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Bardon Hill Quarry Overview   Bardon Hill -Rwd Fenn    Charnwood Forest-Annette McGrath

Charnwood Forest Granite Quarries Study

Contents of Page

Overview

Charnwood Forest has been a source of Granite Stone since the Neolithic period . The quarrying of granite really beginning commercially in the 18th century and taking off  in the later half of the 19th Century. See a geological map of the Charnwood Forest

This study focuses on the workers and their work roles at the granite quarries of Charnwood Forest from the time census records show their recorded occupations.  This Study is in progress and records are at various stages of completion see table below

The quarries that have been included are the following;

Bardon Hill is fully documented from 1861-1911census records and other sources of information.

Groby is fully documented from 1861-1911 census records and other sources of information.

Whitwick is underway

Mountsorrel is fully documented from 1861-1911 census records and other sources of information.

Charnwood is not yet underway

All other quarries are being worked on and the web pages in various stages of construction,

 


View Charnwood Forest Granite Quarries in a larger map

 

The index table  below provides links to those quarries and years documented

Quarry

1851

1861

1871

1881

1891

1901

1911

Bardon Hill (Bardon Hill Quarry Overview)

 

Records

Records

Records

Records

Records

Records

Whitwick (Pedlar Tor and Forest Rock)

 

 

 

 

 

Records

 

Mountsorrel

Records

 

Records

 

Records

 

Records

 

Records

 

Records

Records

Markfield(hill Hole , Old and New Cliffe)

 

 

 

 

 

Records

 

 

Groby


 

Records

 

Records

 

Records

Records

Records

 

Records

 

Charnwood Quarry (Longcliffe and Newhurst) nr Shepshed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worker populations

The methodology for collecting these pages of worker populations as been to review all years of census returns for the districts likely to have workers in them. Compile into worksheets and then analyse the data to produce census year reports(web pages ) for that quarry. In the years 1851-1911 workers were not that portable, walking to work being the main mode of transport and families staying in one area for their lifetime the rule rather than the exception.

Two main problems were encountered in reading the census

  1. The occupation wasn't specifically tied to work in a Quarry  ie Blacksmith instead of Blacksmith at Quarry
  2. The location of residence was in between Quarries eg did workers living in Coalville work at Whitwick or Bardon Hill Quarries The difficulty in tying worker occupation to Quarry work

Occupation

The approach taken was in the first place to examine prior or later census records to see if the Quarry was mentioned as a place of work.  In some cases with whole streets working at the quarry , a 'Blacksmith' who is not self employed and is listed in the street has been included as its likely they were employed there. Thus a judgement has been made to include likely workers, however this judgement would have been made on 1 or 2% of the worker population recorded.

The difficulty in attributing a place of work.  

The base assumptions of the attribution of quarry worker numbers is that the residential proximity is a good guide to the location a worker was a quarry employee the census provides in some cases specific information about location of work In general the 1911 census is much better at specifying this information,

Example: 1911 - Herbert Allen head of household living at Thornton Rd Markfield employed as Mill Man in Groby Quarry and son Walter living at same address is a Wagon Mender at Cliffe Quarry.

It can be concluded from this explanation that some errors will occur by using the base assumptions above this means the populations captured can only be estimates.

Table of estimated worker populations from 1851-1911

 

 

Quarry

1851

1861

1871

1888

1891

1901

1911

Bardon Hill

 

23

45

95

108

158

225

Whitwick (Pedlar Tor and Forest Rock)

 

 

 

 

 

75

116

Mountsorrel

152

379

 

 

433

 

465

354

 

599

553

Markfield(hill Hole , Old and New Cliffe)

 

 

 

 

 

242

 

Groby

 

 

25

 

118

168

436

439

 

417

Charnwood Quarry (Longcliffe and Newhurst) nr Shepshed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

152

427

596

728

898

1513

1311

To give an indicative view of the errors that could be in the estimated numbers above the 1901 numbers are compared to other sources for this period;

 

Quarry

Attributed

Estimated

Mountsorrel

598

6001, 5

Bardon Hill

158

5004

Whitwick

73

>74

Markfield (Cliffe)

242

<242

Groby

438

546 2, 3

TOTAL

1457

1952

Notes Other sources  provide larger numbers of workers at some Quarries

References

1.Mercian Geologist 2006 The Rock Quarries of Charnwood Forest - Annette McGrath

2. Lockley, D., 2001. Rough with the smooth: life in Markfield at the start of the last century, 1900-1930. Lockley: Markfield

3.Groby Historical Society  http://www.groby.org.uk

4.The History of Bardon Hill Quarry by RWD Fenn, note big discrepancy, this could be because the Fenn Numbers include all granite quarries owned ny Ellis and Everard at this time.

5.http://www.peoplemakingplaces.org.uk/places/charnwood_history/granite.htm

 

Quarry Development and Timelines

Granite was certainly used from very early times for the use of tools (axes etc) , commercial quarrying though seems to have been started in the 18th Century and a good indicative of the kind of development timeline can be seen by examining the timeline of the Mountsorrel Quarry.

Acknowledgements:

I have to thank Aggregate Industries and RWD Fenn the groups historian for some of the material used in my research.  I also thank Annette McGrath for the use of her research described in the Mercian Geologist of 2008.  Thanks also to Janet Draycott a Leicestershire local who kindly sent me the Bardon Quarry information and photographs in massive e-mails! Thanks also to  The Village of Groby Website which provided much good information and historic photos.

Resources:  

Two excellent studies of this period of quarrying have been produced  for your further reading go to

The Rock Quarries of Charnwood Forest  by Annette McGrath


The Bardon Hill Quarries  RWD Fenn



 

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