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Report of Coll. Beaumonts Smelt Mills & Refinerys The Reservoirs for the water for Blaydon refinery are now all fully completed and Mr. Townly has given leave to convey the Water through his Estate which formerly ran waste and for which he charges the yearly rent of £2. 2. 0. One of the Springs we have got conveyed to the reservoir, the other and most considerable one we will not be able to procure untill a field of Corn is cut, the pipes having to pass through a part of it, the distance is very inconsiderable and can be done in 2 or 3 days. A new water wheel, with Cast Iron shrouds, Arms and Flanges with a new Wheel case has also been finished, we have also put in a Cast Iron Cistern, the whole of the conveyance for the Water with the wheel being now of Cast Iron I hope their duration will be very considerable. We are at present making a pair of Slag hearth bellows, and wood of sufficient size for the boards being very difficult to procure, and as we shall probably be wanting more for the use of the other Mills, I have adopted the suggestion of Mr. Cockshutt and got them made of Cast Iron, which if they be found to answer, we need never be at a loss for boards as the Model will always be ready when they are wanted, the present are very good Castings and I have great expectations that they will answer every purpose. Nothing has been done to the Quay Wall represented in my last report as being in a dangerous state, the River Jury being upon a view of the River, were shewn the situation and a sketch of the projection into the River, which they seemed to think too great an Incroachment and might probably alter the course of the River, from the present direction of the flowing and ebbing Tide and the current in a flood. I am not of the same opinion and without we can get the Quay set out considerably farther than it is at present, it would not be worth the expence of rebuilding it. But as we can for the present year dispence with the low Quay part of which has fallen down; when we have occasion for more Quay room I think we had better build an addition to the present range of the New Quay which would be upon Coll. Beaumont’s own property. Having been at considerable expence with the Iron Pipes and Reservoirs the Horizontal Chimneys have also been deferred this Season. [Allen Mill] Two new Bingsteads and the road across Mr. Dixon’s field to the back of them has been made at Allen Mill and 2 or 3 more will be added as soon as possible, a Roasting Furnace is also in considerable forwardness and will soon be completed. The Water wheel shaft has lately again began to have a crackling noise. I have had Michl. Elliott to examine it who thinks the fault is in the shaft not being sufficiently strong which makes it bend and occasions the working of the barrelling. Wm. Robson is of opinion that it may be cured by drawing every other stave of the barreling and reducing them as he thinks that the crackling is occasioned by the barreling being over tight. But as Mr Cockshutt will probably be in the Country Shortly, I shall not do anything untill I have his directions. Timber still continuing very dear the building the Counting house here has been deferred this year. [Rookhope Mill.] The building of the Horizontal Chimneys at Rookhope Mill was late in commencing owing to the very uncertain state of the weather this Spring. I thought that the cheapest and most expeditious way to get them done, was to advertise the building them by proposals, and have accordingly agreed with the lowest on reasonable terms, the person agreed with is a very good Mason and very qualified for the undertaking. Having experienced considerable difficulty last year in procuring Carriers for a sufficient quantity of Lead Ore to the different Mills and especially to Dukesfield, we have been under the necessity of considerably advancing the prices this year which yet appears to be insufficient as the Alston Moor Mine Proprietors have more considerably advanced theirs and in all probability would continue to do so if Coll: Beaumonts were again to be advanced, as many of those Miners are under the necessity of having their Lead Ore brought to Market to procure ready money to carry on their mines, and therefore will give any price to secure the Carriers. From their being such a demand for Carriers occasioned by great quantities of Ore being raised at Cross fell and in Alston Moor, which has mostly this year been carried to a considerable distance, it becomes the more necessary for Coll: Beaumont to have a sufficient number of his own Carriers that can be depended upon and therefore the more urgent necessity for inforcing as many of Coll. Beaumonts own Tenants as have conveniance for that purpose to keep Carrier Galloways. The Greenwich Hospital having nearly changed all their old Tenants and very considerably advanced their Rents, we have had very little assistance from them this year, which has also made our Lead Carriers very scarce and has obliged us to raise that Carriage considerably from Rookhope & Dukesfield Mills but I have little fear but that we shall be able to get all the Lead brought in that will be wanted. Nothing have been done either by the Township Surveyors or the Commissioners of the South Turnpike Road towards repairing it and from the very great Carriage we had upon it last year it was in many places rendered almost impassible and the branch to Bankfoot was so very bad that the Cart Axle trus litterally touched the Road in many situations from the Wheel tracks being worn so deep. After repeated applications to the Commrs. Surveyor two or three Meetings of the Commr. took place at which I attended and stated to them very respectfully the great inconvenience Coll. B. suffered from the state of the Road, I found them equally desirous with myself to repairing the Turnpike road leading to Hexham and under the fear of an Indictment prevailed upon the Township of Prudhoe where the worst part of that Road was, to lead Stones sufficient for its repair which the Commissrs. would break and lay upon the Road. I was sorry to find the Commr. very indifferent about repairing the Branch, and indeed it was very evident that it was the wish of some of them to keep it in its present state being very little used for any other Carriage except for Coll. B. which some of them told me they wished as much as possible to prevent from coming that way as it destroyed the other part of the Turnpike. If that part only of the Turnpike was repaired without the other Coll. B. would not derive much advantage from it, so that after taking Mr Morrison’s opinion I attended the Northd. Easter Quarter Sessions and Indicted the branch which I find has given offence to some of the Gentlemen Commrs. who will have to contribute to the repair of the Road. Jno. Mulcaster Blaydon Refy. 30th June 1809
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 appears to have been faithfully copied, other than the inclusion here of two paragprahs at the end concerning the South Turnpike which are not included in the office copy.