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Traces of blast holes in Ralegh's Cross adit

Traces of blast holes in Ralegh's Cross adit
Traces of blast holes in Ralegh's Cross adit
ID 198
Name of collection
ENPA Collection
Chris Sampson
The picture shows the end of the blast holes in the adit wall that remained once  the charge of dynamite had  exploded.   Ralegh's Cross adit was driven in 1857.   
Blastholes were prepared using a hammer and chisel-pointed or serrated tipped drills, perhaps by gangs of three men or two men and a boy, whose job was to hold steady and rotate the chisels after each hammer blow.  Although made of wrought iron, the 18 mm diameter drills usually had a 25 mm diameter steel tip, which required regular sharpening by the mine blacksmith, a service for which individual miners had to pay.  Drills were of various lengths, the commonest being about 90 cm long, and were relentlessly pounded with a heavy hammer aided only by the light of flickering candles.  A pattern of holes was bored in the face of the level or the ‘back’ of the stope, filled with black powder and tamped with clay or deads into which a non-ferrous or wooden ‘pricker’ was inserted.  Once the tamping was thoroughly compacted, the pricker was withdrawn and replaced by a powder filled straw, the ‘quill’, as fuse.  When all was ready, usually at the end of the shift, the protruding straws were lit and the miners withdrew to a safe distance.
Time period 1926 – present
LocationBrendon Hill Village
Ralegh's Cross Mine