Hebden Mining Data

Mining had been taking place on Grassington Moor since the early seventeenth century, but became more intensive in the nineteenth century, and considerable investment was put into draining the mines, and generally introducing innovations to make the industry more efficient. This resulted in considerable employment on the moor, and Hebden and Grassington both provided homes for the miners. Up to the middle of the 1850s all of the miners in Hebden would have been working outside the parish.

Old postcard of the Hebden Horse Level waterwheel in the centre of the village.
Old postcard of the Hebden Horse Level waterwheel in the centre of the village.
Click image for larger resolution

In the 1850s mining moved into the northern parts of the parish. Considerable investment was put into exploiting the continuations of the rich Beever and Cockbur veins into Bolton Gill from about 1853 by the Hebden Moor Mining Company. This was at first successful, and the number of Hebden miners increased, most of whom would have been now working in the parish. After a decade or so, however, all the accessible ore had been extracted, with the veins descending below the drainage level.

To revive the fortunes, an ambitious plan was conceived - to dig a level from the centre of the village in a north-easterly direction for some 2.39 kilometres, to intercept the veins where they could be exploited for an additional 90 m in depth. However, this did not require a large workforce, and the number of miners in the village fell abruptly. The level was dug day and night for fifteen years. Unfortunately, when the veins were intercepted they were found to be barren, and the company went into liquidation in 1889. The Grassington mines had closed down in 1882.

Number of people employed in the mining industry in Hebden

Year No. employed Notes
1841 43 Employment not recorded for most people
1851 81 Probably working in the Grassington, Grimwith, and Appletreewick mines
1861 95 Mining now taking place in the Hebden liberty
1871 69 Mining in Hebden thriving
1881 34 Production in Hebden ceased, but Hebden Horse Level was being excavated
1891 11 Mining in and around Hebden had now ceased
1901 0 Mining in and around Hebden had now ceased

Hebden Moor Mining Company data

Year Manager Agent Lead ore / tons Lead / tons Underground workers Surface workers Total workers
1856 201.8 139.6
1857 275.2 182.1
1858 228.8 101.5
1859 242.4 164.5
1860 Thomas Job 260.0 165.0
1861 Thomas Job 300.0 201.5
1862 Thomas Job 425.6 298.8
1863 Thomas Job Robert Place 352.2 229.7
1864 Thomas Job 186.5 122.9
1865 William Barron 57.6 35.6
1866 William Barron 115.8 75.3
1867 Joseph Heslop 73.7 47.6
1868 William Hill 88.6 57.6
1869 William Hill 84.3 54.8
1870 William Hill 46.8 31.6
1871 William Hill 31.2 23.4
1872 William Hill 32.4 21.1
1873 William Hill 0.0 0.0
1874 William Hill 0.0 0.0
1875 William Hill 0.0 0.0
1876 William Hill 0.0 0.0
1877 William Hill 0.0 0.0 10 2 12
1878 William Hill 0.0 0.0 10 4 14
1879 William Hill 0.0 0.0 11 1 12
1880-1881 William Hill 0.0 0.0 10 2 12
1882 William Hill 0.0 0.0 14 2 16

Notes on the Hebden Moor Mining Company managers and agents

Thomas Job was born in 1804 in Mary Tavy, Devonshire. In 1851 he was working as a mining agent in Derbyshire. In 1861 he was widowed and living in Chapel House, Linton. He died in 1868.

William Barron was born in 1815 in Edmondbyers, County Durham where in 1851 he was a lead miner. Before his spell at Hebden, he was manager / chief agent from 1860 to 1867 at Craven Moor Mine on Greenhow, where he is recorded as living in 1861. He had died by 1871.

Joseph Heslop was born in Allendale, County Durham in 1802. In 1851 he was working as a lead miner in Arkengarthdale, and in 1861 he was working as a Mining Agent in Stanhope, County Durham. In 1871 he was living in Burnsall, and died in 1879.

William Hill was born in 1825 in St. Just, Cornwall. In 1841 William was still living with his family in St. Just, but he then moved up to Caldbeck in Cumberland with his brother to work as lead ore washers in the mines below the northern slopes of Skiddaw. William and his wife moved to several different mining areas in Cumberland and Northumberland during the next ten years, and by 1861 he had risen through the ranks to become a Mining Agent living in Thornthwaite, near Keswick, with five children. In 1868 he became the Mining Agent of the Hebden Moor Mining, at a time when output from the mine was rapidly declining. He stayed with the company for twenty years until work in the Hebden Horse Level ceased in 1888. In 1891 he was still living in Hebden and claiming to be a mining agent, but he and his wife later moved to Grassington where in the 1901 census he was recorded as being a jobbing gardener. He died in 1907 at the age of 82.

Sources and References on Hebden Moor Mining Comany

All the primary material used is available on the web.

The Mineral Statistics of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: This was essentially a government publication that produced various statistics about mining production in the UK. It has undergone a variety of transformations since it was first produced in the 1840s, but for those years of interest it recorded the name and company of the mine; the name of the mining agent; production figures; and employee figures including deaths. Various editions are available on the web (e.g. on Googlebooks). Further information about the production of these statistics may be found at Exeter University's Mining History Network website, and a convenient summary of the statistics for the Hebden Moor Mining Company may be found at http://projects.exeter.ac.uk/mhn/msdb/md240095.html.

Further information on Hebden Horse Level, and on some of the individuals involved in the Hebden Moor Mining Company may be found in the author's sister website