Processes and Daily Life

The construction of the tramway commenced from the southern end as there was no other way of getting any materials to Redlake Mines. As construction progressed the number of gangs working on the railway multiplied. Charlie Blackler supervised a gang at Redlake, Dick Mogridge was the foreman at Western Quarry and a further gang was based out at Three Barrows making paving stones for the floors of the settling pits.

 

The line was completed in just over a year and the capital expenditure on the tramway, machinery and buildings was £27,018.17s.9d.

 

Alongside the line a double conduit followed approximately the same course as the tramway. After two days of washing and processing which removed coarse sand, mica (alumina-silicate) and the finer sand, the clay, now in suspension, moved to the settling pits at Greenhill, about a mile away, where the excess water was drained off and evaporated. Once the clay suspension resembled the consistency of soft cream it was released into the glazed stoneware pipe to flow slowly down to Cantrell, aided only by gravity.

 

At Cantrell the clay flowed firstly into the upper open settling tanks where more surface water was drained off. This could take up to twelve weeks by which time it was similar in appearance to clotted cream with between 35% to 40% clay in the mixture. It was then shovelled into wagons on a temporary tram track and moved into the ‘pan kiln’ where it was distributed over the length of the floor by a travelling bridge.

Drying sheds at Cantrell. Clay drying in the pan-kilns.

The floor was constructed of special ‘refractory tiles’ which were heated underneath by hot gases from the furnace. The men working there wore clogs to insulate their feet from the heat!  When the clay was no more than 10% water it was shovelled into the adjacent lower linhay where it was dispatched in bulk, bags and casks using the adjoining Great Western Railway line narrow gauge sidings. Most of the production went to Plymouth docks.

 

The tramway was used to carry men to Redlake in the morning as well as hauling trucks of coal for the Redlake pumping engines. The three passenger coaches could carry a maximum of 30 people each and there were twelve 5-ton coal trucks and twelve 5-ton sand trucks.

 

The tramway also transported drinking water to the hostel as the Redlake water turned blue when boiled and was used only for washing. The men would return in the evening and the coal trucks would bring back the waste sand from the pits to be sold as fertiliser and used in building. About 120 men travelled to Redlake and back each day and over 300 tons of material was moved each week. The journey took about half an hour and made Redlake accessible in all weathers.

 

The original hostel was constructed at Redlake when the works were being constructed, enabling men to stay out there during the week. This was run by Mrs Bray, whose husband, George, was the Redlake pit captain. They lived in a separate stone built cottage – Red Lake Cottage – during the week whilst the men slept sixteen to a room in the hostel. Full board at the hostel in the 1920s was 9s per week. On Saturday they would return home for the weekend as Mrs Bray took the early train back to her Filham cottage to deal with the Co-operative Society who delivered goods to Cantrell to be taken out to Redlake on the Monday morning train.

 

This hostel was taken down during the Great War as the Corporation needed the timber owing to the national wood shortage but a second hostel, with accommodation for 40 men, was built on a different site when production started again.

Redlake 1912

Mine Captains

Traditionally, the manager of a mine was known as the mine captain.

 

In 1901 James Bray (48) lived in Lee Moor with his wife and five children. He worked as a Stationary Engine Driver, his son Edward (22) was a Railway Stoker and his younger son George (19) was also a Stationary Engine Driver.

 

In 1911 Edward was still in Lee Moor, married with three children but was now a Stationary Engine Driver at the China Clay works there.

 

George, by now 29 and also married, had remained in Lee Moor in the same job.

 

But, by 1911, James Bray had moved to Young House in Bittaford and was working as the China Clay Works Captain.

 

George took over from his father as Redlake Pit Captain and served as caretaker for the works between 1919 and 1922, after the collapse of the original clay company.

Young House Cottage, Bittaford

A brick built, three bedroomed manager’s house, originally part of Cantrell Farm

 

In the 1841 Ugborough Census John Hard (45), an agricultural labourer, lived here with his wife Elizabeth (40) and their two children Henry (7) and Francis (3).  The Hard family seems to have been quite extensive with 24 others with the same surname recorded in the parish.

 

By the time of the 1861 Ugborough Census the Hards had gone and the house was now occupied by Richard Issell (31), also an agricultural labourer, his wife Mary (29), their two sons aged five and two (who are both listed as Richard) and their sister Susan, aged three.

 

In the 1881 Ugborough Census Young House is listed as uninhabited.

 

In the 1901 Ugborough Census the house is once again inhabited, this time by Susan Stockman (33), her sons Herbert (11), Leonard (9), Harold (7) Ernest (3), baby Frank (6 months) and Sarah Stockman, her mother-in-law (56).  Of Mr Stockman there is no record.

 

By 1911 James Bray, China Clay Works Captain, was living in Young House Cottage.

Acknowledgements
Our thanks are extended to Mrs E Flint for permission to use the photographs from the publication ‘The Redlake Tramway & China Clay Works’ by the late E A Wade.

PROCESSES AND DAILY LIFE

The construction of the tramway commenced from the southern end as there was no other way of getting any materials to Redlake Mines. As construction progressed the number of gangs working on the railway multiplied. Charlie Blackler supervised a gang at Redlake, Dick Mogridge was the foreman at Western Quarry and a further gang was based out at Three Barrows making paving stones for the floors of the settling pits.
The line was completed in just over a year and the capital expenditure on the tramway, machinery and buildings was £27,018.17s.9d.
Alongside the line a double conduit followed approximately the same course as the tramway. After two days of washing and processing which removed coarse sand, mica (alumina-silicate) and the finer sand, the clay, now in suspension, moved to the settling pits at Greenhill, about a mile away, where the excess water was drained off and evaporated. Once the clay suspension resembled the consistency of soft cream it was released into the glazed stoneware pipe to flow slowly down to Cantrell, aided only by gravity.
At Cantrell the clay flowed firstly into the upper open settling tanks where more surface water was drained off. This could take up to twelve weeks by which time it was similar in appearance to clotted cream with between 35% to 40% clay in the mixture. It was then shovelled into wagons on a temporary tram track and moved into the ‘pan kiln’ where it was distributed over the length of the floor by a travelling bridge.
Drying sheds at Cantrell. Clay drying in the pan-kilns.
The floor was constructed of special ‘refractory tiles’ which were heated underneath by hot gases from the furnace. The men working there wore clogs to insulate their feet from the heat!  When the clay was no more than 10% water it was shovelled into the adjacent lower linhay where it was dispatched in bulk, bags and casks using the adjoining Great Western Railway line narrow gauge sidings. Most of the production went to Plymouth docks.
The tramway was used to carry men to Redlake in the morning as well as hauling trucks of coal for the Redlake pumping engines. The three passenger coaches could carry a maximum of 30 people each and there were twelve 5-ton coal trucks and twelve 5-ton sand trucks.
The tramway also transported drinking water to the hostel as the Redlake water turned blue when boiled and was used only for washing. The men would return in the evening and the coal trucks would bring back the waste sand from the pits to be sold as fertiliser and used in building. About 120 men travelled to Redlake and back each day and over 300 tons of material was moved each week. The journey took about half an hour and made Redlake accessible in all weathers.
The original hostel was constructed at Redlake when the works were being constructed, enabling men to stay out there during the week. This was run by Mrs Bray, whose husband, George, was the Redlake pit captain. They lived in a separate stone built cottage – Red Lake Cottage – during the week whilst the men slept sixteen to a room in the hostel. Full board at the hostel in the 1920s was 9s per week. On Saturday they would return home for the weekend as Mrs Bray took the early train back to her Filham cottage to deal with the Co-operative Society who delivered goods to Cantrell to be taken out to Redlake on the Monday morning train.
This hostel was taken down during the Great War as the Corporation needed the timber owing to the national wood shortage but a second hostel, with accommodation for 40 men, was built on a different site when production started again.

Redlake 1912

Mine Captains

Traditionally, the manager of a mine was known as the mine captain.
In 1901 James Bray (48) lived in Lee Moor with his wife and five children. He worked as a Stationary Engine Driver, his son Edward (22) was a Railway Stoker and his younger son George (19) was also a Stationary Engine Driver.
In 1911 Edward was still in Lee Moor, married with three children but was now a Stationary Engine Driver at the China Clay works there.
George, by now 29 and also married, had remained in Lee Moor in the same job.
But, by 1911, James Bray had moved to Young House in Bittaford and was working as the China Clay Works Captain.
George took over from his father as Redlake Pit Captain and served as caretaker for the works between 1919 and 1922, after the collapse of the original clay company.

Young House Cottage, Bittaford

A brick built, three bedroomed manager’s house, originally part of Cantrell Farm
In the 1841 Ugborough Census John Hard (45), an agricultural labourer, lived here with his wife Elizabeth (40) and their two children Henry (7) and Francis (3).  The Hard family seems to have been quite extensive with 24 others with the same surname recorded in the parish.
By the time of the 1861 Ugborough Census the Hards had gone and the house was now occupied by Richard Issell (31), also an agricultural labourer, his wife Mary (29), their two sons aged five and two (who are both listed as Richard) and their sister Susan, aged three.
In the 1881 Ugborough Census Young House is listed as uninhabited.
In the 1901 Ugborough Census the house is once again inhabited, this time by Susan Stockman (33), her sons Herbert (11), Leonard (9), Harold (7) Ernest (3), baby Frank (6 months) and Sarah Stockman, her mother-in-law (56).  Of Mr Stockman there is no record.
By 1911 James Bray, China Clay Works Captain, was living in Young House Cottage.
Acknowledgements
Our thanks are extended to Mrs E Flint for permission to use the photographs from the publication ‘The Redlake Tramway & China Clay Works’ by the late E A Wade.