Princess May Water Balance, Penrhyn Quarry

Date

17 September 2017

Location

Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda
SH 62228 65513; 53.16883°N, 4.06249°W

Information

Princess May is one of the two surviving water balances at Penrhyn Quarry; the other is called Sebastopol and has been restored. Originally there were eight at the quarry… [Read more about the water balance and see more photographs from 2011 here]

Further Reading

Princess May Water Balance, Penrhyn Quarry;
Zip World Adventure Terminal;
Penrhyn Quarry

Ditherington Flax Mill Maltings

Visitor Centre (converted Stables)

Date

26 August 2017

Location

Ditherington, Shrewsbury
SJ 49855 13826; 52.71974°N, 2.74382°W

Information

Ditherington Flax Mill Maltings was previously featured here in GeoTopoi in December 2011. Since then there have various changes at the site, the most significant being the opening in November 2015 in the converted offices and stables of a Visitor Centre. The opening of the centre is the first phase of a restoration project undertaken by a partnership between Historic England, Friends of Flaxmill Maltings and Shropshire Council. The second phase, which will result in a mixed-use redevelopment of the historic buildings, is proceeding thanks to the subvention of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Other changes include the demolition of various later structures on the site, such as the massive concrete silos built in the 1950s and 60s (North Silo and South Silo). Public access is currently limited to the Visitor Centre and a small area to the rear of the mill buildings.

Further Reading

Ditherington Flax Mill Maltings (GeoTopoi, 2011);
Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings (Historic England)

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Skyjack

Skyjack

Skyjack

Date

26 November 2016

Location

Oswestry, Shropshire
SJ 30621 28519; 52.84967°N, 3.03165°W

Information

Skyjack produces a range of access and handling equipment including boom lifts and scissor platforms. The Canadian company was established in 1985 and in 2002 became part of the global manufacturing company the Linamar Corporation. Skyjack UK, located in Oswestry, is the company’s European Head Office.

Further Reading

Skyjack

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Former Aberfalls Margarine Factory, Abergwyngregyn

Aber Falls Margarine Factory

Former Aberfalls Margarine Factory

Date

17 January 2016

Location

Abergwyngregyn
SH 65258 73156; 53.23827°N, 4.02041°W

Information

The station, which closed in the 1960s and is now in residential use, on the then Chester and Holyhead Railway (now the North Wales Coast line) at Abergwyngregyn opened in 1848. A siding from the main line served a factory, which appeared in the 1889 edition of the Ordnance Survey map*, close to the station. This factory was originally owned by the Penrhyn Estate and produced writing slates. It was powered by a water wheel fed from a weir on the Afon Aber, which flows alongside the premises. Raw material was transported to the factory by road from Penrhyn Quarry and the finished product was shipped via its rail link. The factory was taken over by the Pure Margarine Company Ltd and was then known as the Aberfalls Margarine Factory (although the site lies some 3.5 km downstream from the actual falls). The factory was at some stage also used as a woollen mill. Its most recent use was as a wholesale beer, wines and spirits warehouse, originally owned by De Vere Group subsidiary Tavern Group Ltd, but sold together with 11 other depots in 2001 to Classic Drinks Ltd, a subsidiary of Halewood International Holdings . The half-hectare plot with its warehouse and office block is currently on the market for £280,000.

(*The 1889 Ordnance Survey map denotes it as a Writing Slate Manufactory, the 1937 one as a Bottling Depot and the 1945 one as a Margarine Factory.)

Further Reading

Margarine Works (abergwyngregyn.co.uk)

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Tan Dinas Quarry, Llanddona

Tan-Dinas Quarry, Llanddona

Tan Dinas Quarry, Llanddona

Date

10 July 2015

Location

Tan-Dinas, Llanddona, Anglesey
SH 58507 82023; 53.31616°N, 4.12546°W

Information

Tan Dinas Quarry is located on the Anglesey coast 2.5 km north of Llanddona. It appears on the 1889 edition of the local Ordnance Survey map and is marked as being disused by the 1919 edition. The limestone quarry and concrete works were later re-opened by Cawood & Wharton Ltd and closed again in the 1950s. In the late 1960s equipment, including a 2 ft gauge railway system, was removed from the site.

In 1951 Constable John Emlyn Jones was awarded the British Empire Medal for heroism in the rescue of a boy who had gotten into difficulties at the quarry. The boy had become stuck half way up the rock face unable to climb further up or down. Constable Jones was lowered down to a ledge from where he made his way to the stranded boy and then managed to lower him down to the safety of the beach below using a second rope he had taken with him.

Further Reading

Aerial views of Tan Dinas Quarry, 1951 (RCAHMW)

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Now and Then XIII: Gilfach Ddu, Dinorwic Quarry

Gilfach Ddu - Now and Then

Gilfach Ddu – Now and Then

Date

6 June 2015
Location

Llanberis

SH 58297 60714; 53.12469°N, 4.11913°W

Information

“On the declivity of the mountain, and nearly opposite Dolbadarn castle, on the eastern side of the lake, are extensive slate quarries, the property of Thomas Asheton Smith, Esq. situated high among the rocks ; the mode of conveying the slates down the almost precipitous descent, to the margin of the lake, was formerly singularly awkward, and apparently very dangerous – The carts, each conveying about one ton of slates in winter, and two in summer, were drawn down a serpentine path by one horse in front, and one hooked on behind to counteract the rapidity of motion which other wise would endanger the whole. From the lake the slates were carted in great quantities to the Menai, from whence they were shipped to Ireland, Liverpool, America, &c. To avoid this great labour and danger, about ten years ago, a new railroad was made from the quarries down to the shipping place at Velin Heli on the Menai, a distance of about nine miles. By this road, the slates are conveyed down, at an average, it is said, of about 100 tons daily throughout the year. At this place of activity, generally designated by the name of “Dinorwic Slate Quarry,” above 1000 men are usually employed.”

— Joseph Hemingway, Panorama of the beauties, curiosities, and antiquities of North Wales, exhibited in its Mountains, Vallies, Waterfalls, Lakes, Cities and Towns, Castles and Ruins, etc. Intended as a Pocket Companion to the Tourist and Traveller., 1839

Further Reading

National Slate Museum;
Dinorwic Quarry;
Other posts in the Dinorwic Quarry series

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Now and then I: Penrhyn Quarry

Penrhyn Quarry from Pantdreiniog, Bethesda

Penrhyn Quarry from Pantdreiniog, Bethesda – Now and Then

Date

13 September 2014
Location

Pantdreiniog, Bethesda

SH 62359 66882; 53.18116°N, 4.06111°W

Information

Pantdreiniog slate quarry in Bethesda opened c 1825 with local proprietors. Its ownership subsequently changed a number of times and in the 1890s it was sold to a Cardiff company by Liverpool builder John Williams, who had worked it for close to 40 years. In 1903 it was acquired by a London company created with the purpose of providing work for striking quarrymen from Penrhyn Quarry. Little evidence is visible today of the workings at this quarry, most of the site now being landscaped open ground at the back of the High Street.

 

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Pandy, Tregarth

Waterwheel, Pandy, Tregarth

Waterwheel, Pandy, Tregarth

Date

26 September 2014
Location

Tregarth

SH 59920 67655; 53.18747°N, 4.09792°W

Information

The pandy, or fulling mill, at Tregarth dates back to the 18th century. Fulling was a finishing process in the production of cloth in which woven cloth was cleansed, thickened and strengthened. This involved washing to remove dirt and grease and kneading with wooden hammers to mat together the wool fibres.

 

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Garreg Fawr / Ystrad (Silurian) Iron Mines

Garreg Fawr / Ystrad Iron Mines

Garreg Fawr / Ystrad Iron Mines

Date

12 July 2014
Location

Betws Garmon

SH 54415 57925; 53.09859°N, 4.17583°W

Information

Visible from a distance as a diagonal gash in the mountainside above Betws Garmon, the workings for iron on the western flank of Moel Eilio form a series of opencuts and adits. These were operated as two separate concerns, divided by an opposing diagonal created by a parish boundary wall. The lower was known as the Ystrad or Silurian mine, the upper as Garreg Fawr.

Up until 1900, Ystrad mine consisted only of small opencast workings and was developed on a larger scale from 1909 by the Bettws Garmon Iron Ore and Smelting Company. A tramway connected the mine to the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway (NWNGR) – the forerunner of the Welsh Highland Railway (WHR). The company soon changed its name to the Phosphoric Iron Ore Company. In financial straits, it was taken over (on paper) in 1913 by a new entity, the Silurian Iron Ore Company, the former company’s assets, but not its liabilities, being transferred to the new company. The mine closed in 1919.

Garreg Fawr mine originated as an unsuccessful trial for copper ore. Iron ore was instead mined there for a period in the 1840s and the site was worked in conjunction with the nearby slate quarry in the 1860s by the Garreg Fawr Slate and Mineral Company. The mine was thereafter operated sporadically under a number of different proprietors until being acquired in 1907 by Wolverhampton-based Alfred Hickman Ltd. Major developments were undertaken at this time, including the construction of a 4.7 km long aerial ropeway. This conveyed buckets of ore up over the shoulder of the hill, via the col Bwlch y groes, and then down to Llanberis. The ropeway terminus, on the banks of Llyn Padarn, joined a siding of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR). The mine closed in 1913 and enjoyed a brief burst of activity during World War I when access to foreign sources of iron was under threat.

Further Reading

Ystrad/ Garreg Fawr Iron Mines (Treasure Maps);
Dr Gwynfor Pierce-Jones, “Iron Ore Mines of Betws and Waunfawr”, Welsh Highland Heritage No 39, March 2008

 

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Ingenio Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Frigiliana

Ingenio Nuestra Señora del Carmen

Ingenio Nuestra Señora del Carmen, with Mudéjar-style decorations on the façade

Date

25 April 2014
Location

Frigiliana, Andalucía, Spain

36.79079141, -3.89538284

Information

El Ingenio (the mill), or La Casa Solariega de los Condes (the ancestral home of the counts), in Frigiliana was built in the late 16th century for the Manrique de Lara family, Lords of Frigiliana since 1508, with building materials coming from a destroyed Moorish castle. The 5th Lord created a sugar cane plantation and established the sugar mill. The building still houses a molasses factory — the last of its kind in Europe.

 

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Molino de Papel, Río de la Miel

The Paper Mill, below the Río de la Miel viaducts of the N-340 coastal road and the A-7 (E-15 'Mediterranean Motorway')

Molino de Papel (The Paper Mill), below the Río de la Miel viaducts of the N-340 coastal road and the A-7 (E-15 ‘Mediterranean Motorway’), with Cerro de la Puerta (524 m) in the background

Date

24 April 2014
Location

Río de la Miel, Andalucía, Spain

36.7530365, -3.81436353

Information

Mr Manuel Centurión Guerrero de Torres (1732-1800) was governor of Guyana (present day Guiana), High and Low Orinoco and the Black River during the reign of Carlos the III. When he returned to Spain in 1775 he was commissioned by the king to set up several factories in the kingdom of Granada. In Nerja he built a three wheel paper mill run by two water wheels powered by the water of the “Río de la Miel” (Honey River).

Only a hole remains where his coat of arms was originally situated above the main entrance door.

This building has been altered with regard to the original structure and even though it appears visibly deteriorated, a good part of the hydraulic system has been conserved as well as numerous rooms that have been used subsequently for storage, wood piling and a stable.

This building is lived in at the present time.

 — Junta de Andalucía information board

The mill was taken over by Manuel’s son Luis Centurión y Sevilla in 1800 and subsequently underwent a number of changes of ownership until ceasing operation in the late 19th century. The property was acquired in 1930 by the Larios company and used for agricultural purposes.

 

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Ingenio Azucarero de San José, Nerja

Ingenio Azucarero de San José

Ingenio Azucarero de San José

Date

23 April 2014
Location

Nerja, Andalucía, Spain

36.74495656, -3.88500719

Information

The Ingenio Azucarero de San José (St Joseph Sugar Mill) in Nerja was built in 1870 by a company formed by three local industrialists: brothers Vicente and Antonio Martínez Manescau and Gabriel Rodríguez Navas. It was acquired three years later by the Larios family and it was to become the most important of the sugar factories in Nerja. But by 1968 the mill was no longer profitable and was closed. It was sold by the Larios sugar company in 1976 and was thereafter used as a training centre and also for community purposes. In 1985 the facility was renovated and converted into a state secondary school (El Instituto de Educacíon Secundaria El Chaparil). As part of the re-development project three of the mill buildings – the grinding, cooking and boiler houses – were demolished and others were converted for school use. The molasses shed became the assembly hall, for example, and the store house the gym.

 

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Torrox Costa

Balcón del Mediterráneo

Balcón del Mediterráneo

Date

17 April 2014
Location

Torrox Costa, Andalucía, Spain

36.72709131, -3.95881683

Information

The viewing platform El Balcón del Mediterráneo, situated at the eastern end of the Playa de las Lindes in Torrox Costa, is cantilevered over a Roman archaeological site. The foundations are visible of a salting factory and necropolis. This was the location of a Roman plant for the production of salted fish and garum, a sauce made from fish guts. The factory was abandoned in the 4th or 5th century was then used as a family mausoleum. There are also further Roman remains next to the lighthouse El Faro de Torrox.

 

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Ingenio Azucarero Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Torre del Mar

The steam engine restored by the local authorities and put on display in 1998 in front of Casa Larios as a monument to the sugar industry was originally acquired in 1900 by José Larios and served in the Torre del Mar mill for decades.

The steam engine restored by the local authorities and put on display in 1998 in front of Casa Larios as a monument to the sugar industry was originally acquired in 1900 by José Larios and served in the Torre del Mar mill for decades.

Date

17 April 2014
Location

Torre del Mar, Andalucía, Spain

36.74678678, -4.08845224

Information

In 1845 Galician entrepreneur Ramón de la Sagra built Spain’s first industrialised sugar mill in Torre del Mar in Andalucía, an innovation that, although it led to his ruin, was to herald a new era in the cultivation of sugar cane, a crop that had been introduced to the Mediterranean coast of Spain by the Arabs in the 10th century. The production of sugar in the coastal areas of Andalucía had been in decline during the 18th and early 19th centuries in the face of competition from plantations in the Americas. The Industrial Revolution was, however, to transform the cultivation and processing of sugar into one of the region’s most economically important sectors.

La Sagra leased the grounds of an old sugar plant, built in 1796 by José García Navarette and powered by mules, where he erected his new factory, La Fábrica de Torre del Mar. But his project ultimately failed, having been beset by a number of misfortunes: frost damage to crops in 1846; machinery acquired from Belgium lost in a shipwreck; and also the fact that he was unable to use the Derosne method of extraction. Exclusive rights to the latter — which involved the use of steam to cook the juice from the sugar cane and also centrifugal separation of sucrose and molasses — had been obtained by his former business associates, with whom he had parted company on account of their mistrust of the social dimension of La Sagra’s project.

La Sagra sold the mill in 1847 to Juan Nepomuceno Enríquez and it was acquired in 1852 by the Larios family, who re-developed it as the Ingenio Azucarero Nuestra Señora del Carmen (the Virgen del Carmen Sugar Mill), transforming it into the most important sugar plant in the Andalucian coast. The Larios sugar company owned the facility until 1976. It finally closed in 1992, at which time it was operated by SAMESA (Sociedad Azucarera del Mediterráneo S.A.).

In February 2014 it was announced that Vélez Málaga council was completing its troubled restoration of the Virgen del Carmen sugar mill in a development phase costing €217,000. The renovated main mill building is to house a museum dedicated to the history of the sugar-cane industry. It will also, controversially, accommodate a business school. Original plans for a sugar museum (Museo del Azúcar) had been overturned in 2012 when the council signed a deal to create a business management centre in the premises. A deal had been agreed between the local authorities and SAMESA in 1993 for the demolition of the plant’s secondary buildings and the renovation of its main building as the Museo del Azúcar. A lot of the industrial heritage had, however, been lost as most of the machinery had by then already been sold for scrap. The contract for the museum development had been awarded in 2003, and then again in 2005. By 2011, €2.3m had been invested and the work was two years behind schedule amid disputes between the council and the developers.

 

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Ingenio de Maro, Nerja

Ingenio de Maro

Ingenio de Maro

Date

15 April 2014
Location

Maro, Andalucía, Spain

36.75685375, -3.84242971

Information

Built in 1585, the Ingenio de Maro (Maro Mill), also known as the Ingenio de Armengol, was the first sugar mill to be constructed in the area. Lawyer Felipe de Armengol had purchased land from the Lord of Maro, Juan de Gricio Herrera in 1582 and used it for a sugar-cane plantation. Armengol also pioneered a route across the Sierra de Almijara mountains from Maro to Granada. The mill continued in production until it burned down in a fire in the 1860s, when it was owned by the Pérez del Pulgar family.

 

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Acueducto del Águila, Nerja

Acueducto del Águila

Acueducto del Águila

Date

15 April 2014
Location

Maro, Nerja, Andalucía, Spain

36.75811011, -3.85003129

Information

The Acueducto del Águila (Eagle Aqueduct) was built around 1880 to serve the irrigation needs of the sugar-cane plantation at the nearby Azucarera San Joaquín sugar mill. The four-tier brick-built structure spanning the Barranco de Maro (Maro Ravine) comprises 37 arches and is surmounted by a Mudejar-style spire with double-headed eagle weather vane. The aqueduct was damaged by shelling during the Spanish Civil War and in 2011 underwent a major programme of renovation. It is still in use today, carrying water for irrigation from Maro to neighbouring agricultural land.

 

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Azucarera San Joaquín, Nerja

Azucarera San Joaquín

Azucarera San Joaquín

Date

14 April 2014
Location

Maro, Nerja, Andalucía, Spain

36.75924219, -3.85438454

Information

The sugar mill and distillery Azucarera San Joaquín, also known as Azucarera de las Mercedes, was built in 1884 by Francisco Cantarero and owned by Granada lawyer Joaquín Pérez del Pulgar y Ruiz de Molina. The mill complex, situated 1 km to the west of the centre of Maro in Andalucía, included a sugar cane plantation, which was irrigated from an oval reservoir fed from the nearby purpose-built Acueducto del Águila (Eagle Aqueduct). In addition to the processing sheds, there were also 24 living units for the mill workers. The mill was still owned by Joaquín Pérez’s family by 1918. After closure for a number of years, it was then acquired by the sugar company Sociedad Larios, who operated it from 1930 to 1950.

 

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Parc Dudley Nature Reserve / Dudley Park Granite Quarry

Incline pulley wheel

Incline winding drum

Date

8 March 2014
Location

Waunfawr

SH 52713 58542; 53.10367°N, 4.20151°W

Information

Parc Dudley is a local nature reserve maintained by Gwynedd Council and is located in the Gwyrfai valley just to the south of the village of Waunfawr. The reserve covers an area of 18 hectares on the lower slopes of Moel Smytho and was created in 1994 on the site of a former granite quarry.

The quarry was owned around 1928 by Wolverhampton-based company Dudley Park Quarries Ltd. The quarry was served by a siding of the Welsh Highland Railway and there was a large crushing mill, now demolished, close to Waunfawr Station.

 

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