History of Lindal & Marton
|A village community at the heart of Furness|
These seven photos of Daylight Hole were taken by Bob Mullen. Please click on each photo to enlarge.
This introduction contains information from "Underground in Furness", by Eric Holland. 1960. The Dalesman Publishing Company.
Daylight Hole is a large artificial cavern excavated by iron ore miners, believed to have been abandoned around 1911. The mine was originally worked by the Pennington Mining Company, and later by Harrison Ainslie and Company.
The entrance is on private land close to Whinfield Farm, at the bottom of a 150 feet deep crater. The main chamber is 240 feet long, 126 feet wide and in some places over 60 feet high. A deep lake occupies half of the floor area, and the other half is occupied by large boulders and debris from roof collapses. Passages are carved through the solid limestone, leading away from the main chamber. Some of these still contain railway lines and abandoned iron ore bogies, complete with buckets of axle grease. Some of the passageways have collapsed and lower levels are visible through holes in the floors. The cavern and passageways are liable to flooding, and in view of the number of previous collapses evident, the place can only be described as a very dangerous mine.
Cumbria Amenity Trust Mining History Society Newsletter No 72
Members of Lindal and Marton Residents' Association, together with members of Cumbria Amenity Trust (CAT) Mining History Society, visited Daylight Hole several times in 2003. The object of the visits was to find and remove one of the old iron-ore bogies from the mine, so that it could be preserved and displayed to the public. The following two articles, photos and map are reproduced from CAT Newsletter No 72 dated August 2003, by kind permission of its editor, Ian Matheson.
Daylight Hole, Evening Meet, 11th June 2003
Meet leader Peter Fleming, being recently out of hospital following an operation, attended but didn’t go underground. Paul Timewell took on the role of underground leader and guide.
There was a surprisingly good turnout for this meet. In addition to Peter & Paul, there were Mark Simpson, Ian Matheson, Peter Sandbach, Mark Scott and Dave Robson. Pete Blezzard and Ann Danson put in a brief appearance at the start, but wisely declined to venture underground. There were also two residents of Lindal, Alan Postlethwaite and Richard Quirk, who is also a CAT member. The Lindal & Marton Residents Association are concerned that evidence of Furness Iron mining heritage is disappearing fast, and some remains at least should be preserved. They are also interested in obtaining one of the original ore tubs in Daylight Hole in order to create a heritage feature on Lindal Green.
It is about twelve years since I last enjoyed a visit to a Furness haematite mine, and I vowed then that it would be my last. Time must have dimmed my recollection of the filthy red mud. It will be another ten years at least before I go again. By then the red stains on my clothing might have faded.
We clambered down the steep slope of the entrance crater into the Daylight Hole, and Paul led us along some reasonably upstanding passages to view the ore tubs. There are four of them, standing where the rails would have been, beside Fraigle Shaft All are in good condition, except that the wooden chassis have rotted away, allowing the body of the tubs to settle onto the wheels. There is a fifth tub, partially buried in the spoil which has been tipped down Fraigle Shaft. Apparently there was once a sixth tub. I am told that one of the founders of our society, not now a member, once tried to retrieve it. His rope broke whilst he was hauling it out, and it disappeared into the depths of the lake!
The two Lindal bods set about digging out the buried tub, aided by Peter Sandbach and Mark Scott, whilst the rest of us followed Paul to view the workings. This is not always possible, as the winter water table floods the levels up to roof height. Fortunately on this occasion the water was quite low, and we were able to proceed. This involved two crawls and a small climb, which in a clean mine would pose very little difficulty. In a haematite mine they are an opportunity to get covered in red gloop. The Furness people, used to such conditions, thought nothing of it but those members from outside the peninsula, notably the Chairman and Membership Secretary, were not best pleased. We passed Central Chamber, slithered through the tube, and found ourselves at the back of Fraigle Shaft, where we could hear the diggers at work. We continued along Sheep Walk and passed Wicks Shaft and Chamber. This is often full of water, but on this occasion it was dry. Wicks Shaft is now blocked, but it used to allow light to penetrate to this spot, and Peter Fleming and I recall visiting it years ago when there were several bloated dead sheep floating in the water. Some crows had flown down the shaft, gorged on the carcasses, and were too heavy to fly out again. Lovely place! We continued as far as the junction with the Sad Series before retracing our steps.
The diggers had excavated around the buried tub, but the suction of the mud would not let it go, so it was left for another time. Anyway, permission will have to be obtained before it can be removed. After a bit of a clean up some of us adjourned to the Anchor Inn nearby.
Ore Bogie Removal
Artefact to place on Lindal Green. By Richard Quirk
This idea came about from a (Lindal & Marton) Residents Association meeting, when it was suggested that we should have something of the iron industry to help locals identify with this important aspect of our heritage. Having surveyed part of Daylight Hole when I was a young lad a hundred years ago, I arranged to show a few of us from the RA (not ‘Royal Academy’) around the workings on 20th June.
All were duly impressed, and agreed the ore bogie would be a great feature on the green, post landscaping. Our next visit (as we couldn’t keep away), included CAT members Paul Timewell and co. who stayed with us to the end. Helen, the RA chairman/woman/ person (for the benefit of PC people) enjoyed the experience of red muddy water running down her back after losing her helmet on the floor of the tunnel in a convenient pool.
The bogie chosen was half buried at the shaft run in, and as I was the only one to bring a shovel in preparation, I did not want to be greedy – so let everyone have a share. We did manage to get some movement that night, accompanied by much squelching from the suction which was determined to hang onto its treasure.
The following week, a concerted effort using a turfer and bolts saw the bogie removed from the ooze and left sitting on its end to allow some of the mud to fall off?
All tooled up for digging the following Friday the bogie was pushed/dragged along the rails and across the rough bits till it was at a half blocked section about 60 ft from the entrance. The next bit was the hard bit! Mud and rock removal got underway and by the use of scaffold planks and other bits the bogie was gradually inched forward. At one point accompanied by piecing screams from one who had his wellies stuck fast in the red evostick; he was concerned about being run over by the rapid progress of the bogie (5ft/hour). It was then brought forward almost to daylight and left for another week. I must admit, I was as worried about leaving it so close to the outside as a person would be about leaving their car on a street in the Gorbals.
Next Friday, my faith in human nature restored – it was not sitting on bricks with the wheels gone! The next bit was the hard bit! – getting it over the boulders in the main chamber without crushing anyone. With scaffold planks, steel conduit and lots of verbal it came over the biggest gap. It was then back to some more digging to be able to cross haul it where there was some flat ground? (well I was told it was flat). As it was now fully exposed in all its glory we had to come back the next day (Saturday, I was still worried about the vandal element!).
Those who know Daylight hole know how steep the funnel is. Luckily it was a glorious dry day when we should have been with the families – but a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. The hand winch was duly rigged to a convenient tree along with a safety line, (the site been nobly cleared by CAT previously). The ground was still soft in places, the bogie was heavy and the winch wire was thin, but as was pointed out, the bogie had by now acquired mud tyres. When we reached the corner we had to tie it off and move the winch to the next tree.
The next bit was the hardest bit! As it was steeper it required the long scaffold planks to help it up and reduce the load on the thin winch wire. Two brave/mad souls kept hold of the bogie to guide it up the ramp. At the top it had to be cross hauled away from the tree roots and the winch re-rigged again. As the safety rope also needed re-rigging the bogie was held on a wire sling (thin wire sling).
The next bit was the hard bit! As we had to cross the slope diagonally and needed an extra rope to keep it upright. Alan (who is a retired vicar and therefore has his place reserved) was on the more dodgy side. At last we got to the hard bit, this was the very steep final slope which was rough and required more planks which kept wanting to slide down.
Suddenly we were on the path! The sun blazed down and bogie which seemed so big on the way up now looked like a dolls pram. We waited for Paul to bring the trailer round and in no time the bogie was secured. As I had a pressure washer at home we headed up to give it a wash, … and the trailer … and the road … and the rear of the Landrover. My wife deflating me with the comment ‘I thought it was bigger than that and it's taken all these weeks…’
After a cup of tea I waved a fond farewell to the bogie with a tear in my eye for a job well done. It is now in store (at the FMA Roanhead store, Ed) awaiting its final glory in Lindal.
PS As a sign of RA appreciation, a meal and beers were provided the following weekend at the Anchor for all the hard graft that was put in. Thanks to all involved.
Dick Quirk RA and CAT