Sinkhole opens up on old lead mines site - should we be surprised?


A sound like thunder . . . and then a 30-ft wide sinkhole opens up near a Towy Valley home!
Surprising?
Perhaps not to anyone familiar with the area around Towy View Park, off Capel Dewi Road, just outside Carmarthen.
After all, didn’t our parents and teachers in Llangunnor always warn us when we were children – ‘Don’t go near the lead mines’.
I am sure there are a whole host of us Llangunnor ‘50-somethings’ who heard the stern warning – and heeded it, fearing being swallowed up by old mine workings.
The only surprises to most of us down the years have been –
Why would anyone want to build on the site?
And . . .
Why did the homes get planning permission?
The ‘folklore’ story we were given as youngsters revolved around the mines dating back to Roman times.
Historians will, I am sure, tell it different.
By all accounts, the lead mines just off the B4300 Capel Dewi Road were worked in the 18th century.
In 1852 Thomas Field formed the Vale of Towy Silver-Lead Mining Company, which sank four shafts - Bonvilles, Clays, Fields, and Nant, of which Clays was the deepest (124 fathoms, or 230 metres in today’s measurements).
There were further workings by the Cystanog United Lead Mines Company, the Grand Duchess Silver-Lead and Barytes Mining Company and the Carmarthen Lead Mining Syndicate, which held the mines until closure in the early 1900s.
Plenty of history has gone down the tubes since those days.
An engine house was demolished and the old lead mines stack (thought to be the only surviving stack of its type in Wales) was also knocked down.
It is true that little care was taken to preserve parts of the lead mining heritage of the area.
Perhaps, some bricks and mortar on the surface might also have been useful in giving some clues to developers that building on and near old mine workings was always going to be risky venture?

The interested reader can find out more about the old mines on the Friends of Carmarthen Museum website –
http://www.carmarthenmuseum.org.uk/articles/mines.html

The latest Carmarthen Journal story is here -
http://www.carmarthenjournal.co.uk/carmarthen-sinkhole-grows-in-size-and-swallows-storage-shed/story-29462091-detail/story.html

Comments

Anonymous said…
very interesting, particularly when you can see that 2 drainage pipes are evident....water may well have been washing material away under surface. Classic undermining issue.

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