Littleborough’s History From aerial view of Littleborough taken in 1905 when tramway/plateway still in use Mine entrance. Note chains and plate rails on incline                                                        Short section of plate rail as excavated Aerial view of Mines and Plateway taken in 1926

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Upper Trenches

Remains of a brick building containing many pieces of discarded ironwork were uncovered sized 16’ x 12’ 4” with the doorway situated at the back facing the hillside. The ironwork uncovered within the buildings included iron wedges, hooks and the broken heads of two miners picks together with many other pieces of discarded ironwork, These items and coal and slag indicate that the building had been the blacksmiths shop.


Two trenches outside the building revealed a drainage system which was  in fact draining the mine entrance.  The mine entrance was not located due to land use changes over time.

 

Excavation at the rear of the smithy building exposed a stone built walkway that had been laid between the plate-way rails presumably to allow for grip when pushing the tubs to and from the upper eastern mine entrance. This plate-way had connected onto the incline at right angles so presumably some sort of turntable or flat iron plate must have been employed to turn the tubs.,


A complete section of cast iron plate-way rail, just under 49” long, was also discovered. Now been cleaned off, the rail now resides in Littleborough’s History Centre.


Exterior excavations of the buildings western edge revealed an elaborate stone and brick flooring complete with associated drainage systems. It was concluded that this was the locations of the boiler and steam engine, presumably a vertical boiler with a blow down drain. Judging by the size and shape of the floor area of the engine house a small horizontal steam engine must have been used and had been installed on a wooden mount. A drain had been put in to allow for the removal of condensate water from the engines cylinder. How the engine was connected to the endless chain haulage system is as yet unknown.


Still visible in the area are some large terracotta pipes set vertically  and these may mark the entrance more clearly.

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