Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Thursday, 11th October, 2007
JOHNSON’S WELLFIELD sandstone quarry, to the south-west of Huddersfield, is so conspicuous on Google Earth but when I came here for the first time a few weeks ago, I found it hard to track down. As it is excavated in the top of Crosland Hill, you don’t see it from any distance but it’s easy to take a closer look at this working quarry; there are public footpaths and roads around its perimeter with several viewing points where you can pause to watch the work in progress.
The quarrymen are divided into ‘delvers’ and ‘peckers’. In this context the delver is the man who makes the day to day decisions about which piece of rock is to be excavated, while the peckers, as I understand it, set to work with picks (or whatever the mechanical equivalent is).
Most of the stone goes to the machine shop to be sawn to size but the rejects which are considered unsuitable for sawing go back to the quarry to be split in the old way, with hammer and cold chisel. Although there’s a lot of physical work in handling the slabs, the real skill is in assessing where to strike to split the stone cleanly.
The smaller pieces of rock that are left over are sold for drystone walling. There are some attractive newly built drystone walls around the quarry.
I liked drawing the makeshift shelters: most industrial buildings are off-the-peg prefabrications, so I appreciate the individuality of these improvised constructions.
Link: Johnson's Wellfield Quarries