One of the things washed out of the Bar Brook in recent floods was this big lump of slag –

lump of slag in Bar Brook valley

It’s not very pretty and is quite heavy.  It is quite useless as it would be no good as a building material or in a rockery.  It is however a man made waste product, and is a reminder of the ‘industrial’ history of this valley.  It also reminded me that as yet I have not written the Big Moor History section!

For now the best I can do is show the reservoir at the original lead smelting mill.  This later became a corn mill before going out of business at the end of the 19th Century.  As can be seen from the following Google view of the area little apart from the reservoir now remains –

Google maps have got it wrong in that they show the main stream flowing out of this reservoir whereas in reality it totally bypasses it and there is only a small trickle of water leaving it –

However what this map does show is something like how things would have been around 200 years ago.  Around that time the lead smelting mill would have been in full production and a by-product was the slag which is what was left after the metal had been extracted.

Mill owners came to realise that a lot of the lead was wasted in this process and here in the Bar Brook they built a slag mill  lower down where the two streams join on the Google map.  As I understand it the furnace in the slag mill heated the waste slag to a higher temperature and managed to extract further amounts of lead.  This process needed a more efficient furnace and this cupola is still visible to this day –

It is surprising that very little is growing on the site of this mill over 200 years later. Possibly an early sign of lead pollution.

Whether my lump of slag came from this lower slag mill or the higher smelting mill is debatable but in all this time it is showing very erosion.

Bert Ward gives a much more detailed insight into life in this area and in his characteristic way gives positions and dimensions of nearly everything!

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