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Hodbarrow Mine was located on the north shore of the River Duddon estuary near Millom. It was one of the largest of the West Cumbrian iron mines and was extensively worked from 1873 to 1968 producing around 25 million tons of hematite ore.
To prevent the inflow of sea onto land that was prone to subsidence by the underground mine workings, barriers were built to hold back the sea. Three barriers, all of different forms were built over a period of 20 years. Two of the three barriers were breached by the tidal estuary waters.
Precursor to the Institution of Civil Engineers Bi-Centennial celebrations (1818 – 2018), this talk will present to the audience a history of Hodbarrow Mine's unique sea defences and the important contribution that Civil Engineers made to the Cumbrian mining industry, of which no fewer than four ICE Past-Presidents played a part.
The talk is primarily drawn from a historic record of ICE Proceedings (1906), a technical paper written by Harry Shelford Bidwell, the Resident Engineer for the construction of the third 'Outer' Barrier, supplemented with additional information from other records and publications.
Organised by Cumbria Branch in conjunction with the Professional Engineers of South Cumbria (PESC) and ICE NW Historic Engineering Group.
Chris Hudson, BSc (Hons) IEng MICE MCIHT
ICE North West Historic Engineering Group Committee Member
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