South Glos Mines Research Group Talk: Windrush Quarry
Coalpit Heath Cricket Club
7.30 for 8pm, Cricket Club, Serridge Lane, Coalpit Heath, BS36 2TT
A talk by Jonathan Maisey on the history and exploration of Windrush Quarry, one of the underground sources of Cotswold stone.
This mine is situated between the village of Windrush and the A40 Cheltenham-Oxford road. Building stone has been quarried in the area since the fifteenth century and ‘Windrush stone’ has been used in many areas, including Oxford and St George’s Chapel, Windsor (1478-79 and 1803-04).
The mine is known to have been worked by the Wright family of Windrush from sometime prior to 1840 until the early in the twentieth century when it closed (just before WW1). The closure was due to the introduction of new safety regulations which no longer made the mine economic to continue. For a few years after its closure it continued to be used by the Windrush village band who used part of the mine (the underground stables) to practice in on a Sunday.
The site was first visited by members of the Gloucester Speleological Society (GSS) in 1972 and in 1981 the mine (via the ‘Windrush 1’ entrance) was opened up and explored. Following the initial survey (in the late 1980s-early 1990s), work at the site reduced (as other local mine sites took precedence). In 2010, in order to make a record of all the underground graffiti within the mine, a survey was started and at the same time, digging also restarted at a number of interesting leads identified years earlier. In 2011 a large extension was made (Windrush 2) and a second entrance uncovered. In 2013 another large section of the mine was discovered and a third entrance identified (Windrush 3). Since 2013 ongoing surveying and digging has continued and it is expected that additional large discoveries are possible in due course (in July 2015 another section of mine was uncovered, near entrance 3).
The GSS is currently in the process of attempting to gather as much information as possible about the mine in order to produce a book on the history of the mine. Jon Maisey will give a talk on the mine and what has been learned so far.
Non-members welcome - £2 each. Membership costs £17.50 per year.