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‘British Clayworker’, May 1894
The Method of Working Shropshire’s Broseley or Red Clay


Unlike most clays of this class, the ‘Broseley Clay’ is not procured by the usual openwork system, but is mined, the clay getters have to descend shafts, make gate roads and air headings, using large quantities of pit timber and other necessaries for the clays working, in fact, similarly to the methods used in the Stourbridge district for getting fire clay. The gate roads are usually driven to the boundary; when reached, a portion of clay is undermined, a charge of mining powder is used, and a large quantity of clay is sent to the surface. This operation is repeated, the miners retreating little by little towards the shaft until that section of the mine is exhausted.

The work is sometimes done by day or weekly wage, and sometimes by contract. When by the latter the contractor finds all the labour down the pit, the remuneration being based upon the quantity of stacks of clay raised to the surface, the stack being 6ft 2in x 6ft 2in x 3ft 1in, and the weight about 5 tons. The price for getting is about 1s per ton, exclusive of the engine driver and banks-man. The red clay is picked out and sent up separately, for this an extra 3d or 4d a ton is paid to the contractor. The shaft usually in operation is about 7ft. to 9ft. diameter, and extends to a depth of 20 or 30ft; the cost of sinking would be about 30s per yard. It requires two of these shafts to every mile; one being the air shaft, the other for raising the clay to the surface.


Submitted by Ivor Brown

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