Survey sheds light on Grosmont’s historic towers

The brick towers in Grosmont pictured after the conservation work.
The brick towers in Grosmont pictured after the conservation work.

New information has come to light about the history of Grosmont’s 18th Century iron works and its historic brick towers which still stand to this day.

A survey has found Grosmont’s brick towers, originally thought to have been part of a 19th century steam hoist used to transfer ironstone to calcining kilns for roasting prior to smelting, are more likely to be part of later slag works.

The towers are in the North York Moors National Park Authority’s car park which is on the site of an old ironworks that operated between 1863 and 1891.

A recent survey of the remains and comparison with early photographs and site plans from the 19th century indicated that the towers are probably left over from slag reclamation and reprocessing operations which took place on the site from the early 20th century.

Slag – a by-product of the ironworks – was quarried from waste heaps and hauled back into the site to be crushed to produce roadstone.

The brick towers are thought to have been used in this process.

The survey was conducted prior to conservation work on the towers which had become rather overgrown with vegetation and appeared to be deteriorating due to water ingress which was damaging the brickwork.

This had been exacerbated by the severity of the past two winters.

Work was carried out by North Shield’s Historic Property Restoration Ltd to re-seal the top of the towers and repair areas of damaged brick and stone-work in order to secure the future of these historic structures.

Graham Lee, the National Park Authority’s senior archaeological conservation officer said: “With the advent of the railway and then the discovery of rich deposits of ironstone, Grosmont’s small farming community became a boom town for a short period.

“Although not now thought to be part of the ironworks, the towers are still an important part of Grosmont’s heritage.

“It also goes to show that however well we think we understand the sites around us, there is often additional information out there to discover which can help increase our knowledge of even the recent past.”