The History of Barrow Village: Mining in Furness

In the nineteenth century, ore was raised by means of a horse gin, and pits were never drained. The miners were raised and lowered in buckets. Because of the dangerous conditions in the Furness mines, accidents and deaths were all too common.

On 25th November 1828, William Fisher records . . . . “Two men wear sufacated by the foul air at Crosgates Iron Ore Pit . . . there was two others in at the same time which escaped with dificulty be accinding by the shaft in the bucket both the unfortunate men have left widdows and small famileys to bewail there loss” .  

On the 26th May 1838, William Fisher records. . . . “two men named Anthony Hall and David Parkinson was suffocated at Stainton Iorn ore works by the cabbin taking fire at the smook decending down the shaft Hall has left a widow and seven Childer Parkinson has left a widow but no family”.

Horses were used to pull carts containing iron ore which was mined at Whitriggs, Thwaite Flat, and Lindal Moor pits. It was quite common to see a string of twenty to thirty such carts, often in the charge of young boys or even young girls, travelling along Barrow Lane from the pit-heads to the ore yards.

The ore was put into ore wagons called bogies, which were pushed by hand along the jetties. Then the ore was shovelled into vessels called sloops, which were lying at the end of the jetties. The iron ore was shipped to South Wales, Chester, The Midlands, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Coal was brought back from Wales, and timber from Scotland.

Water colour drawing by Mrs Michaelson showing the method of loading iron ore.

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