Home   News   Article

Co-op grant brings dividends for Rocks by Rail

Rocks by Rail volunteers receive donation from Co-op
Rocks by Rail volunteers receive donation from Co-op

Members of the volunteer run Rocks By Rail are celebrating the offer of a grant award from the Central England Co-operative approved under their Making a Difference Community Dividend Scheme.

The grant award of £2,000 is to facilitate the purchase of museum display equipment. This will be sited within the new Simon Layfield Exhibition Centre at their Rocks by Rail museum site which specialises in the local industrial heritage associated with quarrying and quarry railways in the East of England.

Interestingly there is a historical link between quarrying for ironstone and the Co-op. In 1899 the Desborough Co-operative Society purchased Manor Farm Estate on the southwest outskirts of the town.

Trial boreholes in the land showed the presence of some 800,000 tons of iron ore. In contrast to other mineral land owners the Society elected in 1904 to open up the land and operate the quarry themselves with local labour.

The Society built an industrial railway to link the quarries to the mainline and purchased their own steam locomotive named “Progress” to pull wagons of extracted ore. The quarries were later extended to near Thorpe Underwood and intensively worked during the First World War to produce ore to aid the war effort. The Co-operative ceased direct control over quarrying in the early 1920s when the workings were taken over by a subsidiary of the South Durham Steel and Iron Company. Ironstone extraction continued up to the late 1960s.

Commenting on the grant award Mr David Atkinson, Museum Trustee said: “We are very grateful for the support of the Central England Co-operative in helping to support our project to establish enhanced display equipment for our new museum building. This will enable more interpretive material, artefacts and some of our archives to be viewed by museum visitors giving them a fuller appreciation of our industrial past.”


Iliffe Media does not moderate comments. Please click here for our house rules.

People who post abusive comments about other users or those featured in articles will be banned.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.


Terms of Comments

We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules.

If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More