It’s nearly a year since Lovell Stone Group took over the lease of Hartham Park underground quarry in Corsham so we thought it might be interesting to compare how times have changed in the extraction of Bath Stone since the original quarry was opened in 1810.
Back then, all digging was done by hand and the stone was transported by horse. The quarrymen used picks, wedges & chips, sledges (hammers), jadding irons, scappling axes, sounding irons, rack & pinion jacks and wooden rollers. They worked by candlelight with timber propping up the shafts.
By 1847, stone saws, crab winches, cranes, Lewis pins and shears had been introduced and by 1870, hand picks, tramways and trolleys and benzonline lamps were part of everyday quarrying.
By the early 1900s, the quarry used a steam winding engine and then in 1910, carbide lights were introduced. Post 1945, electric drills and compressed air power were being used together with a diesel locomotive and air motor crane.
It was only late in the 20th century when you could see an advancement in the machinery and technology being used at Hartham Park which forged the way for the state-of-the-art equipment we use today.
Fantini cutters, electric winches, electric cap lamps and self- rescuers were introduced and since then, technology in quarrying has become a multi-million-pound business with sophisticated cutters and saws being introduced which has revolutionised the way stone is supplied.
But, we can’t lose sight of where the quarry has come from and continue to respect and admire quarrymen throughout the decades who have made Hartham Park what it is today. There are still things done then that we do today but the underlying legacy us the quarrymen who face the same problems today as they did in 1810.
With thanks to David Pollard, owner of Hartham Park Bath Stone underground quarry for wealth of historical knowledge.
Images: 1) Hartham Park 1950s & 2) Fantini 2016