Gannister Mine, Oughtibridge, Sheffield, August 2020

Help Support Derelict Places:

HughieD

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
DP Supporter
Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
5,338
Reaction score
10,729
Location
People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
1. The History
This small ganister mine can be found high up in Wharnecliffe woods, north of Oughtibridge, high above a valley created by the erosion of the River Don. On the outcrops on the western-facing slopes of the River Don, there were a number of small ganister mines here. Ganister itself is a close-grained, quartzose sandstone found in the coal measures of northern England. Consisting of over 90% silica with traces of alumina and lime, it was used in the manufacture of silica bricks, which were typically used to line furnaces in the iron and steel making process.

The mine entrance is located at the side of Waterfall Clough, a small stream that flows south-west down the slope of the woods into the River Don. The mine is most likely to have been owned by the Oughtibridge Silica Fire Brick company due south of the mine, located 0.6km south of the mine as the bird flies. The company was founded in 1856 before Gannister was widely used, so initially used other refractory materials such as pot clay.

The lofty location of the mine allowed the gravity of the tramline to take the ganister down the slope to the Great Central railway line between Manchester and Sheffield. Opened in 1845, this then facilitated the short remaining leg to the works themselves. Dropping the “Oughtibridge” from its name, the works and mines prospered and found themselves at the centre of particular strategic influence during the second world war. In 1947 the works were taken over by the Steetley company in 1947. In the 1980s the southern half of the former Silica Fire Brick site was redeveloped for housing while the remaining north half was taken over by Intermet Refractory Products Ltd who still occupy the site today.

In terms of our little mine, its hard to determine when it opened and when it closed. However best guesses are that it opened in the 1860s and closed sometime around the finish of World War Two.

Old O/S map showing (1) the location of the mine, (2) the tramway linking the mine with the Great Central Railway and (3) Silica Fire Brick Works:

20200816_191725 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Silica Fire Brick Works, pictured in 1910:

20200819_112437 by HughieDW, on Flickr

An advert from the 1960s for Oughtibridge silica bricks:

Oughtibridge ad 1960 by HughieDW, on Flickr

2. The Explore
All credit has to go to @tarkovsky for this one. Without him first finding this place and then giving us a really accurate pin, we’d never have found it. It’s up a pretty steep hill and it’s not the easiest place to find, especially when it’s tipping down. Maps indicate there are 3 separate adits in total here. One no one appears to have found. Of the other two, the larger one has been blocked with backfill. This leaves the small adit we explored. It also has had its entrance back-filled in the past; however, a small landslide appears to have exposed the top of the arched brick adit entrance. The gap is big enough to squeeze into the arched initial chamber. Straight ahead at the end there appears to have been a rockfall. However, at the back to the left is an aperture small enough to crawl through that takes you into a larger chamber. The far end is flooded and goes round the corner to the left before reaching a dead end.

It’s a small little mine but we spent the best part of an hour in here taking pictures and enjoying the peace and quiet before trekking back down the hill.

3. The Pictures

Most definitely NOT picture heavy as it’s only a small little mine.

Outside looking in:

Wharncliffe 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And on the inside looking out:

Oughtibridge mine 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The arched entrance in full:

img8217 by HughieDW, on Flickr

There are some pretty coloured rocks:

Oughtibridge mine 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

You can see the small coal seam on this one:

Oughtibridge mine 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Small aperture to the right once you’ve squeezed into the main part of the mine:

img8212 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking down the second chamber:

img8206 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img8213 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Note the rotten former wooden roof supports to the left:

img8207 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking back to the 1st chamber and exit:

img8202 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img8200 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Struggled getting decent pictures of the flooded section to the left:

img8183 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

Roderick

Well-known member
DP Supporter
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
138
Reaction score
139
Location
Derbyshire
Well there's a strange thing, from your description and location on the map I was sure it was the same Gannister mine I went in in those woods a few years ago. Even the interior looked quite similar but the entrance is completely different, (and it certainly didn't have technicolor leaves then lol)
This was the entrance I went in
O gan.jpg

So You must have found another one. Was there a frightening looking BMX track not too far away on the way up? In the one I went in there were a few old kids toys and it looked like somebody had been helping themselves to the odd bucket of coal. There are any number of curious underground tunnels and holes full of smelly water/mosquitoes in those woods.
There is a gannister mine in Hutcliffe woods near where I grew up too, though I never knowingly saw it even though me and my mates spent a lot of time making cycle tracks etc round there. I must go back and have a go at finding it though you have to be careful with the air in those mines because of the coal using up the oxygen.
 

yvettelancaster

Regular Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
28
Reaction score
35
1. The History
This small ganister mine can be found high up in Wharnecliffe woods, north of Oughtibridge, high above a valley created by the erosion of the River Don. On the outcrops on the western-facing slopes of the River Don, there were a number of small ganister mines here. Ganister itself is a close-grained, quartzose sandstone found in the coal measures of northern England. Consisting of over 90% silica with traces of alumina and lime, it was used in the manufacture of silica bricks, which were typically used to line furnaces in the iron and steel making process.

The mine entrance is located at the side of Waterfall Clough, a small stream that flows south-west down the slope of the woods into the River Don. The mine is most likely to have been owned by the Oughtibridge Silica Fire Brick company due south of the mine, located 0.6km south of the mine as the bird flies. The company was founded in 1856 before Gannister was widely used, so initially used other refractory materials such as pot clay.

The lofty location of the mine allowed the gravity of the tramline to take the ganister down the slope to the Great Central railway line between Manchester and Sheffield. Opened in 1845, this then facilitated the short remaining leg to the works themselves. Dropping the “Oughtibridge” from its name, the works and mines prospered and found themselves at the centre of particular strategic influence during the second world war. In 1947 the works were taken over by the Steetley company in 1947. In the 1980s the southern half of the former Silica Fire Brick site was redeveloped for housing while the remaining north half was taken over by Intermet Refractory Products Ltd who still occupy the site today.

In terms of our little mine, its hard to determine when it opened and when it closed. However best guesses are that it opened in the 1860s and closed sometime around the finish of World War Two.

Old O/S map showing (1) the location of the mine, (2) the tramway linking the mine with the Great Central Railway and (3) Silica Fire Brick Works:

20200816_191725 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Silica Fire Brick Works, pictured in 1910:

20200819_112437 by HughieDW, on Flickr

An advert from the 1960s for Oughtibridge silica bricks:

Oughtibridge ad 1960 by HughieDW, on Flickr

2. The Explore
All credit has to go to @tarkovsky for this one. Without him first finding this place and then giving us a really accurate pin, we’d never have found it. It’s up a pretty steep hill and it’s not the easiest place to find, especially when it’s tipping down. Maps indicate there are 3 separate adits in total here. One no one appears to have found. Of the other two, the larger one has been blocked with backfill. This leaves the small adit we explored. It also has had its entrance back-filled in the past; however, a small landslide appears to have exposed the top of the arched brick adit entrance. The gap is big enough to squeeze into the arched initial chamber. Straight ahead at the end there appears to have been a rockfall. However, at the back to the left is an aperture small enough to crawl through that takes you into a larger chamber. The far end is flooded and goes round the corner to the left before reaching a dead end.

It’s a small little mine but we spent the best part of an hour in here taking pictures and enjoying the peace and quiet before trekking back down the hill.

3. The Pictures

Most definitely NOT picture heavy as it’s only a small little mine.

Outside looking in:

Wharncliffe 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And on the inside looking out:

Oughtibridge mine 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The arched entrance in full:

img8217 by HughieDW, on Flickr

There are some pretty coloured rocks:

Oughtibridge mine 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

You can see the small coal seam on this one:

Oughtibridge mine 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Small aperture to the right once you’ve squeezed into the main part of the mine:

img8212 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking down the second chamber:

img8206 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img8213 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Note the rotten former wooden roof supports to the left:

img8207 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking back to the 1st chamber and exit:

img8202 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img8200 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Struggled getting decent pictures of the flooded section to the left:

img8183 by HughieDW, on Flickr
Brill report Cheers
 

Gripper66

Regular Member
Joined
May 28, 2019
Messages
10
Reaction score
9
Good bit of work, remember my Dad showing these to me in the 1960's. he worked a Fox's steelworks and told me how the gannister was used. He build a greenhouse base from the bricks, hardest bricks ever.
 

Latest posts

Top