Boom and bust on the North York Moors

Warren Moor Ironstone Mine, Kildale

With the success of ironstone mine on the Eston Hills in the 1850s landowners in the North York Moors were keen to be part of the bonanza. Ironstone was soon discovered on the Kildale Estate but the problem was transporting any ore obtained out of the dale. Transport would have been by horse and cart and the roads were simply not good enough. So when the North Yorkshire & Cleveland Railway arrived in Kildale in 1859 ironstone mining in Kildale became a possibility.

The Bell Brothers’, who had been involved in the exploratory work, initially expressed an interest but when that waned the royalty was let to the Warren Moor Iron Company, a group of investors led by the Agent, John Watson. This was in 1866. A year later the company was in financial difficulties and the following year John Watson was declared bankrupt. The Estate managed to re-acquire possession of the site and the lease was let to a new group of investors, the Leven Vale Company in 1872.

1872 is considered to be the peak of the Cleveland ironstone industry. The following year there was a miners’ strike and a slump in the iron industry. By 1874 no rent had been paid to the Estate and the Leven Vale Company was forced into liquidation. So ended ironstone mining at Warren Moor.

Some ore was extracted from the dogger seam by drifts which approximately followed the contour from the base of the chimney. The prize however was the better quality main seam for which a costly 220’ shaft had to be sunk which probably contributed to the company’s demise. It is not thought that any ore was obtained from this shaft. The distinctive chimney marks the site of these surface workings.

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