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Thread: Godstone Main Series, Surrey Mines

  1. #1
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    Default Godstone Main Series, Surrey Mines


    For those of you who drive around the M25 with any regularity, here is something to think about the next time you are going between Junctions 8 and 6. Deep inside the North Downs there are miles and miles of mines and underground quarries which were the bedrock (pardon the pun) of Southern industry for almost 300 years. Godstone Main Series is probably the largest collection of these quarries and mines, taking up about four and half miles underneath the A22. Firestone and Hearthstone were certainly mined at Godstone as early as the 17th century, and mining of some sort was continued here up until the First World War, after which the tunnels were used as a Mushroom farm and air raid shelters during World War 2. For the pedants among you the series is both a mine and an underground quarry; Firestone, which is a building material was cut in square blocks, as in traditional quarrying. Hearthstone on the other hand (contrary to that which its name suggests) is a mineral compound, like coal or tin and so is mined...and bloody messy it is too appearing everywhere as a kind of greeny-gray dust. Anyway, this was an organised trip, which is the only way you can get in there these days, and a good job too as there are clearly some very hairy sections were the walls and roof look very dodgy, so play safe kids and go to http://www.wcms.org.uk/index.shtml for more details of how you can get inside. Anyway on with the pics....

    This is probably the best picture I took, and was of the largest open gallery which is about 300ft down from the mine's entrance. We sat here for a bit, so I was able to do a long exposure with my slave flash going a bit, so it came out ok. It does give a sense of the green-ness of the hearthstone.


    There is a lot of dry stone wall which is there to stop collapses from the side. A large chunk of this fell down on my ankle while I was scrambling through a passage (alright, struggling through) and it realllllly hurt!



    In this mine, unlike Marden (see separate post) most of the propping is railway sleepers. The numbers and letters refer to the different routes through the mine/ quarry that the miners would take.



    There was also a plateway (using plate rails) and a rutway (just grooves in the floor) along which horses use to pull wagons of stone. You can still see bits of this in situ in places.
    First the rutway...

    ...then the plateway


    There is also lots of graffiti down the mine which give clues to its past as a mine, a mushroom farm, an air raid shelter, a temporary scout camp and even quite possibly an IRA ammo dump (see the last bit of graffiti - my gaelic is a bit rusty but I think it says "For the glory of God and honour of Ireland").




    At some points the roof of the mine is so close to the surface of the A22 above that roots are growing down through the roof!

    There is also a whole load of other stuff down there including some nice archaelogical finds (clay pipes, bottles and whatnot) that have been hauled out by the blokes that cleaned it up.

    This is a pile of sulphur ash which was used for fumigation purposes

    A water pipe left by mushroom farmers

    An old water cistern for the same purpose

    An old tyre (of course)


    The quarry also connects to a number of other quarries which have not yet been re-opened. This is a passage to Arch Quarry which has partially collapsed.


    And finally of course, there was always a bit of time for some (not very good) light writing.




    Anyway, hope you enjoy it. You can see more at
    http://s336.photobucket.com/albums/n...Main%20Series/
    More to come on Marden Mine later!

    GDZ
    Last edited by godzilla73; 13th Oct 09 at 19:14.
    "You never planned on the bombs in the sand/Or sleeping in your dress blues."

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  3. #2
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    Looks like fun. I've not been down Godstone but I've done one of the other local mines/quarries which you had to shimmy down 2 oil drums to get into.
    Look out, we're being invaded
    Hang on to your head
    We're being raided.

  4. #3
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    Yeah- this was a bit hairy, though no oil drums involved. A tiny two foot square entrance and then down about a five foot drop to a loose breeze block!
    "You never planned on the bombs in the sand/Or sleeping in your dress blues."

  5. #4
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    Thumbs up


    Nice one GZ, I've been all through the woodland around the entrance there, I spent years wondering what bat infested maze was behind there Great seeing more pics:)
    Aversos Compono Animos

  6. #5
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    Hi Mate

    Looks like it was a good day, pitty I had to miss out, hope you get to the next one.

    Cheers Newage

  7. #6
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    Cheers guys - yeah, it was a great day. Bloody dirty and knackering, but still great! Chaldon next,apparently an even bigger mine, sometime in March.
    "You never planned on the bombs in the sand/Or sleeping in your dress blues."


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