This image can be used commercially
Sinking the Shaft at Cowburn Tunnel, Chinley, High Peak, c 1894
From the late Alan Watson
About this image
See also DCHQ008555.
This picture shows the means by which the workmen descended into the shaft. The skip would hang free without guide ropes and was raised to the required height by means of pulleys. After having been filled with spoil, the skip was hoisted to the surface, emptied and returned down the shaft to waiting workmen. To enable communication between the pulley operators above and the engine room below the æsinkersÆ as the shaft workmen were called would strike the side of the skip with a hammer. At one stage of construction the shaft was flooded to a depth of 90Æ. This obstacle was overcome by divers using a diving bell and diamond drills to sink a secondary shaft to the tunnel below.
The greater part of the spoil was extracted at Colborne Moor and to where the lining material for the 900Æ deep castellated shaft was transported. The vast amount of water released from the hills was piped to three water tanks, two at Chinley station and one at Chapel Milton to provide water for the steam locomotives.
The construction of the tunnel was started c.1888, & after opening by Queen Victoria in 1893, was closed for 12 months before coming into general use in 1894.