Basalt Quarrying on the Clee Hills, Shropshire (Paperback)
Thomas Telford, the Scottish road and bridge builder, knew enough about rocks to recommend that particularly hard basalt, locally known as dhu stone, which was found on the top of the Clee Hills in Shropshire would make a hard wearing and long lasting road material. The problem was extracting and transporting it. Railway engineers on the Shrewsbury to Ludlow railway successfully found investors and formed the Dhu Stone Quarry Company to construct a railway from Ludlow to Bitterley, a village just below Titterstone Clee. Geological surveys were undertaken and by 1867 an agreement had been signed with the landowner to open a quarry, labourers were employed to dig out the basalt and cut it into cobbles, the blocks used to pave roads, pavements, tramways, pedestrian areas, station forecourts, docks, wharves etc. An incline railway was constructed from Clee Hill on which trucks laden with stone were lowered to a goods yard at Bitterley and then transferred to the mainline to be sold in most metropolitan cities across England and Wales. Other companies were formed to exploit the basalt found on Clee Hill, Magpie Hill, Abdon Burf and Clee Burf. Millions of tons have been extracted and it is still being worked today. Bernard O'Connor's 'Basalt quarrying on the Clee Hills' investigates the geology, archaeology, social ane economic history of this industry.