Mines & Quarries
The West Cumbrian Iron boom of 1850-1880 had a profound affect on the Lamplugh area which has good deposits of both limestone and iron ore. The high quality of West Cumbrian haematite meant that it was worth the considerable cost of mining it, at least until the Gilchrist process allowed iron makers to use lesser quality ores that could be more easilly obtained. Thus the mining in the area declined as quickly as it arrived, leaving plenty of evidence on the landscape in form of spoil heaps, subsidance and railway trackbeds.
In the 1850's, trenches and then horizontal drifts were started in Harris Side on Murton Fell, their spoil heaps still visible above the course of the old railway line whose embankment is still clearly visible. Much larger spoil heaps towards Keltonfell Top mark the location of Kelton mine where three shafts were sunk. By the 1870's production was sufficient to justify the boring of a 1,000 yard long drainage adit from Knockmurton, emptying below Cogra Moss, and the building of the Kelton Fell Railway.
Compared with the other mines in the area, Knockmurton and Kelton, were relatively inaccessible, and the cost of cartage down to the railway at Rowrah was a prohibitive three and six a ton (17.5p). William Baird & Co, like many other mine owners in the area, financed the building of their own Railway, running from Knockmurton via, Kirkland and Stockhow Hall quarry to join the Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont Railway (WC&ER) at Rowrah. The old photograph right shows the mine manager's house and other mining and railway buildings at Knockmurton, now demolished.
Coronation Pit, actually a collection of iron ore mines as the photograph left shows, was behind what is now known as the Lamplugh Tip pub, and their spoil heaps are still visible from the main road.
As can be seen from the detail right, ore from these mines was carried by an aerial ropeway to Wright Green Sation about a mile and a half away. They finally closed in 1930, long after many of their neigbours, producing around 50,000 tons a year in their hayday.
Eskett, Eskett Park, and Winder, below Eskett quarry
The remains of the old quarry of Stockhow Hall is now well hidden by woodland, given away only by the two railway spurs that once served it.
The leftmost spur is actually part of the Kelton Fell Railway mentioned above, which passess over a tunnel between two sections of the quarry.
Stockhow Hall quarry worked older, thinner, more variable Limestones than the larger quarries in the area
Rowrah & Salter quarries were worked up until steel making ended at Workington in the 1970's and were on a much larger scale than Stockhow Hall, working the thickest, purest and most continous of the local bands of limestone.
Eskett is now the only working quarry left and needless to say has nothing to do with the iron industry, producing aggregates for road building and other civil engineering works.
Planning permission has been granted to extend the workings north to connect with those at Rowrah & Salter Hall, and south to the area of the Eskett and Eskett Park mines.