners' cottages at Upsall from 'in-by', that is from Trustee Drift up the shaft. All ironstone from here was drawn down the Trustee Drift to Low Drum at the back of Eston, under the Redcar Road and into exchange sidings. The Cleveland Railway route beyond Guisborough lasted into the 1960s, but was lifted west of Guisborough.

Another drift, Lowthers, was opened up on Lazenby Bank with a Guibal Fan to ventilate the underground workings. A wagon tramway was laid near the base of the escarpment but was soon superseded by an underground route that linked Eston Mines with those of Guisborough. By the time all these mines had been worked out and closed in 1949 under the auspices of the owners, Dorman Long, over sixteen million tons of ore had been extracted from Eston mines alone.

Few traces remain. A new roadway, the A174 Parkway was built on part of the site. The supporting walls of Low Drum were still in situ last time I was at the site about three years ago. The stables, smithy, loose box and horse-keeper's house had disappeared to make way for a new housing estate. New Bank incline was almost invisible from below under a growing canopy of trees. Lowther's Drift on Lazenby Bank is derelict and inaccessible but someone had forced the steel door to the drift entrance. The drift roof is unsafe, loose bricks lying on the floor. Who knows when the rest will go?

One or two former mine electricity sub-station towers are scattered around the base of the hills between Eston and Normanby, and the small bridge over what was the track bed on Wilton Bank is still there, bearing an old cart road. The keystone bears the date, 1885. The fan-house bears a lot of interesting graffiti in the local vernacular.

On top of Barnaby Moor there is very little to see of Upsall Pit. A track leads past a spring flushed with the orange of ironstone deposits. Somewhere around here used to be the concrete embrasure of the pit top, but that went long ago since I last saw it as a youth in the 1960s, and the foundations of the two rows of cottages have disappeared under about seventy years of root growth since the last inhabitants were moved away. You can see clear to Eston Nab, the site of the Roman signal station, near the top of the escarpment with the North Sea behind. Closer inspection gives you an unrestricted view of Teesside from west to east.

Further towards the A171 Guisborough Road where a pig farm occupied the moortop another couple of farmhouses can be seen in the distance towards Guisborough. In the other direction behind Pinchinthorpe and Newton-under-Roseberry is the grand aspect of Roseberry Topping, itself the victim of underground workings. A footpath leads past a small plantation parallel to Upsall estate, a walled-in woodland we knew as 'Piggy Wood', down along fields where I pulled up a Swede, brushed off the dirt and chewed it on the way home to Eston. At the bottom of the footpath is the embankment of the redundant railway that you climb over to get into the Cross Keys Inn. We used to visit here when I was young, my father, mother and me. It was smaller then, a passage led past the bar where I wasn't allowed, into the saloon where I crunched on crisps and drained a half-pint glass of lemonade before setting off back up the hill. Ah, those were the days! Nowadays the Cross Keys is more sophisticated and pricey, but still a handy watering hole and restaurant that offers ales from the nearby Pinchinthorpe micro-brewery.

Westward to Flatts Lane behind Normanby is a nature centre and playground. This was the site of the Normanby Brick Works, and further west there was another ironstone working towards Ormesby Bank. The railway line curved round past Flatts Lane Crossing at Normanby, past open fields now built up and over Flatts Lane itself on an un-gated crossing toward the brick works. Of the inclined plane there is no sign, and a ruined building that stood there has either been demolished or collapsed with age and was grown over. The crest of the hill where the ropeway engine might once have stood is equally overgrown, but the abutments of the railway bridge over the southern end of Flatts Lane are still to be seen where the embankment disappears into the distance under the edge of a ploughed field. Further east, back towards the Cross Keys is a row of substantial houses, still lived in, where traces of the trackbed can be made out from the roadway.

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**There are a few related pages I've added to Hub-Pages since this was first put together:

"TRAVEL NORTH - 38-40: Guisborough Circular..." is a trio of pages about the railway opened by the Middlesbrough & Guisborough Railway under the auspices of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, and associated mine routes in the area in general, concentrating on the M&GR.

"TRAVEL NORTH - 44 BATTLE OF THE RAILS..." (hubpages.com/travel/TRAVEL-NORTH-44-BATTLE-OF-THE-RAILWAYS) tells of a struggle between two major rival railway companies on Teesside that came to clashes before agreement was reached. The tale involves the Stockton & Darlington Railway and the West Hartlepool Harbour & Railway Co. who promoted a smaller railway across S&DR territory in the 1860s.

Eston from early days, through the 20th Century - Old Eston along the High Street, New Eston to the south-east with later 19th Century developments

Looking towards the war memorial on Eston Square. seen by people passing through from Middlesbrough to Saltburn/Redcar. Jubilee Road, right off the picture, leads (second right)  to Ayton Crescent where we lived, 1955-65. We felt welcome here.

Looking towards the war memorial on Eston Square. seen by people passing through from Middlesbrough to Saltburn/Redcar. Jubilee Road, right off the picture, leads (second right) to Ayton Crescent where we lived, 1955-65. We felt welcome here.

In Edwardian days the square would've been u nrecognisable. The view here is along the High Street eastward past the Eston Institute (left above the bushes and trees) and an array of shops on the right ...

In Edwardian days the square would've been u nrecognisable. The view here is along the High Street eastward past the Eston Institute (left above the bushes and trees) and an array of shops on the right ...

1911, the 'village' turned out to celebrate King George V's coronation.  Things are opening up, but the First World War and aftermath would bring a need to remember fallen fathers, husbands, sons. The soldier memorial  in the top view arrived 1921

1911, the 'village' turned out to celebrate King George V's coronation. Things are opening up, but the First World War and aftermath would bring a need to remember fallen fathers, husbands, sons. The soldier memorial in the top view arrived 1921

Men await opening time at the Eston Institute, 'the Stute' in pre-WWI days

Men await opening time at the Eston Institute, 'the Stute' in pre-WWI days

Parallel to the High Street ran the exchange sidings where more modern standard gauge hoppers were kept for the transfer of iron ore to Dorman Long works at Grangetown and South Bank by way of the crusher beside Church Lane near Grangetown

Parallel to the High Street ran the exchange sidings where more modern standard gauge hoppers were kept for the transfer of iron ore to Dorman Long works at Grangetown and South Bank by way of the crusher beside Church Lane near Grangetown

Old Eston -  Church Lane and the Wesleyan chapel at the left of the picture

Old Eston - Church Lane and the Wesleyan chapel at the left of the picture

The smithy opposite the 'Stapylton Arms' (The 'Stap') owned by the Snowden family for centuries finally closed in the 1960's with the retirement of its last owner (see 'A Century In Stone' extras)

The smithy opposite the 'Stapylton Arms' (The 'Stap') owned by the Snowden family for centuries finally closed in the 1960's with the retirement of its last owner (see 'A Century In Stone' extras)

An even older view, taken a century or so earlier with family members ranged along the front of the building that dates back over three or four centuries

An even older view, taken a century or so earlier with family members ranged along the front of the building that dates back over three or four centuries

The 'Stapylton Arms' was originally a farm with a brewery, then became the 'Stapylton Inn' and finally 'Stapylton Arms' near the High Street/Church Lane crossroads

The 'Stapylton Arms' was originally a farm with a brewery, then became the 'Stapylton Inn' and finally 'Stapylton Arms' near the High Street/Church Lane crossroads

Cleveland Street in South Eston - these cottages have since been demolished. Another row of cottages on Old Row was built upwards

Cleveland Street in South Eston - these cottages have since been demolished. Another row of cottages on Old Row was built upwards

Rebuilt cottages on Old Row in the California estate (Klondike City) with industry beyond at Grangetown

Rebuilt cottages on Old Row in the California estate (Klondike City) with industry beyond at Grangetown

A long view past the stable building (left) and houses (right) to New Bank past Low Drum, where wagons from three directions were lowered to the Tip Yard (behind the photographer).

A long view past the stable building (left) and houses (right) to New Bank past Low Drum, where wagons from three directions were lowered to the Tip Yard (behind the photographer).

From underground to steel milling:

Further along and away from the Redcar road was the Tip Yard where the ironstone was transferred from the chaldron wagons to more modern hopper wagons.

The stone was held at Eston, ready for when needed by the works at either Grangetown or South Bank for processing to iron, then steel before the turn of the 19th Century. close to Grangetown was the Crusher, a tall tower-like structure that broke down the raw, damp ore rocks for forwarding into the works a little further along Church Lane at Grangetown or South Bank.

Between when the Bold Venture quarry was opened in 1850 to the closure of Trustee Drift in 1949 over 60 million tons of raw iron ore were brought past Low Drum Eston, from the drifts along the tramway, later inbye (underground) through the variously named districts as far away as Guisborough, from New Bank, Old Bank, Trustee Drift and Upsall (stone from the latter was taken out through Trustee, making the railway redundant that had been built from the Tees to Barnaby Side above the Cross Keys Inn beside the Guisborough road (A171). You'll see from the different sections of this article the lie of the land and steepness of the gradients the physical nature of extracting and transporting the product from rock face to processing.

Eston miners would have to be in their working area in time to sign in at 6 am for the early shift onwards through the day. Latecomers would have to climb - summer and winter - to Upsall Pit and travel down by lift, losing a half day's pay. The work was dangerous and dirty, often in damp conditions with a green mist swirling waist high, although men who decided to take their chances in the works fared no better. A case in point, one friend whose father decided to change to working in the steel mills did so at his own cost. He was killed in an accident involving hot waste material.

In the last picture above you can see the stable building on the left. The horses - Clydesdale ploughing and draught animals - when brought out of the drifts for their 'holidays' were kept overnight in the stables, turned out in daytime to enjoy the fresh air and daylight for a while before being returned underground. They worked hard, daily and in the darkness like the men, so were entitled to free time.

A verbal account in the film, 'A Century In Stone' tells of when the family moved into the large house attached to the stables. The children were amazed at the electric lights and ran around the house turning them on and off. They'd lived in cottages where downstairs lighting was by hurricane lamp and upstairs lighting was by candle. That was the general situation then, for many years before the use of electricity became widespread in the 20 century.

Eston Station, accessed from the west side of Jubilee Road, off the square

Eston Station, summer 1902, the year of opening (1.1.02) with passengers alighting at the onset of a day out on Eston Hills. Station building has not yet been fitted with its awning (see view below)

Eston Station, summer 1902, the year of opening (1.1.02) with passengers alighting at the onset of a day out on Eston Hills. Station building has not yet been fitted with its awning (see view below)

Another view looking the same way in more prosperous times before 1929. The train these people are waiting for arrives from Middlesbrough (beyond the platform end)

Another view looking the same way in more prosperous times before 1929. The train these people are waiting for arrives from Middlesbrough (beyond the platform end)

South Tees railway routes. Most of the branches were closed, leaving only the (Darlington-) Middlesbrough-Saltburn and (Darlington -) Middlesbrough - Battersby (-Whitby) routes for passengers and an extension via Boulby Cliffs to Boulby Mine

South Tees railway routes. Most of the branches were closed, leaving only the (Darlington-) Middlesbrough-Saltburn and (Darlington -) Middlesbrough - Battersby (-Whitby) routes for passengers and an extension via Boulby Cliffs to Boulby Mine

Ordnance Survey of Eston Station site 1928, a year before closure to passengers. Council houses were built the south of the station post- WWII. The site was cleared of the Co-op coal depot in October, 1966 for sheltered housing when branch closed

Ordnance Survey of Eston Station site 1928, a year before closure to passengers. Council houses were built the south of the station post- WWII. The site was cleared of the Co-op coal depot in October, 1966 for sheltered housing when branch closed

Eston Station, track layout - little changed to the layout of the station, the platform buildings aged and deteriorated over the years following closure of the station to passengers by the LNER in 1929

Eston Station, track layout - little changed to the layout of the station, the platform buildings aged and deteriorated over the years following closure of the station to passengers by the LNER in 1929

Eston Station seen early in 20th Century in North Eastern Railway days. A Class O 0-4-4 tank engine awaits the 'off' at the Normanby/Middlesbrough end of the platform. Class O was a successor to Fletcher's Bogie Tank Passenger (BTP) loco

Eston Station seen early in 20th Century in North Eastern Railway days. A Class O 0-4-4 tank engine awaits the 'off' at the Normanby/Middlesbrough end of the platform. Class O was a successor to Fletcher's Bogie Tank Passenger (BTP) loco

Eston Station staff and bystanders stand for the camera in early North Eastern Railway days (1902 -)

Eston Station staff and bystanders stand for the camera in early North Eastern Railway days (1902 -)

... The Co-operative coal depot near the station entrance, centrally situated on the map above

... The Co-operative coal depot near the station entrance, centrally situated on the map above

Eston Station as I knew it from 1955-1965. Not long after this view was taken the station site was levelled to make way for sheltered housing

Eston Station as I knew it from 1955-1965. Not long after this view was taken the station site was levelled to make way for sheltered housing

Flatts Lane Junction. The original Cleveland Rail approached from the south-west and continued in a wide curve to where it crossed Flatts Lane at a level point on the lane to Normanby and Ormesby brick works - once onward past the ironstone mine

Flatts Lane Junction. The original Cleveland Rail approached from the south-west and continued in a wide curve to where it crossed Flatts Lane at a level point on the lane to Normanby and Ormesby brick works - once onward past the ironstone mine

A train arrives at Flatts Lane level crossing from Eston. A 'bobby' (signalman) waits to exchange tokens for the onward section to Whitehouse signal cabin near Middlesbrough

A train arrives at Flatts Lane level crossing from Eston. A 'bobby' (signalman) waits to exchange tokens for the onward section to Whitehouse signal cabin near Middlesbrough

A colourised view of Flatts Lane signal cabin from early days

A colourised view of Flatts Lane signal cabin from early days

Flatts Lane Crossing before mid-1960's. Eston station having closed to passengers in 1929 and goods perhaps a couple of decades on, leaving only coal traffic and brick traffic to Normanby works

Flatts Lane Crossing before mid-1960's. Eston station having closed to passengers in 1929 and goods perhaps a couple of decades on, leaving only coal traffic and brick traffic to Normanby works

The junction and crossing seen from the west before closure. The left curve leads to a scrap dealer's yard, onward is Eston and to the right is the shortened line to the brick works

The junction and crossing seen from the west before closure. The left curve leads to a scrap dealer's yard, onward is Eston and to the right is the shortened line to the brick works

The station was opened by the North Eastern Railway in 1902 to passengers and a goods pick-up service to Middlesbrough. To the west near Flatts Lane was the original Cleveland Railway line that ran south and uphill to Normanby Brickworks, latterly via Upsall to Barnaby Moor via a rope-worked incline. Passenger services to Eston were cut by the LNER in 1929 due to severe competition from the buses. Whereas buses ran along the High Street via Eston Square from either Middlesbrough or Redcar, the railway station was at that time a good walk away from the square. The goods services were the next casualty so that by the time the line was closed completely and lifted by 1967 there was only the Co-operative Society's coal depot that used the railway connection north-west to Middlesbrough via Normanby, as well as a small scrapyard to the south of Normanby behind Garden Place. A station had never been installed at Normanby, so passengers could not join the trains there. Had there been a station at Flatts Lane,Normanby, revenue may have been higher.

Passenger services were originally hauled by a Darlington apple green 0-4-4 Bogie Tank Passenger locomotive (BTP) designed by Edward Fletcher in the 1880s and built at the NER's Gateshead Works after McDonnell's departure and before Thomas Worsdell joined the NER as Locomotive Superintendent. The carriages would earlier have been curved-roofed, six-wheeled bone-shakers. Latterly clerestory-roofed David Bain vehicles in Crimson Lake livery would have been seen on the branch. Very colourful!

Upsall Pit on Barnaby Moor

Workings first linked by the Cleveland    Railway to Middlesbrough and the Tees by rope-worked inclines around Upsall and Barnaby Moor via the crest of the hill behind Normanby

Workings first linked by the Cleveland Railway to Middlesbrough and the Tees by rope-worked inclines around Upsall and Barnaby Moor via the crest of the hill behind Normanby

Viewed from near the site of the pit top 'village' towards Roseberry Topping and the Cleveland Hills beyond

Viewed from near the site of the pit top 'village' towards Roseberry Topping and the Cleveland Hills beyond

Roughly the same area, seen from near the Nab - the last time i'd been up here was back in the late 1960s. I hardly knew the place when I came this way to scatter some of my Mum's ashes. She enjoyed coming up here back in the 1950s-early1960s

Roughly the same area, seen from near the Nab - the last time i'd been up here was back in the late 1960s. I hardly knew the place when I came this way to scatter some of my Mum's ashes. She enjoyed coming up here back in the 1950s-early1960s

The course of the Cleveland Railway is marked by the curved line of intense vegetation that passes Upsall Hall (near top left), crosses Flatts Lane (centre) and heads east to Barnaby Side past the rear of the Cross Keys Inn

The course of the Cleveland Railway is marked by the curved line of intense vegetation that passes Upsall Hall (near top left), crosses Flatts Lane (centre) and heads east to Barnaby Side past the rear of the Cross Keys Inn

With the commercial opening of ironstone working at the base of the Eston escarpment in 1850, leases to work the ore were secured by Messrs Bolckow Vaughan to remove the stone from Eston's mining operations. Five main estates were involved - to secure 'wayleaves' from - three to the north of the escarpment owned by 1. The Lowther family of Wilton Castle (later taken over by Imperial Chemical Industries [ICI] on South Teesside as their HQ in the region); 2. the Stapyltons and 3. the Lady Hewley Charity/Bequest.

Within a few years trackwork to the Old Incline, Trustee Drift and New Bank Incline was laid and in use, wagons descending the hill towards Low Drum behind the California Estate. From here they were taken to a crushing plant and calcining kilns to the north of the Redcar road. The ore was transferred to standard gauge wagons and hauled north along the railway to the blast furnaces at Grangetown works.

Until the Cleveland Railway company laid their track from the north side of the escarpment near Normanby over the hill past Upsall Grange and along the Guisborough road to the bottom of Barnaby Side, mining operations seemed uneconomic. The two main estates on the south side of Eston Moor were Admiral Chaloner's, close to Guisborough, and Greenwood's opposite Upsall Grange to the west.

Parliamentary persmission was granted in 1859 for two lines to be built, 1. the Crow Well incline (off the branch at NZ 589159), 2. Barnaby Side/Upsall incline (NZ 574158). There is evidence of both on their respective routes.

Crow Well: must have been built to serve a shaft because the lvel upper terminus ends in a high field (NZ 586172). A remark is made on the six inch scale Geological Survey map of 1883: 'Shaft sunk 22 fathoms (132 ft or 40m). Seam not reached'. The Eston Mine abandonment plan showed that had the shaft been completed it would have reached the Main Seam slightly deeper that was reached by the Upsall shafts that were three quarters of a mile (1200m) to the west of Crow Well. Crow Well shaft would have been narrowly within the boundary of Admiral Chaloner's land. Among the Chaloner Estate papers in the North Yorkshire Record Office was a sketch of the Crow Well incline dated November, 1865.

The incline would have been devised as a self-acting incline, loaded wagons descending hauling the same number of empty wagons uphill. Strong braking mechanism would have been called for. Such a system would have been housed in a structure at the head of the incline, a large drum installed around which the cable was coiled. Operationally wagon speed was regulated by brakes fitted to the drum, the wagons of standard gauge size.

From 1872 the iron company worked Chaloner's stone from a new mine with shafts and inclined underground planes or drifts near North Cote Farm (NZ 600170). By the time Crow Well was ready the company probably had second thoughts, acted on a few years. A gill (spring) rises from the rough ground where the Crow Well should have been, that drains into Moordale Beck (stream). About 130 yards (110m) downstream of where the two waterways meet a number of wrought iron plates were laid end-to-end in the beck. The 1883 geological map shows a 'water level' (mine water drainage level) here, crossing the course of Moordale Beck at an unspecified height relative to the beck. As the water level was at a shallow angle below ground, the plates were probably laid to stop beck water seeping into the drainage level.

Barnaby Side: The Upsall shafts on Barnaby Moor (NZ 574173) were situated on ground that sloped towards Moordale Beck. The projected incline to the Cleveland Railway would need to climb to a height at NZ 574167, beyond which the land falls steeply to the cleveland Railway embankment at Barnaby Side west of the Cross Keys Inn (Premier chain) on the A171. The hump would have been suitable for a brake drum to control the long descent. Boilers and and a stationary engine to raise loaded wagons from the shaft site would have been necessary, and from there the wagons would have been transferred to the self-acting braking mechanism. At the hump was a small heap of stones, but no sign of an obvious building foundation. The 1894 edition of the 25 inch Ordnance Survey chart, whilst describing the trackbed as an 'Old Railway' indicates no building or foundation for such here. No trace could be found either of any engineered trackbed between mine and hump. However, not far beyond the hump was a shallow cutting that deepened gradually as it followed past arable land over the crest. A large stone bridge spanned the cutting at the southern edge. From the east side of the bridge an overgrown track led to a small quarry at NZ 576166. The quarried stone seemed to be of good quality and would have been where the block stones came from for the dismantled winding engine house at Upsall Mine. From the field edge and bridge the incline could be traced by a broad, deep cutting that eventually levelled out near the bottom of the slope. The rest of the distance to the parent Cleveland Railway branch the line ran on embankments and in shallow cuttings on its way past fields.

John Rider of Barnaby Side farm told that over the years working the land he had not found any remnants of rail, fish plates (rail joiners), bolts or sleeper fragments. He concluded that no actual rails had been laid.

Around 150 yards (130+ metres) west of the incline, halfway to the hilltop a trial shaft was sunk at NZ 573164 and named Greenwood's Pit. Being on the south side of the Upsall Fault that raised the strata on that flank of the moor by 550 ft (167m), no ironstone was located. No surface marks survive to show the sinking of the shaft.

Around a half mile (800m) south of the junction of the incline with the Cleveland Railway near the Guisborough road is the almost parallel trackbed of the 1853 Guisborough Railway. In line with the incline junction, beyond the Cleveland Railway, older O.S. maps display a 'tongue' of slag in a field to the east of Hemble Hill at NZ 573157. Years of ploughing have fused the outline. This may have been meant as a link with the Guisborough Railway. The owner of land around Hemble Hill, Miss S Edwards had wondered about this feature and spoke of a culvert at the lower boundary of the first field, that enclosed a section of the field drainage channel, the Main Stell. For about 40 yards (35+ metres) at NZ 572154 both banks were strengthened by carved sandstone blocks. A short length still carried an arch of double width bricks, giving access for vehicles to fields beyond the stell. Between the stone blocks was a channel for the water of around 3ft 6ins wide and 4ft high (1.06 X 1.2m). The culvert top may have once run the length of the walling, as a lot of red bricks lie around on either bank as though saved from the water subsequent to a collapse.

An oblique line from the field side remains and across the culvert cut across the Guisborough Railway trackbed (NZ 572152). The track was level with the field here, but a few yards west began an embankment, and to the east by the same distance was a shallow cutting. It might have been that a standard gauge railway was going to be laid from here to the incline at Barnaby Side. As the Main Stell was about 30ft (9m) lower than the Guisborough Railway an embankment would have had to have been laid in. Therefore in readying for this the culvert was built and tipping had begun. It is not known whether this work had been undertaken before the building of the Cleveland Railway or at the time of the proposed closure of the branch. Just as with the Crow Well Incline it is not obvious track was laid on Barnaby Side.

Statistics dating back to 1866-69 show total output tonnage for 'Eston & Upsall'. This can be part explained in that Upsall's stone was to have been taken by the Cleveland Railway overground rail link that ran in a 'long C' via Upsall Grange from Normanby. Latterly Upsall's mined stone was moved 'inbye' through the Trustee Drift above Eston, and supplies for the inhabitants of the two rows of cottages and the mine manager went the opposite way from Eston. The last of the inhabitants of the Upsall settlement left in 1949 when the mines at Eston were closed down by the owners, Dorman Long.

At this point I should introduce

Flatts Lane Incline: Normanby mines were opened first by Bell Brothers of Port Clarence, and produced workable stone years before the Cleveland Railway. John Marley set out in his paper on Cleveland Ironstone, to be presented to the North of England Institute of Mining Engineers in 1857, quoted in their production statistics for 1856 as being 131,000 tons (Imperial) and commented '...by a short, private branch railway, the ironstone is taken on to the Middlesbrough and Guisborough Railway'. Until recently the remains of an embankment in the field near the road junction of Flatts Lane and the A171 at NZ 553156 gave a pointer that from the highest level of the present road to the A171 Flatts Lane lay parallel to an erstwhile railway track. [A little way back from the road junction are the remains of bridge abutments on either side of the lane]. South of here open fields lead to Upsall Carrs Plantation. Running the length of the plantation was an overgrown but obvious trackbed for a railway with shallow cuttings and low embankments that led to a junction with the Guisborough Railway near Pinchinthorpe at NZ 550147, where railway boundary railings opened out to meet this branch.

Returning northward to the Eston side of the escarpment in 1998, perhaps even now still, you would have come across the remains of the

Trustee Powder Magazine: (see the bottom right-hand square of the 1913 map above, where the tracks fan out. Trustee Drift was to the left looking at the map) The Trustee Drift was the most westerly of the Eston workings, from whose drift entrances the narrow gauge 'tram' lines converged on Low Drum to the east of the California Estate (Old Eston). The rope drift opened for business in January, 1870 to haul from Pit Bottom. Underground tunnels criss-crossed through from front to back and west to east as far as Guisborough's mines under Chaloner land, and the underground districts were given exotic names such as 'Zulu'. As already mentioned elsewhere mining at Eston finished in 1949, but there were many remains, and are still. One of the structures is the 1870 gunpowder magazine at NZ 561180 to the south of the drift entrance (uphill direction). It stands between the drift and the erstwhile reservoir used for boiler water. John Owen and Richard Pepper, members of the Cleveland Industrial Archaeology Society surveyed the site in 1994, revealing a 'porched' concrete entranceway leading to a domed inner entrance, behind which a larger underground area turned to the left. A rear portal led underground to the main mine from where the charge hands called for their 'squibs' (ever heard of the expression 'damp squibs'?) to blast more ore from the pillars or underground faces.

Cross Keys Inn on the A171 at Upsall, and the way there

The Cross Keys Inn near Upsall on the A171 Guisborough-Nunthorpe road - the original trackbed ran behind here and earthworks are still very  visible

The Cross Keys Inn near Upsall on the A171 Guisborough-Nunthorpe road - the original trackbed ran behind here and earthworks are still very visible

That's the stile! Looking from Upsall Moor towards Roseberry Topping

That's the stile! Looking from Upsall Moor towards Roseberry Topping

Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum

Mill Lane, Skinningrove, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, TS13 4AP

Phone 441287 642877 from overseas or 01287 642877 within the UK

Currently closed due to Covid-19, although the web site tells you a lot about what you'll see - and hear - during a visit.

See the museum's varied exhibits first, handle some of the tools and look around at photographs and memorabilia before you're escorted down into the drift by a qualified mine engineer. Experience what it was like for lads and men working safely underground. Follow the guide's instructions for an enlightening visit without mishap

Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum, Deepdale Mill Lane, Skinningrove, TS13 4AP

© 2011 Alan R Lancaster

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