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Mine Exploration Forum

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Author Animal headgear
carnkie

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Animal headgear
Posted: 25/05/2009 23:30:05
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Was it normal for horses, etc, to have some sort of cranium protection while down the mines. I must say neither the horse or miner look impressed.


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The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
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AR

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Animal headgear
Posted: 26/05/2009 08:31:09
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I get the feeling I've seen a photo somewhere of a pit pony wearing a leather "cap" to protect the top of its head, but I couldn't say where. The best photo of a north Pennine tramming pony in working harness (the side-on shot taken at Nenthead c.1900 reproduced in the Kilhope guide) doesn't show any head protection, but that may be more to do with the horse levels there being well cut and arched.

The headgear on the mule in this photo does look very home-made and makes me think it was more for stopping drips of water upsetting the animal than protecting its poll from knocks and scrapes.

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I think I'll have the sheep first, then I'll have the abbot
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Peter Burgess

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Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Animal headgear
Posted: 26/05/2009 09:37:26
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Protectors for the horses used at Godstone can be seen, although a bit blurred, in these two images from 1900. The galleries typically average little more than 5' 6" high.




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AR

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Animal headgear
Posted: 26/05/2009 10:35:18
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I'm not surprised the ponies at Godstone needed poll pads as shown in the photos, at 5'6" there'd be a lot of head bumping!

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I think I'll have the sheep first, then I'll have the abbot
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Peter Burgess

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Animal headgear
Posted: 26/05/2009 10:45:14
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I think the 'ponies' were actually draught horses - although maybe not huge ones. The shoes that have turned up from time to time are pretty big. We have been told that the pads were supplied by colliery equipment merchants, and if this was the case, then there was probably a significant market for these in the pits. The Colley Hill mine, working until 1960, had a horse that wore one of these. Before farm mechanisation, the Colley Hill animals were shared with Colley Farm and used on the land. The Marden Mine for hearthstone at Godstone had horses that were kept in the village, pulled a cart of stone down to the mine owner's premises in the village at the end of the day, and the carter had a separate collar for use underground, which did not foul the roof or timbers in the mine.




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IP: 81.144.191.248 Edited: 26/05/2009 10:45:40 by Peter Burgess
AR

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Animal headgear
Posted: 26/05/2009 12:33:48
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Although it's hard to be certain from the photo, I think the horses shown coming out of the mine entrance would qualify as ponies (14 hands 2 inches at the shoulder or under). I'm going by the height of our own ponies which are 14-0 to 14-2, and my outstretched arm (I'm a whisker under 6ft) just goes over their shoulder. Comparing them to the man leading, I think they are all what would have been described as cobs unless there's a Sussex equivalent of the north country term "galloway" for a large heavyset pony.

The dual usage is interesting, some accounts from the later days of the north pennine mines suggest farm ponies also being used for underground haulage when required. As for the headgear, I may have been thinking of a photo of pit ponies wearing headgear, but I still can't think where I saw it!

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I think I'll have the sheep first, then I'll have the abbot
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RJV

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Animal headgear
Posted: 26/05/2009 12:46:28
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Their use was fairly widespread in northern coal and ironstone mines I believe.
Beamish have a decent picture of one:
[web link]
IP: 80.254.146.20 Edited: 26/05/2009 12:47:08 by RJV
carnkie

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Animal headgear
Posted: 26/05/2009 15:38:34
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Streuth, that looks like some sort of medieval contraption.

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Dean Allison

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Animal headgear
Posted: 26/05/2009 17:28:47
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I just had a look at the photo of my granda's pony that I posted in the Choppington B Pit archive album and it looks like it may have some kind of protection on its head, though its only half in the frame so its hard to tell. Never even thought about it until I saw this thread! IP: 90.203.50.241
carnkie

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Animal headgear
Posted: 26/05/2009 17:49:35
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Looking at the photo I would definately say the pony is wearing some form of protection headgear.

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AR

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Animal headgear
Posted: 26/05/2009 22:09:04
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Yes, it's a combination of poll protector and blinkers you can see, whereas the Beamish example has eye protectors rather than blinkers built in.

Going back to the Sussex stone mines briefly, how big are the shoes that have been found?

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I think I'll have the sheep first, then I'll have the abbot
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Peter Burgess

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Animal headgear
Posted: 26/05/2009 22:17:25
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Bear with me and I'll find a scale drawing and post it up. (Surrey, by the way Smile )


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Peter Burgess

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Animal headgear
Posted: 26/05/2009 22:37:08
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Two examples - one from the Godstone Hill quarries and one from Marden Mine. One slight word of caution - both sites were used as mushroom farms, and although we can be pretty sure horses were not used in the mushroom farm, stable manure was the raw ingredient of the compost, so it is just possible old horseshoes could have found their way into the workings in the compost, though not very likely I suspect.



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Hey, who turned out the lights!
IP: 81.144.191.248 Edited: 27/05/2009 09:23:03 by Peter Burgess
AR

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Animal headgear
Posted: 27/05/2009 08:48:49
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Thanks Peter ( and apologies for getting the counties wrong!) - scaling up from these, I think the complete shoes would have been something like 170-180mm diameter, which is the sort of size I'd expect for a cob-type pony or a smaller horse, they're too small for a heavy horse. That both have broken at the front suggests they were being worn until they were nearly through at the toe and then whichever side the nails were looser on broke away - someone trying to save on farrier's bills, no doubt!

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I think I'll have the sheep first, then I'll have the abbot
IP: 194.159.145.70
Peter Burgess

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Animal headgear
Posted: 27/05/2009 09:00:53
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Thanks for that - useful information!

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roadsterman

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Animal headgear
Posted: 27/05/2009 16:16:51
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In Weardale, dales ponies were the norm,some work headgear and some did not.At Blackdene, the pony not only wore head protection but it had its own cap lamp
Riding in the tubs behind the pony at Stanhopeburn was not a lot of fun as the pony suffered quite badly with wind.
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AR

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Animal headgear
Posted: 28/05/2009 12:33:01
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roadsterman wrote:

In Weardale, dales ponies were the norm,some work headgear and some did not.At Blackdene, the pony not only wore head protection but it had its own cap lamp
Riding in the tubs behind the pony at Stanhopeburn was not a lot of fun as the pony suffered quite badly with wind.


Dales ponies don't suffer with wind, thay make those around them suffer..... Laugh

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I think I'll have the sheep first, then I'll have the abbot
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AR

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Animal headgear
Posted: 08/06/2009 19:59:02
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AdrianP wrote:



Having said that, there was a rumour that horses refused to go over a wooden-floored bridge in a Nenthead Mine as they heard the echoes on the wooden boards as they went over and sensed that there was a drop underneath. To get over this, the miners sealed it with clay and spread stones and water on it which made the horses quite happy to use it.

If that is not true then it is so bizarre that it deserves to be Smile


It sounds pretty plausible to me - I've seen horses spook at crossing a wooden bridge over a river but whether it's the drop or the noise of their crossing that upsets them, I don't know.

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I think I'll have the sheep first, then I'll have the abbot
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carnkie

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Animal headgear
Posted: 08/06/2009 21:43:25
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We sure owe a great debt to animals over the years.

Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Interior of a mule stable in the Maple Hill mine, seven hundred feet below ground, showing a miner and some mules. Once they go down the mules don't come up until they die. Some have been down for the last twenty-five years.


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The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
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carnkie

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Animal headgear
Posted: 23/03/2010 23:38:27
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This one doesn't look too happy without his headgear.

In the "Bobtail" Mine, Black Hawk Canyon, Colorado.


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The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
IP: 80.47.152.220 Edited: 23/03/2010 23:40:03 by carnkie
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