West Cumbria Mines Research Group
preserving heritage for future generations

charity number: 1118458


A Rude Awakening

Greenmoor Rd, Gillfoot shaftA gentleman at 48, Greenmoor Road, Smithfield in Egremont had a nasty surprise when he glanced out of his window on Sunday morning on the 26th June 2005, to find a thirty foot hole in his back garden.

The Group was advised of the event by past Chairman Allan Procter, and Dave Banks, who was on his way to open the Florence Mine Heritage Centre, detoured to photograph it for our records.

The hole, once the shaft of Gillfoot No.6 mine, was full of red water to within about 20ft of the surface, and was constantly bubbling, as more material fell into it. Dave warned the policeman that arrived, to evacuate the three nearest properties, and advise the County Council of the civil emergency, before returning to Florence.

He was later contacted by Police Control to substantiate the threat, and subsequently they evacuated nine homes until an assessment could be made. Border TV also sought information on the shaft, and interviewed Dave for the evening news that night.

The shaft is part of the Wyndham Mines group, which undermine most of Egremont, and is 523ft deep, with workings at 423 below the surface.