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MoD CORSHAM: Quarry Working Areas in West Lung, Spring Quarry

A Scheduled Monument in Box, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.4192 / 51°25'9"N

Longitude: -2.2287 / 2°13'43"W

OS Eastings: 384193.440759

OS Northings: 168934.369634

OS Grid: ST841689

Mapcode National: GBR 1RF.TM4

Mapcode Global: VH96H.BL4D

Entry Name: MoD CORSHAM: Quarry Working Areas in West Lung, Spring Quarry

Scheduled Date: 20 March 2013

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1409858

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Box

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Box

Church of England Diocese: Bristol


A series of semi worked-out chambers in a disused Bath Stone quarry. C19 quarrying equipment, including timber cranes with cast-iron driving mechanisms and chains with shears, saws and other tools, and narrow-gauge tracks, remain in situ. The quarried faces of the Bath Stone walls, and the working areas littered with rubble, display some of the last areas where stone was cut before the abandonment of the quarry in December 1940, at the time that it was requisitioned. There is graffiti on some stone faces, which includes calculations related to quarrying, and personal messages, one of which relates to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Source: Historic England


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: the Quarry Working Areas under consideration are located at the west end of West Lung (the north-west section of Spring Quarry), and cover an area of 2,115 metres square. The areas comprise tunnels and chambers quarried into the Bath Stone with supporting pillars of stone and loose rubble covering the floor and working pits. There are eight standing quarry cranes, various tools, narrow-gauge tracks for stone-removal trucks, and some historic graffiti in the area.

DESCRIPTION: the tunnels are of varying height and width across an uneven floor, and turn through a number of orientations. The floors have been partly levelled in the main access route for the placement of narrow-gauge, cast-iron rails to transport stone. In many sections, loose rubble is stacked to the side of the tracks. The tunnels open out into chambers, inside which are standing timber cranes constructed using a standard method, but in a variety of configurations, with cast-iron driving mechanisms including gears, cranks, shafts and pulleys attached to chains.

Cranes are located: next to the north faces of pillars A7, A8 and A12; two by the east face pillar A8A; and three stand in the open working area at the north end. All the cranes are constructed with a vertical, heavy timber, support column secured with iron pins to the floor and ceiling. The top pin acts as the crane's upper pivot, and engages in a timber bearing, or 'chog', set in a square hole in the quarry ceiling. The base of the support column is generally shouldered. A timber arm, or jib, constructed of two thick planks bolted together, projects at roughly 45 degrees, bolted to the base of the support column. The jib carries a hoist chain with hook, in some cases still attached to scissor-shaped shears. The planks of the jib are bolted, with a gap between them, to create a shaft through which the chain is wound and unwound. The chain is wound around a timber reel located towards the bottom of the jib. All cranes have cast-iron cogged driving gear, of varying dimensions, with a crank for winding the chain and hoisting the stone. Cranes were often fitted with a cast-iron brake band. A cast-iron tie is fixed between the top of the support column and the top of the jib, for strength via triangulation. In most cases, the cranes have horizontal timbers fixed around the support column, supporting the jib and driving gear, with further iron ties. One of the cranes at the north end has an iron plate marked "156". There is at least one fallen crane in the area. Quarrying tools and remains of other equipment are scattered throughout the area, including frigbobs and razzers (quarrying saws), and shovels.

At the north end is an open working area with a sheer face showing the incisions caused by the removal of large stone blocks. There are some iron pulley fixings embedded in the quarry walls. There is a deep pit with large pieces of cut stone that have not been removed. A number of stone walls across the Quarry Working Areas have graffiti showing numeric calculations inscribed to note down quantities of stone being quarried. There are also examples of quarrymen's signatures, and a graffito that states: "War commenced on Sept 3rd 1939".

The designated area extends to 1m around the designated boundary, and 1m above and below. All above ground structures are excluded from the designation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Quarry Working Areas in West Lung, in CGWHQ, below MoD Corsham are designated as a Scheduled Monument for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: very few quarries are known to survive intact, this one Bath Stone and with pre-war equipment in situ.
* Survival: the area retains cranes, tracks and tools in place, as left by quarrymen, in areas with spoil and stone at various stages of being quarried and removed from the mine.
* Group value: as part of the extensive group of Bath Stone quarries, including the 75 acres of workings at Spring Quarry, which is evidence of an historic industry that was crucial to the character and appearance of a large proportion of historic assets in this country, most notably those associated with polite architecture of the C18 and C19.
* Period: not only is the industrial archaeology evocative of the continued use of C19 quarrying methods, but extant graffiti notes the era of the redundancy of the site following the outbreak of World War Two.
* Representative: as a remarkably preserved quarry, and one of the best preserved working areas within West Lung itself.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hawkins, D, Bath Stone Quarries, (2012), pp 146-159

Source: Historic England

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