Tyne and Wear HER(3898): Birtley, Bowes Railway, Black Fell Engine House - Details
Birtley, Bowes Railway, Black Fell Engine House
Power Generation Site
An engine house on the Pontop and Jarrow Railway (Bowes). The original engine was provided by Thomas Murray of Chester-le-Street in an engine house built around 1840, following the decision to extend the railway to Kibblesworth Colliery. In 1853 the track was doubled to increase coal production and improve capacity. The machinery in the hauler house was expanded with a second cylinder and rope. The rope went out of the back of the building and around a large vertical return wheel 20m to the east. The rope returned underground to the far side of the kip where it was attached to the loaded wagons. This arrangement is shown on the OS map of 1895. A new boiler house was built between 1870 and 1880 when the original boilers were replaced. A new fuel delivery spur lead off the incline. The Murray engine was replaced by a new one by Robey & Co. in 1913 and a new hauler house was built. The late 19th century boiler house was retained to power the machinery. In 1950 the equipment was electrified. The steam winder was replaced and the boiler house and chimney removed. One 19th century Lancashire boiler survives as a water tank. The Robey engine was replaced by a 500 horse power three-phase electric hauler from British Thompson-Houston Ltd. The surviving 1915 hauler house is a substantial tall brick building in English garden bond. The exterior comprises three recessed square bays. The north and south elevations originally contained round-headed windows, which were replaced by square windows in 1950. The gable elevations also contain ornate recessed bays. The east gable and central bay originally had a round-headed window. A new door was installed in 1950 to allow the exchange of machinery. Four sets of steel braces run through the length of the building with curved inverted 'V' clamps exposed below the pitch of the roof on both gables. The double pitch slate roof ran down to cast iron gutters which were attached to timber fascias. The gutters and downcomers have been stolen. There were two metal vents with conical tops on the ridge line, but these have been removed. The interior has whitewashed walls and the roof is boarded with planks. The roof truss is metal. The metal driver's cabin survives at floor level. It had a horizontal indicator in front of the window to show the position of the sets on the incline and two mirrors so the driver could see the ropes. There is a basement level. The 1950 electric hauler was made by British Thompson-Houston Ltd and the winding machinery by Robey & Co Ltd. The two winding drums were replaced in 1961. SCHEDULED ANCIENT MONUMENT
<< HER 3898 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, c.1855, 6 inch scale, Durham, 7; North of England Civic Trust, January 2009, Bowes Railway - Blackfell Hauler House Conservation Statement; PLB, 2007, Feasibility Study for Bowes Railway; John Elliot, 2000. A Guide to the Bowes Railway; Colin Mountford, 1976, The Bowes Railway (Industrial Railway Society/Tyne and Wear Industrial Monuments Trust); www.bowesrailway.co.uk; Jamie Scott, AD Archaeology, 2014, Blackfell Hauler House, Bowes Incline, Tyne and Wear - Historic Buildings Recording and Rectified Photographic Survey; North of England Civic Trust, 2009. blackfell Hauler House Conservation Statement.