Roseberry Common

A glorious morning on Roseberry. The light overnight snow has highlighted the scars left by 19th century jet mining. The spoil still sterile after all these years. The hard black fossil of the Monkey Puzzle tree has been prized for jewellery since the Bronze Age but it was made fashionable by Queen Victoria after the death of her beloved Albert. Jet is found in a particular stratum of shale and the remains of the drifts can be seen all along the Cleveland Hills. On Roseberry Common the stratum was close enough to the surface to justify open cast mining although enterprises were small scale family run affairs with the women folk and children picking over the spoil after being dug out by the men. By the 1870s the fashion was beginning to wain and the importation of softer quality jet from Spain finally killed off the industry. Whitby jet is still carved from pieces found on the beach below the cliffs however don’t be mislead by imported jet which has a more brownish colour.
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One Reply to “Roseberry Common”

  1. Erratum: recent research has cast doubt on jet mining being mere small scale affairs with drift extending 15 metres or so into the hillside. I’ll expand this in a future posting.

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