Mining in the Black Country.
The Earl of Dudley Wallows Pit Number 29 Brierley Hill. An 0 gauge micro layout.
The mining subsidence, open shafts, cinder tips, heaps of slag and waves of black smoke made the Hill a very unappetising place to live on, so much so that a rhyme was composed comparing it to Hell.
When Satan stood on Brierley Hill
And far around it gazed,
He said, “I never more shall feel
At hell’s fierce flames amazed.”
As far as the eye can reach, on all sides, tall chimneys vomit forth clouds of black smoke, and the sulphurous flames of the fiery furnaces are observed in all directions.
From ancient times it was known that Staffordshire was rich in ironstone and coal. In fact, during the Roman occupation iron was manufactured in the Dudley area by primitive means. During the 19th century the Earl of Dudley was to own the ground under which lay the coal seam 10-15 yards thick which would provide the fuel for the ironmaking and the industries that would make the Black Country the industrial heartland of Britain. There is a simple formula: (Coal + Iron ore) + (limestone + clay + sand) = Black Country industrial development.
One of the last working pits was on Burton Road in Upper Gornal, worked until about 1950. True to form, I have massaged history for the Wallows Pit Number 29 (often referred to as Nine Locks) to be still working around the same time.
The model, my tenth in a series of Black Country themed layouts, is purely a snapshot of one of the Earls Mines. More than 40 such mines are shown on old plans and this model represents a typical small pit. Small scale, rough and ready. Track work is code 125bh rail soldered on copper clad sleepers. overall size is 2 metres x 21 inches. The n gauge track in the photos will be 0:9 narrow gauge.