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Forum Home > Mining History. > Ramrod Hall Colliery.

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Ramrod Hall Colliery. William Hunt. Ramrod Hall Farm.


I've been asked how this mine got it's name, as it's bit out of the ordinary. The story goes back to before 1768, when an Ironworks was established near Brades Village, Oldbury, on the side of the Birmingham Canal. From the start of the American War of Independence, 1775 - 1782, it was noted, that the rate and accuracy of the American forces musket fire, was far better than the British. The answer lay in the type of Ramrods used, the British used wood, the Americans iron, which enabled then to ram the charge home better. The order soon went out to produce iron Ramrods, and the bulk of the orders ended up in Birmingham. Brades Ironworks got some of the work from William Hunt, a Birmingham ironmaster. He made so much money from this work, that in 1782, when the war ended, he came to Oldbury and started an Edged Tool Ironworks at Brades Village. The firm continued, among the many other products, to turn out Iron Ram Rods, for the skill required was little,and  there was plenty of ( very ) cheap local labour. The area was mainly rural, and he decided to build himself a house, choosing a spot well away from the smoke of the Ironworks, at the then, very quiet White Heath. on a small piece of land, leased from the Earl of Dudley. His workers, all local, who knew full well in what trade he had made his money, nicknamed his house, Ramrod Hall. Although thats not what William Hunt, nor his friends called it. Far from being as grand as a Hall suggests, it was what he described as a Gentlemans Country residence,  very comfortable, and he spent a few idealic years there. He had not however foreseen; the swift advance of industry, nor the Earl of Dudley's relentless search for profit, from the mineral wealth of the area, to which he had staked a claim. The area soon began to be despoiled by quarrying and mining, the Earl starting a Coal Mine almost in the houses front yard, and which would extend beneath it over time. He abandoned the area, and sold the small area of land and the house, back to the Earl of Dudley, who owned the mineral rights to most of the district. The Earl had no use for the house, which by now had fallen into wrack and ruin, as the tenants he put in it failed to do any maintenance. I should add, at this stage, the so called Ramrod Hall, was never used as a Farm, nor indeed, were Ramrods ever made on the premise's.  In the late 1840s, it was proposed to sink a shaft for a new mine, very near the house, in fact, this time, right in the back yard. As the house stood in the way of profit, it was demolished about 1853, and they named the Pit after the House. One of the outbuildings was used for many years as the Pits Office, until that too was demolished. The pit closed down in 1925, worked out and prone to persistant flooding. There was another building which also shared the name with the old Hall, the so called Ramrod Hall Farm just up the road in Mincing Lane, Rowley Regis. Comprised of a rented old Cottage and Nail shop. This was all that was left of some building that were erected in the 1670s, by the Baron of Dudley, Edward, Lord Dudley and Ward. What was left, in the 1870s, after most of the land was sold for building on, comprised a cottage in need of urgent repair, a rickety old cowshed, and three small fields, today you would call it a small holding. Rent in 1798, before it got the grand name in the 1870s, was £65 per year. The last one to hold the lease on the place, a dishonest and disreputable old reprobate called Hadley, upholding the family tradition of insanity, threw himself into the Marlhole of the Cakemore Brick Company, after he went bankrupt. The owner, Viscount Edam, Earl of Dudley, sold the land to developers c1900, and the site is now covered by a housing developement. Pictures in the Gallery. ( see also, Worcestershire Yeomanry )

April 7, 2012 at 3:56 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

As the life of the old Ramrod No.1 came to an end, Ramrod No.2 came into production about 1890. The new pit had been sunk about 400 yards to the west, putting it nearer to the Rowley Hall Colliery. As can be seen on the Map below, the incline plane ran right past the old ruins of the " Hall ", across what would become Throne Road, and on to the canal basin at Causeway Green, which was on the Portway branch of the Titford Canal. The inclined plane from Rowley Hall, ran down the other slope of the Rowley Hills, and into the basin of the Titford canal at Whiteheath. Yet a third inclined plane ran from the Bell End Colliery, at the top of Mincing Lane, under the Rowley Hall line, and joined up with the Ramrod line. This was because both mines had the same owner. You can also see from the Map, that the area also had a Quarry, Clay pits, and a massive Brickworks within the grounds of Ramrod No.2, the spoil heaps from which would later be called by the locals, as  " The Quack ". Just how big how these spoil heaps were, and they had been in the making since 1827, can be judged by the time and effort required to level the ground when Housing was planned. All in all then, a veritable waste land of pollution, from Rowley Village to Whiteheath Gate.




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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

March 10, 2014 at 4:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Following on from ths above tale, and just down the road a pace was the Farm of  Edward Harrolds grandfather, called Lower Holt Farm. Together with the Merris Family, they had farmed this part of the rural Black Country for many generations, but were finding it, like so many others in the region, increasingly difficult. Lower Holt Farm, was situated on the corner of Oldbury Road, and Penncricket Lane, and among it's many faults, it had no running water. All supplies had to be carried from the Mincing Lane Well, which was opposite the old Pear Tree Inn. ( You were safer drinking the beer than the water ) Edwards grandfather had given up mostly on farming when several Coal Pits had opened up on the land, and became the manager of the Penncricket Colliery. As time went by. even more Pits opened, so by the middle of the 19th century, the Farm was almost surrounded by great piles of spoil, and water filled holes. To give you some idea of the problems faced by the Harrolds, here are a few names. The Blackbat Colliery, Lower Holt Pit, Long Meadow Pit, Cakemore Colliery, The Nine Apostles, Causeway Green Colliery, and of course, The Ramrod, No's 1 and 2.  Most of this area today is better known as Whiteheath, which, back at the time, would have been something of a misnomer. There were at least 11 Collieries in this small area, and it's no wonder that the Harrolds, left with just a few acres of land, eventually sold up and moved away.  The Wolf Pits, The Lifter, Whiteheath Pit, Birchyfield Pit, Richard Pit, Long Meadow, The Valencia, Park Hall, Speedwell Pit, Titford, and of course, The Ramrod. Most of them closed in the mid 1880s, although the Ramrod went on untill 1921. The damage though had been done, and both the Harrold and the Merris family finally threw in the towel about 1934, the land now being used for housing. From green to black and back again, you could say.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

March 21, 2014 at 4:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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