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Langham Hill Engine House

This engine house was built in 1866 for the second hand beam engine (25”/62.5 cm Ø cylinder) and two boilers brought over from South Wales. 

 

Morgan Morgans, the general manager of the mines had decided in 1865 to connect three existing underground workings, and to raise the ore to surface by sinking a new shaft at Langham Hill (now enclosed by a fence). 

 

 

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Langham Hill mine engine house and ore gantry in 1876
Langham Hill mine engine house and ore gantry in 1876

The engine had two functions:  it powered the two winding drums that pulled trams loaded with iron ore up the mine shaft and the pump rods of the underground pump that brought groundwater to the surface. 

 

At Langham Hill the water was filtered and stored in a reservoir to be recycled by the steam engine boilers.

  

 

 

 

Ladders were the only means by which miners could go underground.  Each ladder rested on a timber platform, so if a miner fell he would only fall as for as the next platform down, rather than the 200 metres (650 feet) depth of the mine shaft. 

 

Trams ran down the steep shaft on rails, where miners loaded them with iron ore.  After being hauled back to the surface by the beam engine, the ore was tipped into the railway wagons which eventually re-joined the West Somerset Mineral Railway. 

 

The engine house was built in the Welsh style with masonry platforms and worked until it was decided in 1876 to close the mine.  In 1878 not only was Langham Hill engine dismantled and taken by rail to Burrow Farm mine, but also the engine and boiler house to be re-assembled by Henry Skewis in the Cornish manner. 

 

Operation of Langham Hill Engine House 

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An artist’s reconstruction of the Engine House.  Drawing by Anne Leaver
An artist's reconstruction drawing of Langham Hill Engine House. Drawing by Anne Leaver

 

  1. The coal-fired boilers raised steam to drive the beam engine.
  2. The beam engine drove the flatrods.
  3. The flatrods passed down the shaft and worked a pump far underground which kept the mine free of water.
  4. A pair of winding drums hauled the trams loaded with ore up and out of the mine shaft.
  5. The mine shaft.
  6. The gantry where the ore was tipped into the waiting wagons of the Mineral Line.
  7. A reservoir for the boilers.

 

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Langham Hill drawings

Go to Langham Hill engine house. Draft conjectural restoration as in 1876
Langham Hill engine house. Draft conjectural restoration as in 1876
Go to Langham Hill & Bearland Wood Mine plan
Langham Hill & Bearland Wood Mine plan
Go to West Somerset Mineral Railway at Langham Hill
West Somerset Mineral Railway at Langham Hill