© Copyright Mick Garratt and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

© Copyright Mick Garratt and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Reeth – NY 975005

Interestingly, whilst the Old Gang mill was one of the largest in the area, a search of the archives has failed to reveal either when it was built or closed. Nevertheless, there are some clues. For example, the mill is shewn on the first edition of the O.S. 1/10560 sheet for the area, which was surveyed in 1854. Moreover, because the Old Gang mill’s flues unite before being led into the old flue via the New mill’s southern hearth, the Old Gang mill could be built without interrupting smelting. The New mill would have to stop working, however, when the connection was made and any openings were sealed up. The only detectable break in smelting was between February and April in 1846 which, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is the date proposed for the transfer of smelting to the Old Gang mill.

As with many similar ventures, the mill was not suddenly closed but it limped on for around fifteen years. Dr Raistrick wrote that it had stopped serious smelting by 1885, which is reasonable, but gave no date of closure. Clough, on the other hand, noted that, according to Mr Hannam Place, “the last ore was smelted in 1898, but for several years prior to this date very little work had been done”. The Government mineral statistics show that the Old Gang mines ore yielded about 74 per cent lead until 1888 and it was only 54 per cent thereafter. This change coincided with the demise of the Old Gang Mining Company and the start of the Old Gang Mining Company Ltd, which also sold parcels of its ore to outside smelters. Nevertheless, the mill smelted in small way until at least October 1899, and possibly until 1903. By 1913, however, the mill had closed and the mine was selling its ore to John Walton & Co. at Castleside.

Old Gang and Surrender were the largest AD smelt mills, but there were another five mills in the AD liberties.

Further information and references can be found in:

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