EASY UNDERGROUND – underground via the fan drift behind the 1919 Sirocco Fan House.
First port of call underground was the large 1914 ventilation furnace, originally at the base of a shaft to surface, this provided the mine with ventilation before the installation of the Sirocco fan, artefacts such as a miners shoe and oil-can were observed in this area.
We then crossed into No.2 drift, which contains utility pipes for compressed air, fresh water and waste water. The fresh water pipe is actually travelling out-bye being served by a borehole to surface 3000ft in-bye. A few hardy souls explored the No.2 drift although they were soon driven back by the poor air conditions.
Going out-bye along No.2 drift we came to the original small ventilation furnace which dates from the opening of the mine around 1908, from here it’s possible to cross over into No.1 drift the main haulage way, where remains of the haulage and signalling cables can be found. The group pushed in-bye to pay a very brief visit to the first return wheel for the main and tail haulage system, where the air quality was again poor.
After a hasty retreat into more pleasant conditions, the next destination was across into No.3 drift, where there are remains of another haulage system with cables and guides. The haulage cable in No.3 drift pulled wagons from 3640 yards in-bye to a siding 760 yards in-bye where they were transferred onto the haulage cable we had previously seen in No.1 drift, this took them out of the mine and to the top of the incline.
In this drift the group spent some time picking over a pile of ironstone which had never been left in the mine, this contained numerous fossil remain of Pecten shells and rotary drill marks from its extraction.
Returned to daylight in sunshine, we investigated the various surface remains including the 1919 fanhouse, foundations of the winding drum at the head of the incline and hauler foundations with their 1921 date stone still to be found on the ground.