Report – John Mulcaster to Martin Morrison – 29 Oct 1808

Document Type: Report
Date: 29 Oct 1808
Correspondent: John Mulcaster
Recipient: Martin Morrison
Archive Source: NRO 2672 Box C105
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J.Mulcaster’s Report Octobr 29th 1808

Report of the State of Coll. & Mrs Beaumont’s Smelt Mills and Refinerys Octr. 29th 1808

Blaydon Refinery.

      The Iron Pipes which were preparing when Coll. & Mrs Beaumont, and Mr Cockshutt were last here are now all laid and the joints calked according to the directions given by Mr. Cockshutt we have laid the Pipes in such a manner that we can take the Water from either Reservoir and shut the communication with one or both at pleasure which will enable us to clean out either without stopping the Refinery.    We are also at present forming the new Reservoir pointed out to Mr Cockshutt & approved of by him for collecting the Mud and Smiths ashes which are brought down from Winlaton in Floods in great quantities, it will be much easier cleaned than the large Reservoir that the water was usually collected in. 

        My application to Mr. Townly’s Agent this term for the Water pointed out to Mr Cockshutt that runs waste at present has been more successful than the former one.  We have not agreed upon the Terms he promised to write me on that subject from Lancashire which I shall communicate as soon as I receive the Information

      We will by this additional water be enabled to keep our slag hearth in the winter season constantly employed which is very desirous as we have a very great quantity of old wastes laying at present quite useless at the Refinery.  A new Blowing Machine will also be wanted as the Hearth is now worked by the Refinery bellows.  Mr Cockshutt will please to say whether he would wish us to have Leather or Cylinder Bellows.  I believe the former will require less water, and will answer our purpose very well altho the other are preferable for a Slag hearth.  It will also be necessary to increase the power of the Water Wheel as the present one has as much Machinery applied as it can overcome being limited in the Diameter.  I see no other way but by increasing the breadth of the Buckets.  Michl. Elliott thinks that the present Wheel cannot very easily be widened, and recommends a new Cast Iron one which will be very little more expensive than a wood one & considerably more durable.  If it is determined that any Horizontal Chimneys  are to be erected at this place the sooner in the Spring they are proceeded with the better the advantages of such erections are now I think very sufficiently ascertained from the experiments & calculations already in the possession of Mr. Cockshutt.  As we have been at very considerable expence in laying the pipes &c I wish very much to adopt that saving which will very soon repay the expence of their own erection as well as that of the Iron pipes.

      The Quay rented of Miss Simpson and Lord Strathmoor is become so very bad that it is dangerous to lay lead upon some parts of it, and I fear before it can be made usefull it will have to be taken down quite to the foundation, it unfortunately happens that Coll. & Mrs. Beaumont are only Tenants at Will the lease by which it was held having expired many years ago altho’ we are suffered to keep it at the same Rent, before any expence is incurred perhaps  it would be prudent to endeavour to procure another lease even at an advanced Rent altho’ I am afraid that will be attended with difficulty in the present condition of Miss Simpson.  If the Quay is taken down I would recommend to set it out in the manner shewn in the inclosed sketch which will give us considerable more Quay Room – we cannot dispence with less than we have at present it will therefore be absolutely necessary either to repair the present quay or build an addition to Coll. Beaumonts own which if done will not be quite so convenient as the other.  

[This original letter omits the line drawing of the quay included here in the office copy, evidently sent as an attached sketch, now lost]

Dukesfield Mill.

      I am happy to have to report that the very large stock laying at this Mill this Summer is now all delivered and upon the Road to Blaydon except a small quantity reserved here for the use of the Refinery during the Winter season.  I have desired Mr. Westgarth to employ the Roasting Furnace at this place as fully as possible this Winter and to make repeated tryals of different Lead ores to ascertain the benefits derived from that operation.  If it should be found beneficial to employ the Roasting Furnace constantly at this place it will be necessary to erect a new one in a larger house as the confined situation of the present place renders it very unpleasant & probably injurious to the health of the Workmen the present house would be usefull as a Coal house and will save the expence of building one as projected.

Rookhope Mill.

      The new Bingsteads are now completed and part of them in present use, so that I expect more attention will be paid to separating the different Ores than has hitherto been done, the advantages of which I pointed out in my former report.  The Season being so far advanced before it was determined to extend the Horizontals at this place, nothing has been done except preparing Clay for making Bricks and Stones for the foundation, and Arches so that we shall be ready to commence the building early in the Spring.

        The Roasting of the lead ore is constantly practised at this place as usual.

Allenheads Mill.

      No particular observations at present necessary to make here  the Work as usual being carried on to the full extent the Machinery will admit.  The Roasting funace at this place is ordered to be kept constantly employed.

Allen Mill. 

      The Water Wheel shaft has been examined and additional hoops applyed  where they were supposed necessary which has in a great measure cured the Wheel of the crackling noise observed before.  A small Stream of Water  has also been conveyed in a Tin Pipe inclosed in a small wood box to fall upon the Gudgeons as directed by Mr Cockshutt.  The Bingsteads and the new road to them as pointed out are now in hands and expect they will be ready for the reception of the Ore early in the Spring.  The Weather being so very uncertain at this place so late in the Season, we have defered building the Counting house and Roasting Furnace untill the Spring as I was doubtfull they would not be able to get them covered in before Winter set in.  The old Corn Mill and old low Mill House have been taken down and the Stones applyed to building the Bingsteads etc.

General observations. 

       The Ore Carriage for this Season is now nearly completed except to Allen Mill & Allenheads Mill which as long as the Roads are not blocked up with snow can be constantly supplyed from the mines.  I hope that they will all be kept fully imployed untill we can get a supply in the Spring having nearly all of them as much Ore as will service them smelting untill the beginning of May before which time the Ore Carriage generally begins.

      The Lead Carriers are also beginning to leave off carrying except those that have the benefit of the Turnpike from Allen & Allenheads Mill and from Dukesfield by way of Hexham, the Dukesfield road to Bankfoot is almost quite impassible from the very heavy Carriage that has been upon it and indeed the South Turnpike from thence is in a little better state altho they have advanced the Tolls, it is still my decided opinion that unless it is indicted it will never be in a better state, if that were done either at the Christmas or Easter Sessions there would be some hopes of having a better road next Summer.  I expect we will receive as much lead before the end of the year as will enable us to compleat the whole of the present Sales except the last 5000 pieces to Messrs. Prestons, and that I hope we will be able to finish by the end of March.

      Mr Cockshutt wishing so particularly to have the roasting of the lead ore more extensively practiced, I have desired all the Mill Agents that have convenience for that purpose to attend more particularly to that operation.  I have also given directions that the Lead procured from Roasted ore shall be marked with a large letter R, which is to be continued upon the Lead after Refining, as well as upon the labels attached to the Litharge Casks by which the difference of quality (if there should be any) may be observed and pointed out.

      						Jno. Mulcaster

      					Blaydon Refinery 29t Octr. 1808
This is the original letter from Mulcaster from which a copy was entered into the book of mining reports now held as NRO 672/E/1F/1. This original contains slightly more detail than given in the office copy.

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The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project aimed to celebrate and discover the heritage of the Dukesfield Arches & lead carriers' routes between Blaydon and the lead mines of Allendale and Weardale. A two year community project, it was led by the Friends of the North Pennines in partnership with Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the active support of Allendale Estates. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the generous support of other sponsors. Friends of the North Pennines: Charity No:1137467