Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Guibal fanhouse, Skelton Shaft iron mine

Guibal fan-house, Skelton Shaft ironstone mine

A great visit around the surface remains of the Skelton Park and Skelton Shaft Ironstone Mines, guided by the knowledgeable Simon and Steve from the Cleveland Mining History Society (CMHS).

Along with the powder magazine, the fan-house at Skelton Shaft are the only buildings remaining. The rest of the site was demolished as a condition of the lease and is now covered by mature woodland and the CMHS are now busily involved in exposing and recording the foundations and surfaces.

Skelton Shaft Ironstone Mine, surface remains
Skelton Shaft Ironstone Mine, surface remains

Skelton Shaft mine was opened in 1861 by the Bell Brothers and so pre-dates their Skelton Park mine by eleven years. Access was by a 114 deep shaft and by a drift.

At first, ventilation of the mine was by a fire at the bottom of the shaft, but in about 1870, a Guibal fan was installed1Historicengland.org.uk. (2012). Guibal fanhouse at Skelton Shaft iron mine, Skelton and Brotton Р1420051 | Historic England. [online] Available at: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1420051 [Accessed 13 Jul. 2021].. This was a large fan, 30 feet in diameter, steam driven, and rotating at 51 r.p.m. It had been designed in 1859 by the Belgian engineer, Théophile Guibal, and was used by several Cleveland ironstone mines.

The mine was finally abandoned by the Bell Brothers in 1923, when Dorman Long and Company took over the Skelton Park and Skelton Shaft royalties. (It had gone through an earlier closure in 18772‘DEPRESSION OF TRADE IN CLEVELAND’ (1877) Northern Echo, 06 Mar, available: https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/apps/doc/BA3200150702/GDCS?u=ed_itw&sid=bookmark-GDCS&xid=00781657 [accessed 13 Jul 2021].).

Dorman Long reopened the mine in 1930, when the fan house was modified for a smaller, high speed electrically driven Sirocco fan. This reduction in diameter to 55 inches is obvious on the featured image.

Skelton Shaft mine closed in 1938 along with Skelton Park. Between 1861 and 1912, 18 men lost their lives in the mine3Durham Mining Museum (2021). Durham Mining Museum РSkelton (Ironstone). [online] Dmm.org.uk. Available at: http://www.dmm.org.uk/colliery/s902.htm [Accessed 13 Jul. 2021]..

I should mention, of course, that both Skelton Shaft and Skelton Park are on private land and should not be visited without prior permission.

Principle source: [Ref018]

  • 1
    Historicengland.org.uk. (2012). Guibal fanhouse at Skelton Shaft iron mine, Skelton and Brotton Р1420051 | Historic England. [online] Available at: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1420051 [Accessed 13 Jul. 2021].
  • 2
    ‘DEPRESSION OF TRADE IN CLEVELAND’ (1877) Northern Echo, 06 Mar, available: https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/apps/doc/BA3200150702/GDCS?u=ed_itw&sid=bookmark-GDCS&xid=00781657 [accessed 13 Jul 2021].
  • 3
    Durham Mining Museum (2021). Durham Mining Museum РSkelton (Ironstone). [online] Dmm.org.uk. Available at: http://www.dmm.org.uk/colliery/s902.htm [Accessed 13 Jul. 2021].

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