SCMC - News & Trips

SCMC News & Trip Reports

SCMC News & Trip Reports

Home About Us News Publications & Research Labyrinth Gadgets Digging Training Links
About Us News Publications & Research Labyrinth Gadgets Digging Training Links

SCMCSCMC News & Trip Reports

Good News at Nenthead Mine

Good News at Nenthead

Nenthead Mines Conservation Society (NMCS) are now the owners of the freehold of most of the mine site. This took effect from 23rd October 2020.

Rampgill, Caplecleugh, Carrs, Firestone, Smallcleugh and Middlecleugh Level entrances are on the NMCS landholding. They also own a small piece of land including Brownley Hill Low Level entrance.

The NMCS is looking forward to seeing old and new friends and hope that you will join them in caring for and developing the site in 2021.

More details on the NMCS website.

Snailbeach engine house and dressing floor boxes

Tidy-up at Snailbeach

Just before Lockdown 2 came into effect Club members helped the Shropshire Mines Trust with some end of season work at Snailbeach.

Part of the work involved moving some wooden launders and boxes that were once at the north end of the White tips and had been stored in the compressor house for some years (about 30!) into the 1872 winding engine house to make them more visible to members of the public.

The waterwheel parts which are believed to be from the dressing floor area were also moved into the engine house.

Dr. Matthew Parkes (1962-2020)

It is with great sadness that I have to inform members that Matthew Parkes passed away on Friday October 23rd 2020 following a massive heart-attack at his home in Dublin. His passing is an immense loss to his family, friends and the caving, mining history and geological communities in Ireland.

He was involved in Irish caving for over 30 years and held many key posts in the Speleological Union of Ireland (SUI) and the Mining History Trust of Ireland. He was the librarian of both, ensuring the cataloguing and safekeeping of their respective collections. He spearheaded cave and mine conservation efforts in Ireland, and recorded many obscure mines and caves throughout the country. An excellent publisher and editor, he wrote many papers and articles for a variety of journals - including editing issues of the MHTI Journal and Newsletter, the SUI Newsletter, the caving journal Irish Speleology, the popular magazine ES2K (Earth Science 2000), and the prestigious Irish Journal of Earth Sciences.

In his day job as a geological curator with the National Museum of Ireland he carried out invaluable work in archiving and maintaining Ireland's geological heritage.

Matthew in middle level of Gortavallig copper mine, Sheep’s Head Way, County Cork, Ireland

Matthew in middle level of Gortavallig copper mine, Sheep’s Head Way, County Cork, Ireland

Read more about Matthew on the National Museum of Ireland website.

More Sad News - Jim Rieuwerts

Mining history lost another of it's great figures with the passing of Jim Rieuwerts on Thursday 5 November 2020.

Recognised as the leading authority on Peak District mining history, he published the results of his research widely. He was one of the three people who arranged the public meeting in 1959 that lead to the formation of the Peak District Mines Historical Society (PDMHS). He was always keen to help fellow researchers, aiding Ivor Brown with some of his articles on the Peak District.

In May 2016 he became the longest continuously serving juror of the Barmote in Wirksworth, having completed 50 years of service, 14 of which were spent as foreman of the jury due to his knowledge and expertise in the intricacies of Peak mining law.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

Jim Rieuwerts with the Miners' Standard Dish at Wirksworth Barmoote Court, 2009.

Jim Rieuwerts with the Miners' Standard Dish at Wirksworth Barmoote Court, 2009

2019 Club Annual Dinner

As we were not able to hold an Annual dinner in 2020 the report of the 2019 Annual dinner which was held at the Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury on 5th October 2019 has been left up.

Following the meal a painting of the Pontesford 1784 engine house, which was kindly donated to the Club by Iris Brown raised a respectable £100 when auctioned. The painting, by Malcolm Newton, was commissioned by Ivor Brown in 1993 when he couldn’t get a decent picture of the engine house. Ivor asked Malcolm if he could produce this picture, but move the tree slightly to one side to improve the view of the engine house.

The after dinner talk was given by the BCA Equipment Officer Nigel Atkins, covering some of the activities that he has been involved in.

The sealed envelope raffle at the dinner raised £90 for MCRO. To foil those who checked their envelopes for tickets in advance of the draw using a torch or mobile phone, blank tickets had cunningly been put in all the envelopes that didn’t have winning tickets in.

Nigel Atkins - the Electric Ferret

BCA Equipment Officer Nigel Atkins (aka the Electric Ferret), giving the after dinner talk at the Club dinner in Shrewsbury.

Club Chair Neal Rushton auctioning the Pontesford 1784 engine house painting

Club Chair Neal Rushton with the Pontesford 1784 engine house painting.

ResCon19, BCRC Conference, Mendip, 6th to 8th September

ResCon19, BCRC Conference

The bi-annual British Cave Rescue Council Conference "ResCon" was held at Priddy, Mendip, over the weekend 6th to 8th September. Tickets for the weekend included camping & food (everything except the bar) - a real bargain!

Delegates took part in a number of underground workshops, including dive rescue sessions in Wookey Hole and underground comms exercises. Lectures were at the camp site, luckily it wasn't too sunny so it was possible to see the presentations.

See the BCRC website for more

Alveley Mining memorial

Alveley Mining Memorial

Unveiled during the 'Pit in the Park' event by the Mayor of Bridgnorth Ron Whittle OBE, on 6th October 2019 to mark the 50th anniversary of the closure of Alveley Colliery.

Ray Mathews of the Alveley History Society managed to source an Ormerod detaching hook of the same type as was used at the colliery. This has been mounted on chains over a reconstructed pit top.

Miners hat with candle and lens

Diary Dates 2021


Unfortunately all face-to-face meetings and events have been cancelled or postponed until the end of the Coronavirus restrictions.

Monthly Meetings - Normally held on the first Friday of the month, these are now online meetings. It is also planned to hold 'social' evenings on the third Friday of the month. The secretary usually emails the meeting details out a day or so before hand. Please contact him if you don't receive meeting minutes and access details by email.

2nd to 5th July, 2021: NAMHO 21 Conference (hosted by the Club) -  Venue tba. 

October 2021: 2nd International Early Engines Conference, Black Country Living Museum, Dudley. It is still hoped that this event will happen, but it is too early to say at the moment. Keep an eye on: - POSTPONED FROM May 2020 


Old Items of interest

crossed picks Ivor Brown Memorial Day, 2018

crossed picks Bog Ropeway Trestle, 2018

crossed picks Snailbeach Disaster Memorial plaque, 2018

crossed picks Talybont (Alltycrib) Trip Report, 2018

crossed picks 40 Yard Truck, 2015

crossed picks Black Tom Jigs, 2013

crossed picks Safety Platform Work - Snailbeach, 2013

crossed picks Hughs Bridge Canal Tunnel, 2012

crossed picks Snailbeach 112 yard trip, 2011

crossed picks SCMC 50th Anniversary Dinner, 2011

crossed picks Miners Reunion, - 2009 events

crossed picks NAMHO 2009 - a brief report

crossed picks Crushing Blow!, Criggion Quarry

crossed picks Collapse in Level Fawr, Cwmystwyth

crossed picks Nine Madeley Men - re-dedication

crossed picks Old relics from a Broseley Mine

MCRO & British Cave Rescue Council

We support the Midlands Cave Rescue Organisation (MCRO)


mine tub


Entrance to the Labyrinth ...

Enter the Labyrinth
.... if you dare !!!
or be an Armchair Caver!!

© Shropshire Caving & Mining Club. Last updated: 13-Jan-2021