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Sir, HAVING recommended to the Directors of Greenwich Hospital, that you should be employed to survey our Lead Mines in Aldstone Moor, and report your opinion of their present Condition, with such suggestions as may occur to you for their improvement; it is desirable that I should state the principal points which appear to me to require your more immediate attention. My Report upon this part of the Hospital’s property, which was printed last year, (and of which a Copy has already been delivered to you), will have acquainted you with the nature of this Property, and the practice which has been hitherto pursued. Your extensive knowledge of Mining Concerns in other Districts, will enable you to determine whether it may be expedient to make any important change in the Leasing and Management of our Property, and whether, under all circumstances, a greater permanent Revenue may be obtained, by the introduction of any other System. Among many other points which will occur to you in the course of your enquiries, I have to request your consideration of those which follow: 1st. To compare the existing System of letting our Mines on Lease with that of other Properties who work their Mines on their own account. 2nd. As to the receipt of one general Rate of Duty from the Lessees, or varying the amount according to the relative value of each Mine. 3rd. As to the usual period of twenty-one years fixed under the present Leases, and the practice of uniformly renewing to the former Tenant on the same Terms, compared with the advantage of letting them on proposal at the expiration of the Term. 4th. As to the several stipulations for the security of the Proprietors, and the practicability of rendering the Leases more simple and convenient to the Tenant, and more advantageous to both Parties. 5th. As to the policy of requiring a systematic mode of working the Mines in general, in order to secure the complete exhaustion of each portion of Mineral Ground so leased, and thereby preventing the neglect of large quantities of Ore which may be left undiscovered, for want of more scientific research. 6th. As to the expediency of letting larger Tracts of Mineral Ground to Companies possessing considerable capital, and giving them a greater latitude in the mode of working the Mines so let. 7th. As to the policy of continuing the purchase of Lead Ore from the smaller Companies of Adventurers, as an encouragement to enterprize. 8th. As to the question how far it may be equitable to require an increased duty, or other mode of reimbursing the expence of carrying forward the Nent Force Level, upon the letting of Mineral Veins discovered by the intersection of that Line. 9th. As to the expediency of accelerating the progress of the Level into the Mineral Ground, by sinking another Shaft at or near Nenthead, and working back towards the higher Level, now driving from Nentsberry Hags. 10th. As to the policy of continuing the trial at Nunstones Copper Vein – and if so, whether it should be carried on at the expense of the Hospital, or let upon a fixed duty to such persons as may propose for it, or any other mode more advantageous; and as to the most eligible provision for smelting or disposing of Copper Ore so raised. 11th. As to the appointment of a better superintendence and control of the Mines in Aldstone Moor, the cheque of the accounts of produce, and the expediency of appointing an Assay Master to inspect the Ore previous to smelting, and of employing a Draftsman to complete a general survey of the Mines, and to continue the same in future, as a record of common reference. 12th. On inspecting the Smelting Mills, at Langley, to point out any improvement in the present establishment, the process of smelting and refining, and to give your opinion as to the preference of reverberatory furnaces over the blast hearths, now in use. 13th. As to the probable advantage of maintaining the Zinc Works, and the best mode of conducting that department, if continued. In reporting your opinion on these, and other questions which will readily occur to you in the course of your inspection, you will receive every assistance and information from our Receivers, and from their subordinate officers in Aldstone Moor; and they will explain to you, the mode of keeping the Mining Accounts in their office at Newcastle, so as to enable you to judge, whether any improvement in the system of accounts for the receipt and sales of Lead, can be introduced with advantage to the Hospital. On the completion of this examination, I shall be glad to receive your Report, as early as may be convenient to you, in order that the Directors may have the opportunity of adopting your suggestions without delay. I have the honor to be, Sir, Your very obedient Servant, E. H. LOCKER To: John Taylor, Esq. (Copy.)
John Taylor (1779 – 1863) was Britain’s foremost mining engineer of his time, and founder of the company John Taylor and Sons, which had mining interests widely across Britain and Ireland and elsewhere in the world. The directors of the Greenwich Hospital commissioned him to report on their mines, associated works and mining leases on Alston Moor. Edward Hawke Locker resigned His situation in Greenwich Hospital In 1844 and Died at Iver in Buckinghamshire 16 October 1849 Aged 72 years. Lockers two introductory sections and Taylor’s report were printed together and the copy transcribed here is amongst the Thomas Bell papers in Newcastle City Library. It is also to be found in The National Archives as ADM 79/61, the finding reference used here.