A new book commemorating the equivalent of a local gold rush 150 years ago has just been published. In this case it wasn't gold, but a special cherry red ironstone in the Churnet Valley, between Consall Forge & Froghall and Ipstones & Kingsley.
Millions of tons of it were to be found from 1853 up to 1923 when the last mine - Cherry Eye Mine - closed. Unfortunately, the founder of the deposit also died 150 years ago, within weeks of making his discovery. He was William Bishop of Hazles Cross, near Kingsley.
For ten hours a day, four boats laden with bright red ore, passed the Black Lion Inn at Consall Forge compared with 1 boat laden with limestone.
Consall Forge was no longer producing iron in 1853, it had closed about 100 years before that having started work in the mid 1600s. The earliest ironworks in the valley would seem to be at Eastwall and dating from at least 1290. A forge at Oakamoor (later part of Bolton's copper works) was operating in 1573, giving over 600 years of iron working in the valley.
Now many of the tramway, mills and other reminders have become completely overgrown or destroyed, but the hamlet of Consall Forge with its popular pub (The Black Lion) and its steam railway is a reminder that the area was once heavily industrialised with pits and mills, trains, tramways and canal traffic: it's a far cry from today's ramblers, the mature reserves and quietly moving canal boats.
This 96 page, £7.95 paperback recalls the former days in detail, with plenty of maps and illustrations indicating what was where.
Landmark Publishing Limited,
Cokayne Avenue ,
Telephone 01335 347349 Facsimile 01335 347303
web site: www.landmarkpublishing.co.uk
Return to the authors index