This one has been on the To-Do list for ages, so long in fact that someone else beat us too it, c’est la vie!, you win some, lose some…
The truth is we were elsewhere frying bigger fish and were beaten by worthy opponents I know only thru the Interweb. Sloppy Seconds is never ideal but it had to be done as it was still a neat trip to make. The 4Gas had a spazz before we had broken a sweat and had to be shut down as it was blatantly lying about the 02 content and making a hell of a racket. This was far from ideal as there was a bunch of noxious primordial ooze right down there amongst that “Just for me and my dog” orange gloop and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was enough to get the h2s sensor squawking.
The trip involved walking through just over a mile of heavily flooded galleries and crosscuts, gingerly picking our way through a couple of truly unstable & massive roof collapses before we got to the payoff. Water was on average four feet deep with submerged roof collapses, random lumps of twisted, underwater, narrow gauge rail to negotiate and hidden sumps in the mine floor. Two of us had hilarious over wader moments, one resulting in blood loss and my waders sprang a leak within seconds of leaving the dry part of the mine. Other random weirdness was an anemic looking lizard 150ft from the surface amongst corn growing underground and being able to send SMS messages from the base of the shaft.
“Venimus, Vidimus, Vicimus”
Usual rules apply…No names, no locations, just pictures of somewhere very orange. Please don’t ask for locations as refusal often offends 🙂
It was during this period, between 1875 and 1879, that a remarkable feat of Victorian engineering was accomplished that is largely unknown or forgotten, except by those still living in its shadow. This was the construction of the East Midland Railway connecting line between Manton Junction and Glendon South Junction. Although covering a relatively short distance of just 16 miles, the work would involve the construction of 12 embankments, 16 cuttings, four tunnels and five viaducts. One of the five viaducts was to be something particularly special, and was known as the Harringworth Viaduct (nowadays, often referred to as the Welland or Seaton Viaduct). At a staggering length of 3,825ft (1,159m), it is still the longest structure of its type on Britain’s railway network.
The Harringworth Viaduct crosses the River Welland on the Rutland and Northamptonshire border, and is a grade II listed structure. It comprises 82 arches, each with a 42ft (12.7m) span. 71 of the supporting piers are 6ft (1.8m) thick, with a further 10 being double thickness and spaced evenly along its length. Each of these can be identified by a pilaster on its face and were designed to isolate the arches into ‘sets’, preventing any under-strain from being continued indefinitely from arch to arch. The average height of the arches is 57ft (17.2m), but the highest is 70ft (21.2m). The viaduct is constructed from some 30,000,000 bricks, all manufactured on site, with Derbyshire Gritstone springers, string courses and coping. As well as the bricks, construction required some 20,000 cubic yards of concrete, 19,000 cubic yards of stone, 37,543 cubic yards of lime mortar, and 5,876 cubic yards of cement.
If Brick Arch Porn floats your boat then get ready for a nice fat slice…
The 5th July 1894 was the ceremony for the cutting of the first sod in the presence of 2-300 invited spectators and Swithland Reservoir and Water Works was completed two years later in 1896 to the designs of architects J B Everard and Everard and Pick.
Our sole interest on this visit however was the hexagonal Victorian underground reservoir underneath an elaborate octagonal stone gazebo. This sits on a large stone plinth and has 8 Doric Roman columns supporting arches, entablature and a lead dome with a carved stone lantern on top, surrounded by six further hexagonal Filter Beds which cleaned the water from the open reservoir before supplying the City of Leicester.
The sole purpose of the gazebo was that of an air vent for the underground reservoir and is typical of the over the top, detailed Victorian architecture found everywhere at these waterworks…Everywhere you look is red and blue brick, dressed stone and wrought iron!!
The hexagonal shaped underground reservoir is split into two sections which could be controlled independently by way of complex piping and Penstocks, both sides are a mirror image of each other and share the central airvent. This was quite a challenging location to light due to the structure and some ingress of daylight through the five small arched windows, hopefully I have done it justice…
The underground reservoir could be discharged out into the small river behind the waterworks by way of buried cast iron pipes leading to an ornate octagonal Excess Fountain built from blue brick and two small, stepped, overflow channels reached via a dressed stone bridge with carved Renaissance obelisks running over a granite lined stream. Also amongst the woods is a large pond with sluice gates.
The rest of the site is worthy of mention and might form part of a report on a return visit. There is an amazingly ornate Draw Off Tower at the edge of the open reservoir and some incredible brickwork arches forming part of the overflow and huge granite lined Spillway. Large cast iron pipes are visible all over the place and and we came across some beautiful Victorian Penstocks in the woods.
The original pump house is still intact but sadly today is full of modern electronics, previously it would have looked like this:
The entire site is now grade 2 listed and owned by Severn Trent water works.
Also running across the reservoir is the Great Central Railway and we saw several steam loco’s flying across the viaduct while we inserted and extracted from the site dodging the throngs of tourists.
In 1893, the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway received the Royal Assent for the construction of the new mainline from Annesley, 12 miles north of Nottingham, to London Marylebone. The line opened for coal traffic in July 1898. The following March, the Great Central Railway ran its first passenger train from Marylebone Station, and soon lived up to its slogan, `Rapid Travel in Luxury’. However, the motor car began to have a serious effect on the railways in the 1950’s and long stretches of the line were closed in 1966.
Today, the Great Central Railway is one of the few railways in the world where scheduled full size steam trains pass in motion on a double track. In 1969, a group of enthusiasts decided to recreate for future generations the magic and nostalgia of the great British age of steam. Eventually it is hoped to link Nottingham and Leicester.
Wakerley Ironstone Co. Ltd (from 1915)
Partington Steel & Iron Co. Ltd (from 1918)Discussions with Bell Broshad began in October 1907 with some trial holes but quarrying did not start until November 1911. A siding agreement withLNWR (London and North Western Railway) was dated July 1913. The quarries ran for a short while before the lease surrendered and was taken over byWakerley Ironstone Co. Ltd from 1915. Gravity was used to help the loaded tubs of Ironstone reach the tipping dock and two horses hauled the empty tubs back to the pits. For some reason the earlier tipping dock was abandoned and a new one built at the eastern end of theLNWR sidings, possibly because of an improved gradient to the railway.During the operation of the quarry a row of four Calcining Kilns were built by prisoners-of-war and next to them an engine room containing a horizontal boiler. It’s believed the kilns were never actually used and in fact only two of the four were ever completed.
From 1918 and now in the hands of Partington Steel & Iron Co. Ltd the quarry was extended the opposite side of the Harringworth Road and the tramway tunneled underneath. Around this time a second tipping dock was added to the newer eastern one and this is evident today as the original one is faced with stone and the new addition is red brick. The quarry became mechanised in later life making use of a Bucyrus Class 14 Steam Shovel and a Ruston Steam Transporter.
The quarry closed somewhere around 1921, the track was taken up and the bridge under the road filled in, everything else was left which is unusual as normal practice is to restore the ground at closure. Today both tipping docks are clearly visible, as is the deep cutting of the quarry. The railway sidings adjacent to the LNWR main line are also evident and there are some remains of the weighbridge at the top of the ‘new’ tipping dock.
Sadly the Engine Room has crumbled but all four calcining kilns dominate the landscape for miles around and are in remarkable condition.
Apologies for the gratuitous use of Sunstars but my Tokina glass has a 9 bladed diaphragm which makes 18 pointed Sunstars so I couldn’t resist it…