Engine house and chimney, 100m WSW of Shildon.
Reasons for Designation
Approximately 10,000 lead industry sites are estimated to survive in England, spanning nearly three millennia of mining history from the later Bronze Age (c.1000 BC) until the present day, though before the Roman period it is likely to have been on a small scale. Two hundred and fifty one lead industry sites, representing approximately 2.5% of the estimated national archaeological resource for the industry, have been identified as being of national importance. This selection of nationally important monuments, compiled and assessed through a comprehensive survey of the lead industry, is designed to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity. The ore works were an essential part of a lead mining site, where the mixture of ore and waste rock extracted from the ground were separated (`dressed') to form a smeltable concentrate. The range of processes used can be summarised as: picking out of clean lumps of ore and waste; breaking down of lumps to smaller size (either by manual hammering or by mechanical crushing); sorting of broken material by size; separation of gravel sized material by shaking on a sieve in a tub of water (`jigging'); and separation of finer material by washing away the lighter waste in a current of water (`buddling'). The field remains of ore works include the remains of crushing devices, separating structures and tanks, tips of distinctive waste from the various processes, together with associated water supply and power installations, such as wheel pits and, more rarely, steam engine houses. Simple ore dressing devices had been developed by the 16th century, but the large majority of separate ore works sites date from the 18th and 19th centuries, during which period the technology used evolved rapidly. Ore works represent an essential stage in the production of metallic lead, an industry in which Britain was a world leader in the 18th and 19th centuries. Sites are common in all lead mining areas and a sample of the best preserved sites (covering the regional, chronological, and typological variety of the class) will merit protection.
The engine house and chimney WSW of Shildon is relatively well-preserved with substantial portions of the structure standing intact. The monument provides insight into the industrialisation of the lead mining industry in the early 19th century.
This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes the remains of an engine house, also known as Shildon Castle, of early 19th century date, situated adjacent to Shildon Burn. The engine house once housed a Cornish pumping engine used for the Derwent lead mines. The engine house is square-shaped, standing to five stories, and is in three stages divided by chamfered set-backs. The structure is preserved as a roofless shell with the south face of the building being constructed of tooled and margined stone and the remainder being of coursed rubble with tooled quoins and dressings. The south face also has a tall round-headed arch where the engine arm previously extended down into the mine. There are several square-headed openings and a doorway on the west side. Most of the attached boiler house on the east side is preserved as foundations except for a tall square chimney which stands intact.
The engine for the engine house was constructed around 1800-1810. In 1810 the Derwent Mining Company took over mining at Shildon from Easterby Hall and Co. Between 1840-50 the pumping engine was removed and taken to Walker Colliery, Newcastle upon Tyne. After the engine house fell out of use it was used to house several families.
The engine house is a listed building Grade II.