Lonsdale Vale Ironstone Mine

The ironstone mine at Lonsdale is another example of the feeding frenzy that followed the discovery of ironstone in the Eston Hills in the 1850s. And as with the Warren Moor Mine it was a royalty let by the Kildale Estate which failed to live up to expectations. The main man is again John Watson, a Fellow of the Geological Society from Essex. who must have had powers of persuasion to match Arthur Daley. In 1865 he leased the whole of the royalties of the Kildale Estate and persuaded his wealthy London friends to invest in ironstone. Together they formed the Lonsdale Vale Ironstone Mine which sub-leased the 2,000 acre royalty in Lonsdale from Watson.

So far so good. A shaft was sunk to reach the Main Seam, 145′ deep. Plans were made to built a furnace in the valley. But the quality of the ironstone again was poor. It is doubtful if any ore from the Main Seam was actually gained. A small drift mine half a mile to the south east into the outcropping Dogger seam did produce almost 48,000 tons but by 1868 the Kildale Estate was owed a year’s rent and forced the company into liquidation.

The stone arch of the engine house is the most visible reminder of ironstone mining Lonsdale. The outlines of other buildings and the railway extension can be traced in the fields beyond the arch.


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