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Pennine Perspectives


Edited by R. D. Martlew
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New Light on the “Dark Ages” in North Craven


by David Johnson
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Interim report of the 2013 Chapel House Wood excavation


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Site last updated
19 September, 2020


Interview 1

Interview 2

Interview 1

He used to truck lime out of this quarry and Swinden in his younger days, for agricultural spreading.

1. Brown Hole Quarry was worked until the early 1960s.

2. the magnesian limestone here was favoured by some farmers as it prevented staggers (a magnesium deficiency disease) in sheep when spread on pasture. It was not burnt, but crushed finely.

3. stone from the Brown Hole was taken by dumpers from the quarry up to the crusher and hammer mill in the top quarry (near the present weighbridge).

4. spreading stopped in 1972 as the goverment subsidy was stopped.

5. the tramway to the station was in use until the early 1960s – possibly until the kilns closed.

6. the concrete structure in the Brown Hole was the base for a temporary crusher – not successful. It was built after the tramways were removed.

7. Websters carted from Threshfield and spread carboniferous lime around Knaresborough and Ripon where only magnesian. limestone was found as many farmers preferred white lime, though it was no better.

8. the kilns also supplied cheaper products for the land like kibble spread at 1.50 ton per acre; and ‘small lime’ which was very fine and awful to spread. Sheep farmers tended to buy this.

9. Bell Bank Quarry must either have been pre-Delaney (which I doubt) or very early Delaney, and must have been near the present entrance to the Brown Hole.

Interviewer: David Johnson 28 February 2008


Interview 2

Uncle farmed at Wood Nook 1919 – 1964

Spent time at his Uncle’s farm, as a boy. Always interested in the tramways – used to watch the trucks at the quarry, until his late teens.

1. Tramway – 2ft .6” gauge, double truck. Continuous cable – hook on top of truck; moving cable joined onto hook. Cable went over pulley at top, which released the cable from the truck. Continuous process at approx. walking speed – could walk along side them.
2. Trucks stopped in early ‘60’s – quarry changed hands, didn’t use sidings but changed to road transport.
Loud ‘crash’ as trucks were tipped in – stone came up from the quarry and was tipped into the kiln at the top; coal from the main tramway tipped into the kiln half way up.

3. His cousin worked at the quarry – knew Fred Dicken who worked as a lime-drawer. Gusty wind caused ‘blow-back’ in the tunnel and workers had to run.

4. In approx. 1957 man was blown off gantry in Brown Hole, by strong wind and killed.  No protective clothing, used to get lime on skin, slaked by sweat. Went home covered in dust (as at all quarries) – did not hear of any illnesses resulting from exposure, or dust.

5. If pieces of stone from the quarry face were too large, they were “pop-blasted” – small charge put in to break it up. Sometimes if charge too big, pieces of stone reached Wood Nook, a quarter of a mile away! One cracked large plate glass window of the house.

6. Lots of black smoke on firing of the kilns, drifted over the landscape – always a slight haze over the quarry.

7. His cousin and friends played round the kilns in the evening, after 5pm when all the men went home. The entrance to the quarry was left open and the kilns continued burning overnight. 
Interviewer: Ruth Spencer 27 February 2008

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