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The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust News - old stories

Clive Engine House, Dyserth, Denbighshire

CPAT was invited by WS Atkins, on behalf of Denbighshire County Council, to undertake a detailed archaeological survey of the Clive Engine House and surrounding area. A digital topographical survey was undertaken by CPAT to record the plan of all standing structures, along with the earthworks of associated features. A geophysical survey was also carried out over the same area, undertaken by ArchaeoPhysica.


Left: Clive Engine House CPAT cs02-11-27

Talargoch Lead Mine
The Clive Engine House was constructed as part of the Talargoch Lead Mine, which occupied an extensive area extending north to Melidan. It is thought likely that lead was worked in this area from the prehistoric period and several Roman artefacts have also been discovered. These early workings are most likely to have exploited shallow outcrops on Graig Fawr and deeper mining did not really occur until later. By the 17th century mining was already well established in the area, although drainage was always a major problem. Initially the solution was to install several waterwheels to drive pumping machinery, but as the mine workings became ever deeper the need for better drainage became more acute.

The Clive Shaft was sunk between 1842-45 and was originally equipped with a hydraulic pumping engine. This was installed in a stone-lined underground engine house. This was later replaced by a steam engine with a massive 100 inch cylinder and 10ft stroke, housed in a new stone-built engine house constructed on the surface next to the shaft. The adjacent boiler house contained seven boilers, which also powered a horizontal steam engine, used for the capstan and winding at the nearby Drawing Shaft. The engine house remained in operation until the Talrgoch Mine closed in 1884.

Survey Results
The engine house itself is the only structure still standing on the site and is the last surviving example of a Cornish style engine house in North Wales. The engine house is surrounded by the remains of other structures and mine workings and represents an important relict mining landscape which evolved during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The archaeological surveys have identified the main structures associated with the engine house, including the boiler house, flue, chimney, drainage culvert and bob-pit, as well as revealing other mine workings and structures. Some of these were contemporary with the engine house, such as the base of the steam engine winding at the Drawing Shaft, while others, such as a whim circle and numerous shafts, are likely to belong to earlier phases of activity.

Nigel Jones, May 2002

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