Preston under Scar – SE 078910


Keldheads Mill 1905 – Copyright © NMRS Records

This mill was built by the Keld Heads Mining Company soon after May 1851. Probably because of its proximity to good farming land, the latter company paid particular attention to cleaning the fumes from its mill. By 1859, therefore, the flue had been extended to a length of 3.3 kms, making it the longest in Yorkshire, and a Stokoe condenser was added before 1862.

A plan of the surface layout of Keldhead mine, made in 1866, shows the smelt mill, which was much more complex than Clough’s drawings. For example, there were two more flues, both of which joined those shown by Clough. One ran from the northern end of the slag mill and probably served another slag hearth. The other ran from a small building, adjoining the eastern end of the smelt mill proper, which probably housed a roasting furnace. Nevertheless, Percy’s account of the smelting regime at the mill in 1868 tells us that the ore was no longer calcined before being put in the ore-hearth.

It is not known when the mill closed. It was still working in 1882, when the Keld Heads Mining Company appeared in a list of smelting and metal extraction companies published by the Mining Journal. Dr Raistrick’s closure date for the mill, of about 1888, appears to be based on that for the closure of the mine, but it is more likely that the mill closed around 1884, because only the mine’s ore returns are recorded thereafter.

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