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Snailbeach Countryside Site

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Snailbeach Countryside Site is an industrial archeology site in Shropshire. It is located three 3 miles (4.8 km) south of the village of Pontesbury and around 12 miles (19 km) from the county town of Shrewsbury. At peak of production during the 19th century, it was reputed to be extracting the largest volume of lead per acre in Europe.

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History and importance

Once the biggest lead mine in the county of Shropshire, the site is conserved as a scheduled monument.

Lead mining may have taken place here since Roman times and, at peak of production in the 1840s and '50s, it is reputed to have extracted the largest volume of lead per acre in Europe. Lead mining ceased at the site in 1955. Barite, calcite, fluorspar, silver and zinc were also mined in smaller amounts.

Snailbeach Mining Disaster

On the morning of 6 March 1895, seven men died after the cable lowering their cage down the mine snapped, plunging them 252 yards (230 m) to the shaft floor. It was reported that such was the force of the impact, that the steel cage was reduced from over 7 feet (2.1 m) in height to just 18 inches (457 mm), however, a watch from one of the miners was found still ticking at the scene.

Snailbeach Lead Mine Heritage Project

The council's outdoor recreation service and Shropshire Mines Trusts manage and preserve the site and have been awarded a £20,000 management grant from English Heritage to restore the Black Tom mine shaft headgear and some of the buildings. Their plans include assembling a building to store a mining jigger that was removed for restoration more than a decade ago.

The are restored mining buildings to explore in the site, including a locomotive shed, winding engine house, blacksmith's shop, compressor house and Cornish engine. A circular walk links them, but some areas may be restricted to protect residents’ privacy. Stiperstones nature reserve can be accessed from this site.

References

Snailbeach Countryside Site Wikipedia


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