The site of the copper mine was on what is now the Recreation Field and Kirkleyditch Common flanking Oak Road and records show that mining was carried out there between 1807 and 1878.
It is possible that mining was carried out prior to 1807 because a Mr.Graves found some primitive stone hammers in the spoil heaps in the late 1800s. They were made of sandstone and igneous rock and some examples may be seen in the Manchester Museum.
To the west of the Village, rises the sandstone hills of Alderley Edge. Copper and lead have been mined there since the days of the Romans. Kirkleyditch Common stretches from the Village towards the hills of Alderley Edge and it is likely that the ores in Mottram St. Andrew are connected to the ores on the Edge.
There are many house names that remind us of Mottram’s industrial past, such as Ty Chwarel (Quarry Cottage) and Copperfields. The gardens of Copperfields and Kirkley Mount reveal traces of the former mine workings. Another house on the fringe of Kirkleyditch Common is Commonend.
There are no historic plans in existence of the mines and the workings are now all inaccessible. There were several mine shafts dotted around the Common, most of which have been filled in for safety reasons. Mining was carried out in a series of shallow shafts although one shaft of 180 feet, known as Wright’s shaft, was sunk on what is now the playing fields. There were shallow shafts in the gardens of Iron Gates, now known as Kirkley Ditch Farm, Windy Howe and in the field behind the Chapel and Westbourne Cottages. There were two small shafts in the grounds of Copperfields, one of which supplied the village with water until the early 1900s.
However, in 1982 and in 1996 surveys were carried out, by Nigel Dibben and Pete Johnson of Derbyshire Caving Club, of the shafts located either side of the Alderley Road and their interconnecting headings. The OS Grid Reference is given as SJ 8732 7847. Detailed plan, elevation and sections were drawn of this mine system and a copy of the drawing may now be seen on the Derbyshire Caving Club website.
Mining commenced in 1807 by the land owner Lawrence Wright who built a smelting works on the Common and apparently obtained a considerable, although uneconomic, quantity of lead ore resulting in the operation being abandoned. Cobalt was also discovered at that time which was of a superior quality to that found on Alderley Edge.
Opencast quarry on Kirkleyditch Common
In 1857 an ore bearing conglomerate was discovered. The ore was malachite and azurite.
The mine was reopened in 1860 by the Mottram Mining Company. By October 1860 the mine had raised between 500 and 600 tons of ore and an extensive treatment plant had been built. Mining continued during the early 1860s when a further zone of mineralisation was found.
Between 1860 and 1865 the mine was returning 5 tons of copper every month. By 1865, 111 tons of copper and 50 tons of lead and £100 of cobalt and nickel had been recovered at an estimated value of £15,000.
In the 1861 census there were 26 miners living in the Village, mainly single men from Devon and Cornwall.
In August 1865 the still operational Mottram Mining Company was acquired by the East Alderley Edge Mining Company for £4,350 together with the services of the mine manager.
In 1867 the mine was taken over by the Magnesium Metal Company of Patricroft.
According to the 1871 census there were only 11 miners living in the Village.
Professor Roscoe discovered Vanadium minerals in 1876, and he named these Mottramite and Roscoelite. They were valuable in the steel works.
Mottramite obtained from Mottram Mine 1995
Details of Mottramite: Pb(Cu,Zn)[ OH|VO4]
Water seeping into the mines was a continuous problem and mining was becoming more dangerous due to the flooding resulting in the mine closing in 1878. On its closure the mine was abandoned and it has never been reopened. The workings are partly infilled, partially collapsed and flooded.
Despite the mine closing in 1878, there were still miners living in the Village. From the 1891 census they were John Pearson aged 26, Joseph Pearson aged 31, William Woodhall aged 52, James Wood aged 37, Henry Howarth aged 13 and William Camm aged 24.
Wind Pump at the opencast Quarry on Kirkleyditch Common
Further information regarding mining activities in Mottram St. Andrew, Alderley Edge and the surrounding areas together with details of supervised visits for the public into the Alderley Edge mines may be found on Derbyshire Caving Club website.
Information for this document has been researched from the Following:-
1.Photographs of Mottramite from Chris Wright.
3.Research by Alice Eley.
4.Chris Carlon. Alderley Edge Mines.