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Meeting 6th June 2018.

Posted 12/6/2018

Railways Associated with Mining in Shropshire – Talk by Michael Shaw

At the Association’s meeting on 6 June Michael Shaw gave a very informative and detailed talk on the railways linked to the extractive mining industry of Shropshire. He is an author of books on the Lead, Copper and Barites Mines of the County as well as a more recent publication on the Mines of the Shrewsbury Coalfield. For our purposes he concentrated on the tramways and railways, and the locomotives and rolling stock which served these industries.

In his review of the lead, barites and copper mining he identified the different forms of rail track used ranging from plateways, T rail and conventional tracks. Surprisingly was the extent of the rail lines which served the various mines and their complexity. In respect of the barites mining in the Snailbeach area it is hard to imagine that between the two world wars Shropshire was probably the largest producer of barites in the country. Excellent slides were shown of some of the locomotives and wagons used in the industry.

Michael illustrated the extent of the Shrewsbury Coalfield and he referred to the main pits in this respect to the west of Shrewsbury at Hanwood, Arscott, Cruckmeole and Moat Hall with Hanwood being the last to close in the early 1940’s. He illustrated what few remains there were of this coal mining.

He completed his railway themed review of industry by referring to the timber and sawmill activities showing a track example still in situ in the floor of the National Trust’s shop at Attingham Park. He also made reference to the sandpit at Coton Hill which was connected to the main line railway. Local railways were also utilized at the Sentinel Works and the now named Centurion Park at Harlescott when it was in use as a very early Royal Flying Corps and later RAF base. The construction and later operation of Shelton Waterworks used a railway and inclined plane from the River Severn to the Water Tower. To complete the picture he brought us up to date by showing photos of the Ffestiniog locomotives which ran during the Shrewsbury Flower Show a few years ago.

This was a very much enjoyed presentation by Michael Shaw whose depth of knowledge on the extractive industries of Shropshire was clearly very apparent to all for which Members were very grateful.



David Evans

June 2018