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Raleighs Cross Mine c.1876

It is difficult to imagine what a Brendon Hill iron mine complex would have looked like. No photographs have survived from the 1870s phase of mining. The Project commissioned a virtual reconstruction from Timothy Dawson to provide such a picture.

 

The site chosen is Raleighs Cross mine as it might have appeared in about 1876 in the time of Morgan Morgans as general manager. He was responsible for sinking the original Engine Drift from 1858 to 1865 and building the surface complex including the winding house and the pumping engine. An inscribed stone on the chimney stack of the pumping engine house bore the date 1865. The mine stood to the south of the Bampton road and was served by a single-track branch off the Mineral Line at the top of the Incline. This mine complex was developed further after 1877.

 

The reconstruction is based on photographs of the ruins surviving in 1901, on large-scale editions of the Ordnance Survey mapping, on the results of excavations by the Exmoor Mines Research Group and on the extensive research of Mike Jones.

 

The distinctive profile of the ruined end wall of the engine house is the basis of the logo of the West Somerset Mineral Railway Project.

 

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The crossing over the Bampton road for the branch from the West Somerset Mineral Railway. Virtual reconstruction by Timothy Dawson
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2. The complex seen from the air from the south east.

 

The ore gantry is built with a ramp that leads down to the mouth of Engine Drift, a gallery that slopes down to about 650 feet. The winding house is to the right-hand end of the gantry beyond the sidings off the Mineral Railway. The left-hand end leads onto the spoil heap. The pumping engine house rises behind the gantry. The buildings on the right are workshops which served to maintain both the mine and the railway.

 

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Raleighs Cross mine yard. Virtual reconstruction by Tim Dawson
3. Raleighs Cross mine yard
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View from north west.  Virtual reconstruction by Tim Dawson
5. View from north west. The row of cottages along the Bampton road is to the right
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Raleighs Cross mine. The ore gantry and top of the track leading down to the mouth of the mine. Virtual reconstruction by Tim Dawson
7. The ore gantry and top of the track leading down to the mouth of the mine

 

 1. The crossing over the Bampton road for the branch from the West Somerset Mineral Railway.

 

From left to right:

the winding house, part of whose upper floor served as the Miners’ Institute;

centre left: the ore gantry;

centre right: the boiler house and behind it, the pumping engine house;

right: the end cottage of the row alongside the Bampton road. 

This cottage served as the mine offices.

 

 

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Raleighs Cross mines complex seen from the air from the south east.  Virtual reconstruction by Timothy Dawson
2.
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Raleighs Cross mine complex. View from the west. Virtual reconstruction by Tim Dawson
4. View from the west
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Raleighs Cross mine. The ore gantry and the end of the beam of the 52-inch pumping engine. Virtual reconstruction by Tim Dawson
6. The ore gantry and the end of the beam of the 52-inch pumping engine
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Raleighs Cross mine. Looking up towards the mouth of Engine Drift. Virtual reconstruction by Tim Dawson
8. Looking up towards the mouth of Engine Drift. The tramway is in the centre, the pump rod and rollers are on the left, and the gangway for the miners is on the right
Go to Raleighs Cross mine in pictures
Raleighs Cross mine buildings looking west in 1901
Go to Remains of the former Raleighs Cross mine head buildings
Remains of the former Raleighs Cross mine head buildings in June 2009
Go to Raleigh's Cross drawings
Raleighs Cross & Carnarvon Mines Sections