Mining in Mottram
© William Johnson, Longdendale Amenities Trust
Looking around our immediate coutryside, it seems as though
man has not intruded too much in its reshaping. We have
all the usual indicators of a rural landscape, green fields,
trees, hedges. Cattle, shep and horses grazing, all undeline
Let us have a closer look. The holes, lumps and scrapings
on the surface tell us a great deal. Would you consider
for instance that the area once had an active mining industry?
Looking at Mottram in particular and walking around looking
for clues, it becomes obvious that a great deal of activity
has taken place over the centuries and has marked the
surface of the land. The various types of mining undertaken
mines and some deep mining. The shallowness of the
seams resulted mainly in soft, porr quality coal, nonetheless
it was a valuable material to extract and explot, attracting
increased rentals for the Lordship.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, industrialisation
was taking place; mills with no water power at hand needed
coal for the boilers to create steam. Lawrence
Earnshaw, our local inventor, built a pumping steam
engine for use in a number of mines in Longdendale. There
is evidence of deep mining in The Hague during the 1700s
both in rental information and on old maps.
The largest mine in the area was Mottram Colliery, its
seams extending across Mottram Moor, Warhill, to Hurst
Clough, where we can still see the strange coloured seepeage
of iron ore. Imagine the consequential disturbance and
industrial squalor all this activity created.
Evidence of this is still to be found if we look closely.
The ponds on Littlemoor Road are probably the result of
bell pits; in the fields above the Wagon we can see evidence
of drift workings and a capped shaft. Other clues in the
fields dropping down to Mottram Moor where drift mining
scrapes can be clearly seen, together with elevated track
areas for loading transport. A good example of a raised
area is in Ben Timperley's field, going down to what is
now a pond.
On the 1846 tithe map is field number 395, Coal Meadow,
on the left hand side just before the Waggon. Another
field number 501, Pit Field at Mud farm, also has what
is now a pond. Look around, there are many more scrapings
and bumps etc to discover.