Draycott Colliery probably closed in the 1940′s. A 1949 Ordnance Survey map shows the line back to the north portal of the tunnel and the exchange siding are still in place but the half mile of track into the colliery has been removed. Foxfield Colliery was the last survivor, finally closing in 1965. At that time Europa’s strategy was to create a balanced mining finance group with the three coal mining businesses generating the cash to fund their precious metals exploration activities centred in Western Europe and the US. Europa’s interests included a joint venture with Hecla Mining, exploring for gold in Montana; a platinum prospect in Bavaria; a joint venture exploration for gold in Alburquerque, Spain; and a gold concession at the mouth of the Pra River in Ghana. Europa also has a 22.7 per cent stake in Dana Exploration, an Irish exploration group, which has interests in Ireland, Ghana and Botswana. Europa’s faith in Draycott Cross was, however, short lived. The colliery closed early in 1991 and the land in the vicinity of the colliery was sold and the adits were sealed. In the summer of 1991, a few months after closure the railway tunnel was still accessible but it has subsequently been sealed and no further access is possible. There is no external evidence of the mine but when visited in 1991 although in the tunnel some sections of the narrow gauge track were still in place together with the cable haulage system and two upturned tubs. Beyond the adits the abandoned tunnel [...]
In the middle of a woodlands in Staffordshire, we stumbled across Westwood school, it seems the school was relocated half a mile down the road and this is what was left behind.
Herbert Couchman was chief engineer and architect to Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton of Burton upon Trent from 1891. This energetic and meticulous engineer designed an eighth malthouse at Shobnall for the firm in 1891, and then the reconstructed Plough Maltings, Horninglow Street, Burton, in 1899. Couchman was a versatile designer, becoming personally involved with the construction of everything from locomotives to churches in his time with Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton. His best known work was the development of the Sleaford Maltings complex in 1903-6. The Plough Maltings (Herbert Couchman, 1899-1902), opposite the former Coors Visitor Centre. This substantial red brick structure, currently thought to be threatened by redevelopment, was not a traditional floor maltings but a drum maltings.
The Water Margin, Chinese Restaurant, on A5 between Cannock and Brownhills, which has been closed for several months, is built on the site of a former 16th century Inn, called the Fleur de Lys, which was destroyed by fire in the 1940′s. The Water Margin has also been destroyed by arson in August 2011.
Moneystone Quarry has been quarried by the Sibelco Group since the late 1960′s for silica sands, mainly for the production of container glass and ceramics. All quarrying finally came to a stop on the 30th of September 2011 after a planning application to extend the quarry further was rejected. Laver Leisure purchased the 420 acre site to develop a new £50 million leisure complex with adventure and water sport facilities along with 150 self catering lodges
The sidings at Oakamoor are a relatively recent addition to the line’s history, and were first used as a siding to the quarry nearby. The sidings are currently used for storage as part of the Churnet Valley preserved Railway. When the line was first opened in 1849 there were no sidings at Oakamoor. The line originally ran between North Rode and Uttoxeter, primarily for heavy freight in and around the numerous limestone quarries and copper works dotted around the area. Further along the track is Oakamoor Tunnel which is 497 yards long, I didnt get to that part this time but will be heading back soon. Finally closed in 1964.
One of the last remaining family-owned pottery firms is to close after more than a century. J H Weatherby and Sons in Hanley is currently being run down and is will soon cease trading after 109 years. Its chairman, Christopher Weatherby, the great-great grandson of company founder John Henry Weatherby, today blamed cut-throat competition in the hotelware business for the firm’s decline. At its height the company employed 200, but the figure was down to 50 at the turn of the year and now stands at 10. Mr Weatherby said: ‘‘We have decided to cease trading and are in the process of finishing off stock and things like that. ‘‘Basically we’ve decided to close down before someone else forced us to – while we are solvent rather than insolvent. ‘‘It’s really upsetting. One of the main reasons is for the employees who work here. ‘‘We have had two or three generations of people working here and one of the things I’ve found warming is their reaction to this. ‘‘They have been very sympathetic and understanding. Everyone who works here has been very happy here.” The company was founded in Tunstall in 1891 and moved to Hanley the following year. It first made domestic ware such as basins and ewers, later moving into tableware and giftware. The firm also entered the market for hotelware – leading ultimately to its downfall. Mr Weatherby pointed to tough competition from home and abroad for the company’s current problems. These included pressure on prices owing to ‘‘block production” and [...]
Burton Superbowl at the Riverside center closed its doors in 2007 and is currently awaiting demolition. Surrounding the bowling alley are also several closted up shops, restaurants and even a couple of nightclubs.
This mill was built in 1771 for Henry Copestake who, along with his brother Thomas, ran a jewellery business from Uttoxeter. They were well known goldsmiths throughout the Midlands and the water mill was Henry’s pet idea for speeding up the process of lapidary, the polishing of gemstones, which was normally a long job to do by hand. This was before electricity was introduced. Water mills were utilised in various trades on the River Tean from Lower Tean down to the Cotton Mill Farm prior to joining the River Dove. There were six mills working the same water as it passed through.
Wredon is a large quarry situated on the north-east side of the main peak, and just off the A52 main road from Ashbourne. It is a limestone quarry, owned by Tarmac, i am not sure how long it has been out of use but the paperwork indicates it has been since about 2003.
Kevin Quarry was used to produce almost 40 different products: road materials of dry and coated stone and powders of ground limestone which are used in almost every industry. They are also to be found in face and talcum powder, household cleansers, plastics, etc. The quarry itself has been mothballed since 2003 but the plant is still active. Plenty of unused buildings around the site. Due to the active side we had to do a bit of ducking and diving to avoid being spotted by the workers.
“The tunnel that has been exposed is the tunnel for the mineral line that ran from Hednesford siding on the Cannock -Rugeley line up Green Heath Common (now Pye Green Valley) and was built by the West Cannock Colliery Company Ltd in 1871 to get their coals from No.1 & 4 plants at the top of the common (below Pye Green Valley school) were the new road ends and No.3 plant on the opposite side of Belt Rd to the Bridge Inn hence the name down onto the main line.” Alan Dean, Chairman of the Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society