The Lloyds (part way between Ironbridge and Coalport) is an ancient part of the Coalbrookdale mining field.
It is described as "Engine and Smiths shops" on the 1840 lease and is obviously a very old (18th C.) operation. On the 1847 Tithe Map it is described as Plot 1337 "Lloyds Engine House, Buildings, Pool, Pitmount" owned by Joseph Reynolds and occupied by the Madeley Wood Company.
Water Engine or Lloyds Pumping Engine Pit - History
The layout of the mine in 1847 is similar to that shown on the 1880s OS Map.
There is mention of a very early engine at "Smiths Gin Pit situate and being in the Lloyds" in 1726, it was certainly one of the earliest steam engines in Shropshire.
It is possible that this was the same Smith as referred to in 'Smiths shop' of the 1840 lease mentioned above or did this have a different meaning? It is known that there was a pumping engine here about 1820 because a boy named Brown (relative of the writer) accidentally caused an explosion in the offices nearby which blew the windows "as far as the pumping engine".
Photos survive of a pumping engine about 1900 and in the 1960s the pumping spear protruded from the shaft by about 11ft. The pump's "forks broke" about 1911 and work ceased at the shaft the following year although water readings were still being taken in 1919.
A mine plan for Blists Hill Mine shows a deep level from that mine heading in the direction of The Lloyds so presumably when working the pump was also draining that mine at depth, but shallow water was being removed by the Tar Tunnel.
There is a description of the engine at The Lloyds in the American magazine called "Power" dated 23 July 1912. (Here the engine is referred to by its alternative name 'Wharf Pit', a name which continues in the field name nearby ('Wharf Pit Meadow').
The American description, and the results of an excavation carried out in the 1970s, are discussed in two papers by the present writer "Excavations of the Lloyds Engine Shaft", SMC Journal 1976 and "The Lloyds - some aspects of a 19th C. mining community" in Industrial Archaeological Review Vol. XIV No.1 Autumn 1991.
Until about 1993 it was still possible to enter some cavities in the shaft top area probably relating to various engine works, and to study the gin circle and boiler site remains, but the site has recently been 'stabilised'.
The shaft top and some structures can now be clearly seen but the remains of the pump rod lie some distance away hidden in vegetation! The site is well worth a visit.
The magazine 'Power' referred to previously said that the engine was used only for pumping, it had three boilers, two haystack and one egg-ended, and an open top cylinder 26" diameter with 8ft. stroke. The beam was of cast iron, 20ft. long and at the 'water end' there were two working barrels, each 9.75inch bore, working from a depth of 300ft., each barrel lifting 150ft. The equipment was said to be 115 years old ie: dating from 1797.
There are some doubts about the depth of the shaft since there is a surviving geological section of a pit entitled 'Water Engine Air Pit' (No.12 on the location Map). The British Geological Survey have always marked this airshaft, some 70ft. higher, vertically up the hill behind the Pumping Shaft and yet the various reported depths to individual seams are usually given to within a foot difference in both shafts. This could only be so if there was a fault of about 70ft between them, which is unlikely.
A Madeley Wood Company survey of 1909 gives the following information:
- >'Lloyds Water Pit' surface level 180ft. depth to Pennystone, 213ft. to Clods, 291ft. (This fits well with a note in the Lilleshall Company notebook, 18th March 1836 'Old Engine Pit in the Lloyds, Bottom (Big Flint) Coal 126ft.').
Assuming the pump went down to the rich Crawstone Ironstone Seam, the shaft would have been about 337ft. deep. As already stated it is puzzling that the shaft section at the Airshaft should give depths to the seams to within a foot.
In addition to those mentioned in the text:
Report & Sketch: Ivor Brown
Bad Air - Although all of this mine is now sealed bad air - mainly oxygen deficiency has been recorded in them in the past.
If you visit the area: DO NOT enter any workings or tunnels without proper precautions - people have died in tunnels in the Gorge through bad air, so BEWARE.