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The Ironstone Quarries of the Midlands:…

The Ironstone Quarries of the Midlands: Rutland Pt.7: History, Operation…

by Eric S. Tonks

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The ironstone quarrying industry started at a very specific point in time. In 1851, a sample of iron ore was shown at the Great Exhibition, and within four years an industry had been born. It carried on up to the 1960s, when it reached its zenith; at that time, expansion seemed inevitable and the industry was making plans up to the year 2000 and beyond. But the post-war growth of alternative materials such as plastics, the development of new processes that required higher-quality ore imported from abroad, and the subsequent relocation of the centre of the industry to coastal locations, and finally the bonfire of British heavy industry during the Thatcher years meant that ironstone quarrying declined rapidly and ceased altogether in January 1980. Eric Tonks wrote his standard work 'Ironstone railways and tramways of the Midlands' in the late 1950s. Long out of print, in the late 1980s he expanded it massively by adding sections on quarry machinery and non-rail transport, capturing what information he could as the quarries and their railways disappeared almost overnight. The whole project now covers nine volumes, of which this is one. ( )
  RobertDay | Jul 3, 2009 |
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