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13 November 2014

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Explosives and a sheep farmer

A young boy's memories of quarrying in the Malvern Hills, in the 1940's...

When I was a boy - in the 1940's, living at my grand-parents house in Albert Park Road - we roamed the Malvern Hills.

We often climbed up from the Tank Clock, which was not a source of water for the public.

The clock was silent and still.


The channel running up the valley above, built of blue bricks, used to gush with water after heavy rains, and it fell as a waterfall from the rocks.

We used to climb up to the rim of the quarries and lie down looking over watching the quarry men at work drilling on the ends of their ropes.

Quarry Workers on the Malverns 1903

Copyright Malvern Hills Conservators

Compressed air lines ran around the top of the quarries, supplying the flexible pipes which went down to the men drilling to put in explosives.


Later I became a Malvern Hills Warden and, after a small ceremony, I and Lyn Ballard were issued with a small round enamelled badge.

We roamed the hills and reported things which needed attention, and gave guidance to walkers if we could.

In those days, Miss Betteridge kept a large flock of sheep by the southern quarry, which kept the bracken down effectively.

The quarry was powered by a huge diesel engine from a submarine, which was about eight feet long, with a big shining flywheel.

It was serviced by a man who worked on it whilst it was running, watched from the open door by us boys.

Quarrying on the Malvern Hills

Copyright Malvern Hills Conservators

Smashed for scrap

When the quarry closed, the engine was smashed up for scrap, which was a shame.

There was a blacksmith's shop by Miss Betteridge's house which was used to make and mend quarry tools.

This lovely forge, with its leather foot-powered bellows, was left to be vandalised.

We used to admire all the rows of hand made tools used by the departed blacksmiths and wished we could save them for posterity.

David Brown

last updated: 23/06/2009 at 10:50
created: 23/06/2009

You are in: Hereford and Worcester > Places > Malverns > Explosives and a sheep farmer

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