Furness Clough, Colliery, Brickworks and Tramway
Furness Clough, although quite a compact location allows a fascinating insight into the industrial archeology of the area. Coal mining had started in the 18th Century although only on a very small scale until the early 19th C.
Even at the height of production this was a small mine; in 1928 30 men were working underground.. Early ownership of the mine is not recorded although by the mid 19th Century both the mine and a local limekiln were owned by Mr Boothman of Bothams Hall. By the 1860's Mr West was the owner followed by Levi and Elijah Hall. Two seams of coal were mined known as the White Ash and the Red Ash. The former also contained large quantities of fireclay and in 1890 it was decided to exploit this by establishing the Furness Vale Brick and Tile Works. ( The Ordnance Survey map of 1899 shows and earlier brickworks further along Buxton Road; opposite the track leading to Carr Farm).
Both the colliery and brickworks were purchased by Richard Knowles in 1905. From that time, coal was usually produced only for firing the kilns, most of the output being clay. The colliery suffered increasing problems with water and eventually the quality of the clay was diminishing. The mine finally closed in July 1963.
In common with most mines, Furness Clough was served by a narrow gauge railway; the flanged tubs being hauled by pit pony. The tramway at Furness was to a gauge of 19inches and reached the surface at a gradient of 1 in 6. The tracks continued through the clough towards the village and descended steeply alongside Williamson's greengrocer and chip shop in order to tunnel under Buxton Road. The line passed under the small building opposite and which is the present day "chippy".
A bridge carried the Buxton railway line over the tramway and adjoining footpath. Immediately after the bridge a short spur branched sharply to the left to serve Knowles standard gauge private siding. Here finished products from the brickworks such as fire backs were loaded on to main line wagons. At times fire clay was brought in, presumably to suppliment the output from the mine. The main route of the tramway continued just a short way further to the canal wharf. Here it turned to the left to terminate alongside the water. The dock was spanned by a small stone warehouse which by 1960 had become derelict and roofless. The building had at one time been occupied by Mr Fox, boatbuilder and painter of Whaley Bridge. Today a larger boatshed has replaced it and is still used for painting canal boats.
Miss Lena Knowles and Star at the mine adit 1909
This picture was taken in 1963 just before closure, the last two miners taking a break.
There is very little evidence of the mine today.
This photograph was taken early 2010.
An Ordnance Survey map showing the route of the tramway. The branch to the standard gauge siding is not shown.
This photograph was taken of Furness Wharf, where the tramway ended, in 1907.
The rails can just be made out going in front of the two piles of lime above the barge.