Ivanhoe Ashby de la Zouch U3A U3A Group Logo

The Industrial Heritage Group

Leader:  Mike Stow - indhist@ashbyu3a.co.uk - phone 01530 469152

The Industrial Heritage Group is for members who have an interest in our industrial heritage of trains, cars, planes, bikes, early manufacturing etc. to visit museums, railways, factories and other places related to our industrial past. We occasionally take a quite broad view of what constitutes "Industrial Heritage" if it is of interest to us!

Travel arrangements vary depending on how far we have to travel, but generally we meet in Ashby to car-share.

Our trips are normally on Wednesdays unless otherwise stated

Future programme

Thu 5th SepTBAGreat Central Railway, Mountsorrel and LoughboroughBill DevittA visit to Mountsorrel & Rothley Community Heritage Centre to see the history of the Mountsorrel branch line including the ecology and geology of the area. After a pub lunch, we'll take a tour around the engine sheds and signal box at Loughbrough and some of the parts not usually open to the public. There will be a maximum of 20 people on this trip unfortunately, due to the limits on the numbers allowed in the signal box and engine shed. First come, first booked. Likely car-share from Ashby. More details to follow
Wed 25th SepTBAWalsall Leather Museum and Bradley lockgate workshopBob CornellVisit the Lockgate workshop in the morning (free entry) to see how the gates are made and repaired, and after lunch take a guided tour of the Leather museum (£2 pp). See goods being hand-made and find out why Walsall became the capital of leather goods in Britain
Wed 23rd OctTBASoho House, BirminghamHenry and JuliaSoho House was the home of industrialist Matthew Bolton and meeting place of the Lunar Society

Wednesday 31st July. MQP Cliffe Hill Quarry, Markfield

Remarkably 22 members decided that they wanted to look into a very big hole in the ground and so turned up at Midland Quarry Products' (MQP) Cliffe Hill Quarry near Markfield on a somewhat damp morning. MQP don't often give tours of their sites so we were lucky that Mike Hardy, who had organised the visit, used to work on the site and so provided us with the introduction.

After signing in and having our photos taken (security and safety are taken very seriously on site) we were given a very interesting briefing on the history, geology and workings of the quarry by one of our guides, Steve. We were then kitted out in full safety gear of boots, dayglo jackets and trousers, hard hats and safety glasses. As MQP didn't have boots in all the right sizes they bought in new gear for everybody after we provided the shoe sizes. They also hired in 4 brand new Land Rovers to take everyone around the site which is split over two quarries the Old and the New Cliffe Hill.

After being split int two groups we headed off around the roads surrounding the site were it was pointed out to us how hidden the workings are from the road. Our first stop was overlooking the Old quarry which is still being worked. It covers 120 acres and is about 90 m deep. The huge dumper trucks look tiny when they are at the bottom. The site manager was on hand to answer all our questions. The logistics are amazing. From getting fuel down to the vehicles, to setting and detonating the explosives, to getting the rock back out of the quarry, the numbers are staggering. They export 4.5 million tons of granite per year; that's about 12,500 tons a day! There is a constant stream of trucks and trains leaving the site.

From there the Land Rovers took us down into the quarry and through the 700m long tunnel back into the New quarry where the rock is crushed into chippings and some is coated with bitumen to make asphalt. Again the scale of everything is amazing. Next we visited the control room where they control the loading of the trucks and trains. Then it was back to the offices to say our thank-yous to everyone who had made it such a special day, and to remove all our safety gear.

It wouldn't be a Industrial Heritage trip without a pub lunch so we headed over to the Fieldhead Hotel for a very good lunch, excellently and efficiently served.

Photos by Mike & Val

Previous trips