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Copper mining in Richmondshire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Hornshaw, Thomas R. (1972) Copper mining in Richmondshire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Copper mining has been carried on sporadically in Richmondshire since the 15th century, but the period of most intense activity was in the mid-18th century in Middleton Tyas, where there are several richly, but patchily, mineralized veins. The land through which the veins run was owned by five landowners and the inevitable disputes over boundaries and drainage led to litigation and violence. The operation of the mines however was usually carried on by lessees, often working partnerships of miners, rather than directly by the owners. Three main sources of information survive. The correspondence between Leonard Hartley and William Brown preserved in the letter's letterbook illustrates the technical problems, particularly of drainage, and gives an early account of the working of a steam engine. Details of the commercial problems of another partnership of owners, can be gleaned from the accounts kept by their agent Ralph Hutchinson for the period 1742-1767. These give information not only of costs and wages but also of the profitability of the enterprise. A picture of the industry in decline is found in the report written by Gabriel Jars in 1765, the only contemporary descriptive account. By 1780 this phase of activity was virtually dead. In the mid-19th century mining was revived elsewhere in the parish by a partnership, later transformed into a Public Company, and served later by an associated Railway Company. Though the Mining Company failed to realise its hopes, it was its association with this ailing Railway Company which finally ruined it. The last attempt to win copper in the area was carried on with minimal capital at Billy Banks between 1906 and.1912. From the period of optimism in the '1750's, when every process was carried out on site the industry had come to this small scale scratching, where the ore was not even washed. Even this proved unprofitable, the mine closed before the First World War, and to date this concludes the history of copper mining in the area.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1972
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:39

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