SK9118 : South Witham limestone quarry

taken 8 years ago, near to Thistleton, Rutland, Great Britain

South Witham limestone quarry
South Witham limestone quarry
Limestone quarrying began at South Witham in the 1890s, when a 60ft bed was exposed by the contractors building the Saxby to Bourne railway, whose course is shown by the line of trees above the far quarry face. Since the closure of the S&B in 1964, part of its course east of here has been obliterated as the limestone quarries have been extended south and west. Beneath here, from 1957-64, ironstone was mined, the mines extending a good way south, almost as far as Hooby Lodge, and westwards south of the railway line towards Thistleton.

At Thistleton Mines, considerable reserves of ironstone usually extracted by opencast quarrying in the East Midlands lay below the 60ft bed of Lincolnshire limestone, and it was decided to mine it. The mining complex, now an industrial estate, was built from 1955-7. A 22ft-diameter steel-arch/concrete-segment tunnel was driven 500 yards southwards under Mill Lane on a 1 in 40 gradient. The mines were served by a modern double-track narrow-gauge railway operated by one electric and two diesel locomotives, which hauled trains of twelve-ton wagons known as minecars. The mines stretched a mile and a half south and half a mile west. Many of the miners were Scottish coal miners, who lived in houses built for them in South Witham. Production peaked at 390,000 tons a year (and not the million envisaged), but geological difficulties and seepage led to closure on 27 June 1964. The belief that in the second half of the twentieth century it would be necessary to mine ironstone proved misguided: economics prevailed with the introduction of big dragline excavators, opencast was cheaper. The comparable Easton Mines, near Colsterworth, were equally short-lived, closing in 1967.)
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Grid Square
SK9118, 20 images   (more nearby )
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Thursday, 17 June, 2010   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 22 June, 2010
Quarry   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SK 913 188 [100m precision]
WGS84: 52:45.5567N 0:38.8930W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SK 914 189
View Direction
Southwest (about 225 degrees)
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