Impacts of history

Graham Lee – Archaeology Officer

Further to my last blog post, here are some more examples of enthralling LiDAR imagery from the North York Moors. As mentioned previously, the interpretation of features is not necessarily straight-forward since we are not seeing a photograph per se  but a series of points joined together by a computer algorithm. A clear resemblance to ‘known’ features is a good start but often there is no substitute for checking the site on the ground where necessary, with the landowner’s permission.

Figure 1: Crag Cliff Wood near Grosmont

LiDAR - Cragg Cliff Wood, Grosmont. Copyright NYMNPA.

This image is from the 2016 This Exploited Land 25cm LiDAR (equating to c.16 data points per square metre). The This Exploited Land of Iron Landscape Parntership Scheme focuses on the 19th century ironstone industry in the North York Moors, one of the major sites for this was around Grosmont. This little four-fingered ‘hand’ near the centre of the image, just c.6.5m wide, is clearly a group of linear spoil tips leading out from a small excavation, perhaps a mining trial in the valley side? The linear runs of spoil, as tipped out of a barrow, are a very typical form associated with mining or quarrying sites. On steeper slopes, these are often tear-drop shaped.

Figures 2 and 2a: Rievaulx Village and the River Rye

LiDAR - Rievaulx. Copyright Environment Agency.

Aerial Photograph 2014 - Rievaulx. Copyright Get Mapping.

This image from the Environment Agency 50cm LiDAR (equating to c.9 data points per square metre) shows the site of Rievaulx Abbey (Scheduled Monument) near the central bottom of the picture, with all the buildings stripped away to show the underlying and surrounding earthworks. There is a mass of detail to see here. To the north of the Abbey are the houses of the village with a whole series of platforms and enclosures visible on the valley side. Just below these is the line of the “Canal”, a watercourse dug by the monks to bring a supply of water from the River Rye into the Abbey complex. Surrounding the village are numerous hollow-ways (former routeways) and extensive remains of old quarries. The level earthwork platform, running North-South to the bottom right of the picture is the northern half of Rievaulx Terrace. The corresponding aerial photograph from July 2014, with the water courses and major earthworks (mapped by the Ordnance Survey) layers switched on, help to clarify the positions of some of these features, including the line of ponds leading down to what was the Medieval water-mill, now a private dwelling.

Figures 3 and 3a: Holmes Alum Quarry in Mulgrave Woods

Aerial Photograph 2015 - Holmes Alum Works. Copyright Get Mapping.

LiDAR - Holmes Alum Works. Copyright Durham University/NYMNPA.

This is a classic example of the value of LiDAR imagery. The aerial photograph from August 2015 shows trees blanketing virtually all archaeological detail but this is beautifully clear in the 10cm resolution LiDAR image from Spring 2017 (Durham University/North York Moors National Park Authority; equating to c.90 data points per square metre). You can see the three adjoining quarry scoops to the south of Sandsend Beck, with a mass of, presumably associated, earthworks just across the beck to the north-west. This is thought to represent the site of Holmes Alum Quarry which is recorded as operating from about 1680. Works here had ceased by the late 18th century / early 19th century when this area was landscaped as an arboretum for Mulgrave Castle. I am not aware that this site has ever been surveyed in detail on the ground – this imagery provides a very good starting point. Roasted shale is recorded as having been found in the area so the sites of roasting clamps and, possibly, even steeping pits should probably be there to be found. On the plateau to the south of the quarries is an area of Medieval and Post-Medieval Ridge and Furrow (ploughing) cultivation which is clearly visible.

For more information on LiDAR, have a look at “The Light Fantastic” produced by Historic England

What on earth is going on?

Gallery

This gallery contains 55 photos.

This Exploited Land of Iron is our HLF Landscape Partnership Scheme focused on the ‘blazing, booming, enterprising’* ironstone industry in and around the North York Moors in the 19th century, and its surviving legacy. The Scheme was officially launched in … Continue reading

From Beck Hole to Brazil

Louise Cooke – This Exploited Land Progamme Manager

This Exploited Land has a wealth of stories to tell. These stories from the past can be traced on the landscape today and have tracks stretching out beyond the North York Moors.

For 30 years from 1836 the trains along the new Whitby to Pickering railway had to overcome the 1:15 incline at Beck Hole. The carriages were initially horse-drawn but when the trains came up against the steep gradient of the incline between Beck Hole and Goathland the only way up and down was pulling and holding the carriages on a system of wire ropes. Steam power took over from horses in 1845, but trains still had to negotiate the incline by means of winches. Winches are intrinsically dangerous; a fatal accident occurred in 1864. The delays, problems and dangers of using the incline motivated the construction of a more practical deviation line in 1865. This allowed steam locomotives to travel along the complete line for the first time, and this is the current route of the North York Moors Railway.

2015 LiDAR image - NYMNPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above is a detail of the TEL Lidar survey undertaken in the development phase of the TEL Scheme. The defined line at the top shows the route of the current NYMR Whitby-Pickering Railway. The less defined line through the centre shows the route of the Beck Hole Incline.

So what happened to the ‘abandoned’ Beck Hole incline which connects the TEL landscape to Brazil and to innovations in railway technology that changed the ways railways worked through the 20th century…

In 1872 a 685 metre length of 3’7” (narrow) gauge track was laid on the disused Beck Hole Incline and successful tests were carried on a fell-system locomotive built by Manning & Wardle of Leeds. A fell-system uses a third rail to provide the necessary extra power and control when travelling up and down intense slopes. Manning & Wardle narrow gauges were exported around the world to Europe, Africa, the Indian sub-continent, Australasia and South America – so this short stretch of the Beck Hole Incline may have had an impact on the wider world opening up mountainous regions to exploitation.

Four fell-system locomotives were purchased from Manning & Wardle for use on the Cantagallo Railway in Brazil. This was Brazil’s first mountain railway linking Niterói to Nova Friburgo and allowed coffee to be shipped down from the mountains and out to the coast for export.

Back in the North York Moors, late in 1908 the railway line from Grosmont to the foot of the incline was re-opened for an Autocar service which ran in the summer months until the outbreak of the war in 1914. The North East Railway’s Autocars used early experimental petrol engines that generated electricity, and so are predecessors of the diesel and electric trains which took over the railways through the 20th century. The excursion/day trips by Autocar to Beck Hole saw tourists and visitors making use of industrial remains within the declining industrial landscape at the time.

Part of the Beck Hole Incline today – now the Historic Rail Trail. Copyright NYMNPA.

The site of the former railway station at Beck Hole at the base of the Incline – shown by the stone edge. Copyright NYMNPA. The Beck Hole Incline is now the route of the Historic Rail Trail footpath between Goathland and Grosmont. Walking down the incline today it is hard to imagine how it worked and what it looked like in its hey-day. It is perhaps even harder to imagine how this now tranquil part of the North York Moors is associated with changes in railway technology and how Beck Hole can be connected to Brazil.

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Last year’s top 5 posts … and what happens next with TEL

View from Sil Howe Mine - copyright NYMNPA

1. Hangover cure

The work at Sil Howe was carried out. Samples are being collected by the University of Hull in order to measure the impacts of the created reed bed on the iron sediment suspended in the water discharge from the abandoned mine. The University and the Environment Agency are planning to carry out a similar project this winter at Clitherbecks, above Danby.

Miss Bell - Keystone View Company - from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/27/world/middleeast/gertrude-bell-sought-to-stabilize-iraq-after-world-war-i.html2. Iron Lady

Ionic Temple, Duncombe Park - copyright NYMNPA

3. A Classical Restoration

In October an opening ceremony was held to mark the completion of the restoration project of the Ionic Temple at Duncombe Park (Grade 1 Registered Parks and Gardens). The National Park received a commendation from Historic England’s Angel Awards in recognition of the work that went into the fundraising and the quality of the repairs. The companion Tuscan Temple at Duncombe Park is to be restored through a Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme.

2015 expedition down one of the Ryedale Windy Pits - copyright NYMNPA

4. Down below

The Ryedale Windypits (Antofts, Ashberry, Bucklands and Slip Gill) are considered to be nationally significant because of their geological interest (mass movement caves), their ecological interest (swarming sites/hibernation roosts for bats), and their archaeological interest (Bronze Age/Iron Age remains) – The Ryedale Windypits Conservation Statement and Management Plan 2006.

LiDAR - Beck Hole Ironworks - a number of industrial structures are served by sidings from the railway line. Bluesky/NYMNPA.5. Falling leaves divulge our industrial past

Top Posts 1, 2 and 5 are all related to the This Exploited Land (TEL) Landscape Partnership application. The development stage was completed at the end of October.

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What we did in the TEL development stage

Landscape Conservation Action Plan

All Landscape Partnership Schemes need an Action Plan – this details the scheme, its significance (Part 1) and the 52 prioritised projects (Parts 2 & 3) that will be made possible by HLF funding.

Cultural Heritage

We carried out archaeological and engineering surveys of the key heritage sites within the TEL scheme area. We needed to know what was there, what condition it was in and how soon it was going to fall down, and what we could do to conserve the structures in their current condition. When this was completed we prioritised what was ‘essential’, and then talked to landowners, Historic England and Natural England in order to secure permissions to carry out the works should funding be achieved.

Warren Moor Ironstone Mine Chimney, Kildale - copyright NYMNPA

Heritage at risk - Rosedale - copyright NYMNPARosedale East Mines and Railway Trackbed - copyright Paddy ChambersWe also commissioned a LiDAR survey to better understand the landscape character and industrial archaeology along the Murk Esk Valley from Goathland to Grosmont (see Top Post 5).

Natural Heritage

We carried out surveys across the TEL area to identify the most important natural environment issues and the most critical sites – the living, breathing, growing aspects of the landscape e.g. woodlands, watercourses (see Top Post 1), hay meadows, water voles, ring ouzels, wild daffodils, that are ‘at risk’ and need a helping hand to survive and flourish.

Farmland in the TEL area - copyright NYMNPA

Natural heritage at risk - Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site - copyright NYMNPA

Natural heritage at risk - Ring Ouzel - copyright John KnightWe worked with a range of landowners and others to develop initial plans that will start to deliver those helping hands, to conserve and create bigger, better and more connected sites across the TEL landscape which will benefit the wildlife species.

Access, Interpretation and Engagement

We carried out surveys of current visitors and non-visitors to the TEL area to identify why people visit, why they don’t, and to find out about the interest in industrial heritage and its landscape legacy.

Ingleby Incline Volunteer Survey 2015 - copyright NYMNPA

We used these surveys to develop an interpretation strategy which encompasses a range of different audiences and we plan to tell the story of This Exploited Land in lots of different ways. The strategy includes the creation of interpretation hubs, the setting up of a community grants scheme, the establishment of an ambitious volunteer programme and the roll out of an education programme. We hope this will ensure positive outcomes and opportunities for people to engage with their landscape and its heritage.

Revising the boundary

The scheme area has to reflect a landscape that tells the story of ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’ industry and the ways in which humans have intervened and changed the landscape through time. The rationale of the TEL area is the ‘story-telling’ role of the landscape (from east to west) – the story of early railway and ironstone exploitation that emerged in the key century of industry on the North York Moors c. 1830s-1920s.

We reviewed the boundary in the development stage and made some amendments to reflect the underlying geology and the existing Landscape Character better.

Finalised TEL area outlined in red - copyright NYMNPA

The TEL landscape sits within the North York Moors and shares many of its special qualities including “great diversity of landscapes” and “sudden contrasts associated with this”. For example – upland and valley, nature and industry. The TEL landscape presents a distinct identity based upon the sense of discovery that these now apparently ‘natural’ places were sites of extraordinary industrial expansion, and just as rapid industrial retraction. The ‘feeling’ of remoteness and quietness experienced now on the moorland is confronted by the knowledge that a working railway ran high across Farndale and Baysdale Moors connecting beyond the Cleveland Hills to County Durham, and that the moorland edges of Rosedale reverberated with the sounds of iron production.

Ingleby Incline and views towards Teeesside - copyright NYMNPA

Ghosts in the landscape: Ingleby Incline - copyright John Davies (Kirby, Great Broughton & Ingleby Greenhow Local History Group)

Geoff Taylor from the Kirby, Great Broughton & Ingleby Greenhow Local History Group and member of the TEL Executive Group sums up the TEL area as “connected by history, separated by geography”. This has become one of the mantras during the project development. The connections between Rosedale, Grosmont, and Kildale are not always obvious given the complex topography and modern transport networks, but these communities are connected by their shared history of iron exploration and railways. There are also important connections from the TEL area out to Teesside, Middlesbrough and Redcar, which became the focus for the iron industries of the North-East (see Top Post 2), and beyond across the world.

What now…

We are now waiting on a funding decision from the Heritage Lottery Fund and hope (IF all goes to plan) we will be able to start on delivering the exciting projects that make up the 5 year programme in late spring 2016.

Grosmont - copyright Chris Ceaser

1865

Stephen Croft – TEL Programme Manager

2015 sees a number of notable 150th anniversaries in the story of ironstone and railways in the North York Moors. It turns out that 1865 was an important juncture in industrial development in this area when elements combined to boost the output and feed expansion.

1865 saw the opening of the ‘deviation’ line on the Whitby and Pickering Railway which eliminated the need for the mechanical incline at Beck Hole using winches, allowing the railway to become fully steam hauled. This 1865 re-route around Beck Hole and Goathland remains the line of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway today, one of the oldest railways in the world still running on (most of) its original route. It was at this time that today’s Goathland Station was built beside the water mill – it was originally called Goathland Mill station.

Railway bridge feature - end of a tie rod - NYMNPA

1865 witnessed the completion of the North Eastern Railway (NER) North Yorkshire and Cleveland branch which connected Grosmont with Middlesbrough and hence linked the Whitby and Pickering line into the growing rail network and connected product with market. This, too, is still running today – as the Esk Valley line.

Railway bridge - NYMNPA

1865 saw the opening of the extension which took the railway line around the head of Rosedale to reach the mines and calcining kilns (heating ironstone to extract the iron) on the east side of the valley. The original railway had opened 5 years earlier but this extension meant that both sides of the dale were connected and exploitation augmented. The Rosedale Railway was operational until after mining ceased in the dale in 1926 and for three years afterwards the valuable mineral rich waste from the calcining process was recovered from spoil heaps. The tracks were then lifted but the Rosedale Railway route remains open today for walkers, cyclists and horse riders to experience.

Railway bridge underside - NYMNPA

1865 is when the rail network built across the North York Moors which serviced the ironstone industry, was complete. Whether still running as a railway today or now dismantled, these railways shaped the landscape we know and brought transformation to what had previously been a remote and isolated rural area. The railways enabled easier and quicker movement – not only providing a relatively cheap method of transport for the heavy ironstone, but also making goods manufactured in the towns available to the local rural community and vice versa, stimulating the market. They also provided a passenger service – the world’s first cut price railway excursion ran from Grosmont as early as 1839.

Railway lines - NYMNPAUntil the arrival of these railways, heavy goods such as building stone were laboriously exported via packhorse or cart along poor roads down into Whitby on the North Sea coast from where it was loaded onto ships. The railways revolutionised the viability of quarries allowing high quality stone to be sent down the coast to London and beyond where it was particularly valued for its resistance to seawater for the construction of harbour works and river embankments. It was to export this stone that the Whitby and Pickering Railway was first built and it was during its construction that ironstone was discovered in substantial seams at Grosmont. That discovery changed the history of the North York Moors.

So for 150 years, it has been possible to travel across the North York Moors by rail. The abundance of ironstone found here in the mid-nineteenth century and the railways to carry it away cheaply led on to the development of industrial Teesside, a world centre for iron and steel and heavy engineering – Gladstone’s ‘Infant Hercules’ – steaming forward beyond the second industrial revolution into a new idealised industrial age.

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This Exploited Land (TEL) is a Heritage Lottery Fund HLF Landscape Partnership Programme currently under development. It will tell the story of pioneering ironstone exploitation and iron making together with the early development of railways along the remote valleys of the North York Moors, as well as their forgotten communities.

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Dispatches from Esk Valley

Lady Elizabeth Kirk (founder and trustee of the Byways and Bridleway Trust) rides her horse over the new Murk Esk bridgeSince this post was published the bridge has been completed and is now officially opened.

 

 

Tammy Naylor – resident of Esk Valley and member of the This Exploited Land Executive Group

Rebuilding connections

The last few weeks has been a momentous occasion in the normally quiet hamlet of Esk Valley*. The four lads that have been constructing the bridge (commissioned by the National Park Authority) which will replace one missing from over the Murk Esk since the 1930s, got to the stage of spanning the river. To do this was quite a task, with no crane on site and involved a lot of measuring and checking before gently winching the front edge towards the abutment.

Bridge construction using A frame - by Tammy Naylor

This was quite a leap of faith to let the beautiful curved span lower across the river but, with the help of an old fashioned A-frame on the opposite bank, it is now in place and it’s something special to see. Today there was the regular sound of hammering as the treads are nailed in place. It won’t be long now until we are again linked to Crag Cliff, Green End and the moors.

Bridge construction at Esk Valley - NYMNPA

The original bridge was built in the 1830s to transport whinstone from the mines near Green End, on to the Whitby and Pickering Railway, so is a very important structure, being so early in date. There was no settlement of Esk Valley until 1858, just a solitary farm. The ponies that hauled the tubs over the bridge were stabled on the west side of the bridge and the mine continued to operate until approximately 1935. The bridge then went out of use and would have been badly damaged by three successive floods in the same decade.

It will be a huge step forward to see the bridge re-instated and will open up many circular walks around the Murk Esk Valley.

Closer look  

The results of the HLF funded LiDAR survey** recently taken over the Murk Esk Valley are eagerly anticipated in this neck of the woods. The day itself dawned with a beautiful still morning. While out for a walk with my dog the plane was conspicuous in the sky as it criss-crossed above my head like a lazy butterfly.

The conditions were perfect for the survey. When I went down to Grosmont, a work colleague with a passion in all things ‘Aerial’, had not only clocked the plane but also the TEL archaeologist hiding in the bushes taking photos. Several parish councillors also said they had seen the fly past, at the meeting that evening, so all said and done you can’t get away with anything in down town Grosmont.

LiDAR survey flight - NYMNPA

*Esk Valley is a hamlet at the bottom end of the Murk Esk Valley, the Murk Esk is a tributary of the main Esk; the main river valley where the River Esk runs is often called Esk Dale and sometimes called Esk Valley. I hope that’s clear.

**This initial LiDAR survey has been commissioned through the This Exploited Land HLF Landscape Partnership currently in its development phase. The results will help locate and identify industrial heritage remains in Coombs Wood in the Murk Esk Valley.

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Building bridges

Stephen Croft – TEL Programme Manager

I think of This Exploited Land (TEL) in terms of bridge building – both literally and metaphorically.

An original bridge on the 1836 Whitby to Pickering Railway

From here to Australia

If you stick with me for a minute, you can follow all the connections, step-by-step, to trace the origins of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia – one of the most instantly recognised iconic images in the world – back to the chance discovery of a commercial seam of ironstone in Grosmont in the early 1830s during the building of the Whitby to Pickering Railway.

The abundance of the ironstone found around Grosmont went to supply the needs of the Losh, Wilson and Bell Ironworks on Tyneside. Thomas Bell’s son, Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell, went on to be one of the most successful ironmasters in England and played a significant role in the development of Middlesbrough.

At the peak of iron and steel making in Middlesbrough in the 1870s the partnership between Arthur Dorman and Albert de Lande Long began the gradual takeover of iron and steelmaking companies, including Bell Brothers, to form Dorman Long. During the 1920s, Dorman Long branched out and developed into an engineering company and began to gain an expertise in bridge building.

In 1924, Dorman Long won the international tender to engineer and construct the Sydney Harbour Bridge. When it opened in 1932, the bridge was the widest (at 48.8m) single span bridge in the world, with a clear span of 504m.

bridge5Sydney Harbour Bridge formed a backdrop to the celebrations of the start of the new millennium with its fantastic firework display now repeated annually. The natural harbour was discovered by Captain James Cook who was born on the fringes of the North York Moors at Marton and grew up in Great Ayton; he had his first apprenticeship in Staithes on the North Yorkshire coast and learned his seamanship in Whitby. His most famous ship, Endeavour, was based on the traditional Whitby Collier. These colliers would later transport the newly discovered ironstone from Grosmont up to the Tyne. With yet another connection – Endeavour gave its name to one of the Space Shuttles – the local influence can be stretched even further.

Iron making

Ironstone is sedimentary rock containing iron sediment from which iron can be extracted. The early ironstone mining in the North York Moors gradually yielded to the cheaper and larger iron deposits found around Eston to the north and ultimately to even cheaper iron ore imported from around the world. The centre of gravity in iron making in the second half of the 19th century moved from Grosmont and Beck Hole to the quickly developing Middlesbrough on the banks of the River Tees as this new area became a world centre for iron, steel and heavy engineering. Prime Minister Gladstone called Middlesbrough an ‘Infant Hercules’ because of the apparent potential of the booming town.

In all, there was 100 years of mining in the North York Moors area and 130 years in the wider Cleveland area. The last ironstone mine (North Skelton) closed in 1964, so within living memory, so making a bridge is still possible between the new post-industrial generation and their industrial and industrious forebears. We need to value that bridge whilst the memories still survive. This is our history.

Railway remnants

The 1820s and 1830s were a time of huge innovation. Imagine the leap of faith it must have been for the ship owners in Whitby to bring George Stephenson to town to get him to build them one of those new railways. Huge cost, huge risk and no certainty of a financial reward. In the end those first investors lost money, but the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, continues to run today, almost entirely along its original route, making a tangible bridge back to the early 1830s. The first cargo for the new railway in the 1830s was local building stone, exported out of Whitby down the coast as far as London to build bridge abutments and harbour works, it being a stone that was resilient in seawater.

If you follow the current Rail Trail walk from Goathland to Grosmont, and I recommend you to do just that, take the opportunity to wander down one of the side paths near Beck Hole and look back across at the original railway embankments. Here you will see a number of beautiful stone bridges, built like Renaissance structures with fine stonework, rusticated plinths and skew arches. Works of art and craftsmanship but at the same time utility constructions to enable the railway to work. These hidden bridges link the pre-industrial Georgian age of neo-classical design and the new age of iron and steam and practical engineering.

Along the Rail Trail - stone work features Along the Rail Trail - stone work features Along the Rail Trail - stone work featuresAlong the Rail Trail - stone work features Along the Rail Trail - stone work features Along the Rail Trail - stone work featuresAlong the Rail Trail - stone work features Warren Moor Mine Chimney close up Along the Rail Trail - stone work features

 

 

 

 

 

Q.E.D.

This Exploited Land is more than just some interesting stone monuments in the
landscape – a mysterious set of redundant arches, contrasting with a green background: tranquil, quiet, almost forgotten. It is a bridge to the past, to lives lived and a pioneeringVictoria Falls Bridge - Rainbows and bridges by Shaun D Metcalfe is licenced under CC by 2.0 (from Flickr.com) spirit; it is a bridge reaching further back to a pre-industrial rural past. It bridges across the continents of the globe to Australia, to Istanbul (Bosphorus Bridge), to Southern Africa (Victoria Falls Bridge) and many other places where Teesside engineers have stretched the bounds of structural engineering. It forms a bridge from the now peaceful dales of the North York Moors to its noisier offspring, the conurbation of Teesside.

This Exploited Land is an exercise in bridge building!

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Some thoughts on communities and heritage

Louise Cooke – This Exploited Land Heritage Officer

Heritage is not just about breath-taking landscapes, bricks and mortar or rare species – it’s also about the communities who make, remake, use and visit places. The Oxford English Dictionary defines community as “all the people living in a specific locality”: they tell stories, talk about the weather, share knowledge and are always (as the academic Arjun Appadurai argues) ‘producing’ locality.

RosedaleEast_panorama cottages

The 200km2 of the This Exploited Land (TEL) Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership area is incredibly diverse – from Battersby and Rosedale in the west, to Goathland and Grosmont in the east, taking in the Esk and Murk Esk river valleys and all the communities that live and work here.

Here are some of my thoughts about TEL communities I have encountered so far.

Lost communities

As an archaeologist, one of the most exciting aspects of the TEL project is the evidence of ‘lost’ communities. As industry developed in the 19th century it attracted workers, and those workers and their families lived near to the industrial sites. The historical maps from the mid to the end of the 19th century show rows of terraced housing in Rosedale, Beckhole and at Warren Moor near Kildale. Whilst a number of those houses continued into contemporary occupation, a number were ‘lost’ with the reclamation of building materials meaning that the walls remain only as low ‘ruins’, or just as earthworks. This is one of the unique aspects of the TEL project area – after the period of rapid industrial expansion and population growth, decline set in just as quickly. People came and people went. Homes were no longer used and either fell into disrepair, or the building materials sold on and re-used. This pattern of expansion and decline (rather than re-use) is one of the factors that adds to the significance of the industrial archaeology within the TEL area.

Grand designs for industrial homes (Rosedale)Rosedale EastRosedale East

This time last year I was working on an archaeological site developing conservation approaches for structures from c. 12,000 BC, but here in the TEL area these archaeological sites are, at the most, only 150 years old. As TEL develops I hope the rich historical and social records from the Victorian period will help bring these sites, and the communities who lived and worked in them, to life in a way that is impossible on other much ‘older’ archaeological sites.

Living communities (part 1)

The industrial developments within the North York Moors laid the foundation for the later industrial developments in the neighbouring Cleveland Hills. On Sunday 6 July, Stephen (TEL Project Manager) and I attended a Service of Thanksgiving for the Cleveland Ironstone Industry, held at St Helen’s Parish Church at Carlin How, in conjunction with the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum. The service marked the 50th anniversary of the ‘conclusion’ of Cleveland Ironstone Mining.

A candle for each community: Boosbeck, Brotton, Skelton-in-Cleveland, Loftus, Carlin How and Skinningrove, Lingdale, Kilton, North Skelton.Candles for communities 1

The service really made me think (albeit whilst holding back the tears as the North Skelton Brass Band played Abide with Me and Jerusalem) about the close affiliation between people and place. About the distinctiveness of different communities linked with the different mines, and how those communities fundamentally changed when industry shifted. This is just as it would have been within the TEL area where the industry developed earlier and faded sooner (at the latest by the 1920s).

Skelton Band

What does heritage mean to you?

One of the tricky things about developing a heritage project is that ‘heritage’ means different things to different people. Each person may value something quite differently to the next person. So whilst communities are distinctive, within each there will be a diversity of opinions about what is important and therefore how it should be looked after.

The Heritage Lottery Fund defines community participation as; “involving people in the development of the services, sites and spaces that they use or are affected by”. The TEL Executive Group which is steering the development of the project, and the broader TEL Partnership Group, come from the communities within the TEL area and each person values different elements of the TEL project in different ways. They are keeping Stephen and myself busy and on our toes as the development work continues.

Much more about communities in future TEL blog posts.

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This Exploited Land: under development

Louise Cooke – This Exploited Land Heritage Officer

In late 2013 the North York Moors National Park Authority received a 1st round pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership Programme for ‘This Exploited Land: the trailblazing story of ironstone and railways in the North York Moors’

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This Exploited Land (TEL) will tell the story of pioneering ironstone exploitation and iron making together with the early development of railways along the remote valleys of the North York Moors, as well as their forgotten communities. It will reveal the impact this sudden explosion of industrialisation had on the landscape, and its national and international significance. In practical terms the Programme will record, conserve and protect the now fragile remains from a period of about 100 years starting in 1830 and ending with the closure of the Rosedale Railway in 1929.

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I’ve been in post as the Heritage Officer for just over a month now, forming a small TEL team of myself (part-time), and Stephen Croft (full-time Project Officer). It has been a fantastic month getting to grips with the project and how the National Park Authority works.

Over the next 18 months we will be working towards submitting our required Landscape Conservation Action Plan (LCAP) which will detail the projects and physical works we’ll be looking to carry out in the third stage of the Programme from 2016 to 2021. As long as the Heritage Lottery Fund are happy with our Action Plan we can have the funding (up to £3 million) to deliver this third stage.

At this early development stage site visits are one of the most important elements. The initial visits we’ve been making have been about identifying possible works and schemes. They are also about getting to know the sites better, looking at their condition and their conservation needs and potential, as well as getting to grips with how we can tell the landscape’s stories of the past in the present.

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TEL is the culmination of many years of work on the often forgotten industrial archaeology of the North York Moors, so the ‘shopping basket’ of ‘things we would like to be able to do if we had the money’ is not inconsiderable. As we work on the next stage of our submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund, Stephen and I have to manage the tricky process of converting our ‘shopping basket’ of ideas into projects and initiatives we can then deliver with our partners and within our budget.DSCF8516

Some of the most fascinating aspects I’ve found so far are the little things – the small features that add to the significance of the whole landscape, linking the production of iron and the creation of railways, to the people and the landscape as we perceive it today. The metal fixtures on the historic bridges along the Rail Trail around Beck Hole may seem a rather small element (especially when compared with the iconic large scale landscapes of Rosedale) but they are an important detail in the This Exploited Land story.DSCF8608

We’ll keep you posted as TEL develops.

This Exploited Land

Graham Lee – Senior Archaeological Conservation Officer

Imagine you are living and working in a quiet rural area, in a peaceful valley…when, suddenly, industry arrives on your doorstep…

It’s the 1830s. The fields below your farmhouse in the Esk Valley echo with the shouts and hammering from the navvies engaged in construction of the new-fangled means of transport – a railway – which your landlord has consented to being built through your fields along the floor of the valley. The railway has been designed by George Stephenson at the request of merchants and traders in Whitby to help improve access from the port to the inland towns and settlements of North Yorkshire.

Within a few years, ironstone deposits have been discovered by engineers in the bed of the river near the railway works which they were visiting. The ‘beds’ offer thicker deposits of ironstone than are otherwise known and, in a short time, the first ironstone mining within the region commences here. As the mines develop, a focus for settlement is created and the village of Grosmont starts to take shape and grow.

The ironstone from around Grosmont is plentiful and the new horse-drawn railway provides an efficient means of transport through to Whitby from where it is exported (known as ‘Whitby ironstone’) to ironworks in the North East, on the Rivers Tyne and Wear. This new source of ironstone transforms and stimulates the development of the North East’s iron industry. In the years up to 1850, there are about ten ironworks in production in the North East and seven of these are using ‘Whitby ironstone’.

As time passed, more ironstone deposits are sought out and more mines started, associated with the construction and development of the local rail network to enable the ironstone and iron products to be exported from the region.

Thus began the North of England’s rise to the position of the largest iron producing district in the world, a position it achieved by the mid 1860s. By 1873, just over 40 mines had been opened in the Main Seam ironstone alone, and (locally) Grosmont and Rosedale districts were at their busiest. Total output for the Cleveland mines exceeded 5 million tons for the first time that year and, between 1873-1914 (inclusive), the Cleveland mining industry (in terms of tonnage of iron output) produced on average 38% of total British ore output.

Now it’s 2013. This Exploited Land is the project the National Park has been shaping in partnership with local people – focusing on industrial heritage preservation, environmental conservation, and providing opportunities for access, involvement, education and interpretation – and based around the Esk and Murk Esk valleys, and Rosedale in the North York Moors. Recently the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded us a Landscape Partnership development grant and over the next 18 months we’ll be working up the project into an application for £3 million funding (+ £2 million matched funding/in kind contributions) to enable delivery on the ground.

It’s very exciting to have this long term aspiration turning into something actual. It’s about time that the importance of the North York Moors in the wider region’s industrial revolution is remembered.

We’ll let you know how it’s going …………….