Made for the 2006 National Association of Mining History Organisations (NAMHO) conference at Llangollen in North Wales, this production explores the local extractive industries.
The area around the river Dee and Offa's Dike isn't one of the best known mining areas, but it had a rich and varied industrial history and there is a lot of evidence left to find. We start with one of the most prominent landmarks, the limestone escarpment of Trevor Rocks; and then visit the mines marked by impressive slate tips high up on the Berwyn mountains.
Slate mining and quarrying was very important and had a great impact on and in the landscape.
We see the one remaining quarry at work, cutting great slate blocks from the mountainside and slicing them into useful sizes.
The abandoned Deeside slab mill and quarry and the big mines at Glyn Ceiriog, Penarth and Moel Fferna are explored in depth. The complex networks of huge chambers have many underground remains including railway inclines and a precarious bridge crossing a deep void.
The fit and eager Industrial Archaeologist can find a wealth of industrial artefacts high on the slopes of the Berwyns.
On the surface are abandoned trucks for moving slate and waste rock, pressure vessels, haulage inclines with sheave wheels and brake levers, a weighbridge and many buildings.
Dressing sheds, machine houses, brakesman's cabins and a powder magazine all built of slate blocks still stand. Ironically, many had corrugated steel roofs and they haven't lasted well, with the remaining fragments flapping in the breeze!
The underground slate workings are complex and cavernous.
East of Llangollen we see how the building of the canal and Pontcysyllte aqueduct made that area a hive of industry.
Evidence of the widespread brick and teracotta trades is found, then we visit several coal mines including the preserved Bersham Colliery with its 670kVA electric winder and steel lattice headframe.
Other industrial monuments such as the stone vertical winding engine house of Wynnstay colliery and the buildings of Plas Power, Pen Rhos and Bersham ironworks lead us via the limestone industry of Esclusham mountain to Minera lead mine.
Southwards near Oswestry were more ancient coal, clay and iron workings, which formed a tight-knit industrial area dating back to the 15th century.
The National Association of Mining History Organisations, formed in 1979, acts as the national body for mining history in the United Kingdom.
Each year NAMHO members organise a conference on particular themes or locations. The conference can include lectures, field trips, and underground visits (depending upon the organisers). If you are interested in mining history the NAMHO Conference is ideal for meeting fellow mining historians and discovering more about the subject.
You can find out more about NAMHO, its aims, its members and its contribution to mining heritage, plus details of the next NAMHO Conference on the NAMHO website - www.namho.org
This was I.A.Recordings' first High Definition project. Standard definition DVD copies like this clearly benefit from the very high master quality.
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