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Powys Metal Mines Survey


Van lies in the community of Llanidloes Without in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SN94258760. The mine is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 5936 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Van, CPAT photo                Lead (1850-1920)

Lower Silurian Gwestyn formation and Ordovician Van formation shales and mudstones. The main vein strikes NE-SW with a northern branch. Mineralisation includes galena and zinc.

These include five shafts, 3 adits and levels. Some early trial adits are located at SN94208810.

3 inclines were constructed up to Seahams shaft from the dressing floors. One of these inclines aided the haulage of coal to feed the engine. Others lowered ore to the crushers. An incline ran from the slimes settling tanks to the slimes dump. A standard gauge railway connection to Caersws was created in 1871 as a branch of the Cambrian Line for hauling concentrate as well as passengers. Much of this line still exists. A tramway embankment conveyed stone from the nearby quarry to Seahams shaft.

The 50ftx4ft Mary Emma waterwheel constructed in 1866 was used to pump the Old Engine shaft until the erection of the former Blencowe Consols Engine in 1875. Thereafter the wheel was used to drive a crusher. The remains of the waterwheel pit can still be seen. In c.1890 there were as many as thirteen engines of various sizes working at Van. They were used for pumping, winding, processing and compressing. A gas producer was erected in 1916 and the foundations for this were rediscovered in June 1992 during the first stage of archaeological works prior to the current reclamation scheme (Hughes SJS. 1992) The halvans plant engine and an engine base at the foot of the stone piers were also discovered during excavations in May/June 92. They are both designated for preservation

Between 1865-1871 an extensive dressing and crushing plant was erected which consisted of two crusher houses, stamps, buddles, jiggers and slime pits. A halvans mill was added in 1876 for reprocessing the spoil tips. The plant included a unique set of steam driven stamps. A mineral separation brine plant built in 1912 exists as concrete foundations to the east of the main mine area and was later used as a paintworks in the 1930s.

Other features
Also present on the mine site were a sawmill, coalhouses, carpenters shop, mine office and a loading bay or surge bin to hold ore trammed out of the main adit. The Ceryst and other culverts diverted water from Llyn Y Fan through the dressing area. A large dam (SN92808780) was constructed in the valley to the west to provide water at the dressing floors. Many of the buildings within the village are former mining accommodation/ administration offices. The miners' chapel and associated library can be seen at SO94928770.

Overall preservation of building remains on the dressing floors is good where the structures have been deeply buried in processing waste.

This HTML page is reproduced from the Powys and Clwyd Metal Mine Surveys which were undertaken between May 1992 and December 1993 by Mark Walters and Pat Frost of the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust with financial support from Powys County Council, Clwyd County Council and Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments. Further information about this site is available in CPAT's Regional Historic Environment Record.
Page produced by Rachel Stebbings and Chris Martin.