Many thanks again to Gerald Ford and Ron Pither for a pleasant morning spent wondering down memory lane – well ‘Paint Mines Lane’ actually. With the help of volunteer Ros Ford and her son Jake, we first visited the old mine entrance in from Brunswick Wharf (by Croft’s independent financial advisors) to peer through the old rotten door to see if we could spy the old adit within that took the miners under the railway and into the lower shaft. The site had been a coal merchant for many years after the mines closed and stained orange water still runs out through the car park from the disused shafts.
The old coal yard/mine entrance at Brunswick Wharf (p ward 2013)
We then proceeded to Chapel Park to explore Cleave Wood, or Paint Mine Woods as it was known to locals. We found the old Mary Ann shaft that was blocked off as recently as 2011 and various but sadly few remains of the mines and processing plant. Despite the recent development of the site and use as a landfill which has drastically re-landscaped the area Ron and Gerald described the basic layout of the plant and recalled many memories of their days working (and playing) there. They remembered the beauty of working surrounded by woods and streams, of childhoods scrumping apples, cutting boughs of holly for Christmas, dropping stones down the old shafts and finding ‘wuzzy bears’ (sweet chestnuts) while they were courting. An interesting time was had by all with much to return to for another day.
Gerald Ford and Ron Pither at the entrance to Mary-Ann Shaft in Cleave Wood (p ward 2013)