East Rosedale Mines
East Mines at Rosedale
By Adrian Brown
The romantic remains of the iron workings at Rosedale ignited Adrian's curioisity. Who did work in these mines and what brought about their ruin?
As I walked past the remnants of the Iron workings at what was the East mines at Rosedale I found myself yearning to find out what kind of men could have worked here and why it had all come to an end so abruptly.
Although there is no evidence of iron workings in Rosedale earlier than medieval times, there is evidence of an abundance of iron-slag in Romano-British sites in the Ryedale area.
The East mines at Rosedale commenced working shortly after the West mines around 1859/1860 and in its hey day in the early 1870s over 300,000 tons of ironstone were produced.
Due to this explosion of industry the population of Rosedale East swelled from 373 inhabitants in 1851, before the mine was open, to a peak figure of 2041 in 1871 when the mine was flourishing. Cottages built for the employees near the mine where called Low and High Baring, Florence Terrace, Hill Cottages and School Row.
Low and High Baring and most of Florence Terrace have been destroyed but the others are still inhabited. During the peak periods of production overcrowding was a problem and beds were said to be "never cold" as shift replaced shift.
The surrounding villages of Hutton le Hole, Farndale, Lastingham, Cropton and Castleton provided part of the Labour force. Many of the men walked to and from work over rough moor land tracks through snowstorms, high winds and rain. Men were said to have arrived home encased in ice in severe weather.
In 1894/95 the snowstorms were so intense, that the mine ceased production altogether. By 1919, the mine's days were numbered, due to rising production costs and lower priced foreign iron ore.
The final blow came in 1926 in the form of a general strike, from then on the mine never reopened and the end of an era had arrived.
last updated: 31/03/2008 at 15:02