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Mottram Mines


The mines at Mottram are known to lie along a fault, similar to the arrangement at Engine Vein, but because of their location below the Edge and below the local water table (as was thought), little attention had been paid to them by the Club.  In addition, it was believed at first that all the remains were centred around the works shown on the photograph above.  This changed in 1980 when a shaft was opened with permission from the owner near the Alderley Edge to Prestbury road.  This dropped into the shaft shown to the left on the plan below.  After surveying the workings and taking some photographs, the Club had to leave the shaft to the property developers who promptly filled it in again.  Other shafts were known in the area but were not investigated.

Some ten years later, a landowner on the other side of the road called on the DCC to help with a drainage problem which resulted in the excavation of a second shaft entering the same system.  A great deal of work was done securing the system but as it had to be pumped to keep it dry, the mine passage found then is now likely to be flooded again but at least it has been recorded and could be reopened in the future.

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We do not know when Mottram was first worked but it could have been the early 19th century, judging by the passages under Harry Grange shaft.  According to the account of the finding of cobalt at the Edge, it was first recognised in mines at Mottram in the early 19th century.  Around the same time, a smelter for lead was built at Kirkley Ditch (synonymous with Mottram St Andrew).  There was certainly a period of working from about 1860 (more or less coincident with the start of the Alderley Edge mines) until about 1865.  A separate company, the Mottram St. Andrew Mining Company Limited, was formed to exploit the mines but five out of the seven initial subscribers were also involved in the Alderley Edge Mining Company Limited.  However, when the company ceased trading it was put in the hands of receivers who sold the assets in 1866.  In the nick of time, Roscoe, the Manchester chemist, found the famous mottramite containing vanadium and assuring Mottram a place in history.  In the early 20th century, Mottram was again investigated but nothing significant appears to have been mined - the same story as at Alderley Edge.

Sir Arthur Russel's report of 1919 provides a good description of the mines at the time and is reproduced below:

"At the Mottram St Andrew Mine there are said to be two copper-bearing belts which were erroneously known as the North and South lodes.  The strike of both is north-west.  The North lode which is described as a true lode may be a mineralised fault as it is said to dip north-east at an angle of 70 from the horizontal and to outcrop throughout the length to which it has been found productive, that is for a distance of about 450 yards along the strike.  The impregnation is said to have ceased to be productive at a depth from the surface of 48 feet.

"The South lode is undoubtedly a bed of copper-bearing sandstone and is probably identical and contemporaneous with the bottom bed as exposed at Stormy Point, Alderley Edge.  It apparently rests on the Bunter sand?stones.  Its thickness is variable but averages about 12 feet, the width of the impregnation varying from 1 to 40 feet.  The roof of the bed was clay and required timbering.  The average yield of copper from the North lode was about 1.5% and from the South lode or bed 2%. Some masses of ore from the North lode contained 25% copper.  Mineralogically, the ores, though somewhat richer, are precisely similar to those occurring at Alderley Edge.  The following minerals occur, malachite, azurite (both in sandstone and conglomerate), galena, cerussite and pyromorphite (forming the cementing material of conglomerate), asbolite (containing cobalt, nickel and manganese).  Barytes is abundant throughout the mass both as a cementing material and in definite strings. The workings are at present quite inaccessible and in part at any rate under water.

"Some of the copper-bearing ground has been removed opencast in the so-called Kirkleyditch Quarry.  There are two shallow shafts both of which are open and from one of which Kirkleyditch Village is supplied with water by a small wind pumpA shallow adit driven from near the old reducing works on the South connects with these workings, its mouth is however choked.  There are said to be two other shafts in the middle of the sand dumps close to the reducing works.

"Judging from the size of the leached sand dumps the output could never have been large.  It seems quite possible that there may be considerable quantities of ore still unworked in this mine; before, however, embarking on any scheme of reopening, a careful geological survey should be made of the immediate surroundings in order to as far as possible determine the extent of the beds and faulting, if any."

After closure, the treatment works became a children's playground - much as at Alderley but with the formal approval of the Council!

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The section entered in 1980 and the mid-1990s consists of a passage along the fault at about 10 to 15 metres below the surface.  The deeper shaft does not appear to have led to workings and may have been a pumping shaft.  The workings are mainly linear although there are branches off the bottom of "Harry Grange Shaft".  The mine was worked for copper and lead but the eponymous Mottramite, a vanadium ore is still visible in the section the DCC reopened.  The mine appears to have continued for a further 500 metres or more to the south but the way was blocked by a significant surface collapse just to the south of the area we reopened.  There was a shaft at the works, hence the pump shown on the photograph, but this has been lost now.  A small level and another shaft are open on private land in the area.  There are no known historic plans of the mines at Mottram.

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There is currently no access to any underground mine remains at Mottram.  All of the known remains are on or under private land.

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Here are a couple of pictures supplied by Steve showing the mines and Mottramite.  Before you mineral hounds try to get at the Mottramite, I should point out that all shafts have now been back-filled - sorry!


Go to the main photo gallery for more pictures of the Mottram mines.

click a picture below to enlarge it

Looking up the cleared shaftThe passage connecting the new and old shaft entrancesDigging in the Mottram MineMottramite inside the mine
Looking up the cleared shaftThe passage connecting the new and old shaft entrancesDigging in the Mottram MineMottramite inside the mine
Mottramite inside the mine   
Mottramite inside the mine   

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Please note, some detail may not be shown at present for security and safety reasons.

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