Snailbeach Smith's shop

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Oct 19, 2011
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Up a creek without wellies
I was just reading borntobemild's thread ref Tankerville mine and was reminded of excursions of mine [excursions of mine! :lol:) in 1983 or so.

Due to the needs of my job I had to move from Stevenage to Shrewsbury and was very pleased to be presented with a whole new area to explore.

Sorry,,,, no pictures of my own,,,,can't find them after all this time!!

I love mines so started to research everything within reasonable distance. Not too far away was an area littered with old and forgotten lead-mines the biggest being at Snailbeach which shut as a mine in about 1912. When I visited there was not much preservation of the remains and very little information available in books or the net,,, so I got what old maps I could find and spent many happy days forcing my way through undergrowth and identifying remains.

One day I was trying to find the old smith's shop and an adjacent vertical shaft,,,,,, the undergrowth and tree growth was almost impenetrable but my blundering eventually revealed the collapsed head-gear of the shaft ,,,

,,from the shaft I knew where the smithy was,,, so pressed on and eventually found the building and a window that was ajar. It was the window to the right in this picture,,,,,

Inside was a wonderland,, the smithy had been abandoned with all it's tools ad work-in-hand intact. It looked as though the doors had been shut at the end of a normal working day,,,

The leather bellows still worked and raised a cloud of dust from the ash remaining in the hearth,, there were all the tools of a blacksmith left on the benches and in their racks on the walls and there were loads of mechanical bits and pieces littered around.

I found the anvil and this was cracked ,,,,I was later told by a local blacksmith that it was a Shropshire tradition to "fire" the anvil when a smith shop ceased working to mark the closure,,,,,,,,,,,, the square hole in the anvil would be filled with explosive and tamped in with clay, and then set off,,,,cracking the anvil.

Not long after my visit the mine site was "preserved" and on open days the mine buildings and adits can be visited. Pleasingly the smith-shop still has much of it's equipment in place,,, one example where the vandals and thieves didn't get their strange pleasure from a building

It's all a lot tidier now,,,,they have rebuilt the headgear and cleaned up the smithy,,not to mention clearing the undergrowth

Smithy in centre,,,engine house with blocked up door on left,, it is sid it would have served the shaft on right behind fence but the alignment is wrong??

It looks as though they have re-built the brickwork

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