The significance of this thesis is that it presents a study of the archaeology, industry and social condition found in quarrying in 19th and 20th century Shropshire; and area of study which has not been fully researched before. The nine chapters will include a literature review of documents relating to quarrying, the effects of mechanisation on the land and its people and the estate papers of the landowners. The underlying geological structure of Shropshire will be outlined, as well as the later industrial changes which show how it has been worked by people throughout the last two centuries. This will also show the development in the market for the two types of minerals and the fluctuations in the labour force as mechanisation progressed.
Technological advances are traced over time in transport, industrial buildings and equipments. Aspects of the social study will include the development of quarry village communities and their association with agriculture and the gradual development of better working and living conditions through political change. Finally there will be a discussion of what features are left to be found in the landscape today, together with aural heritage retained in the memory of local people.
It would appear that little research has been carried out generally into 19th and 20th century quarrying in Shropshire, so this area of study is largely unsurpported by other research. Review of papers in the Shropshire Archives has brought to light historic papers associated with some of the earlier companies that operated on Clee Hills and other areas under research. Very informative interviews have taken place with Shropshire County Council Archaeological Unit, during which I was provide with pre-publication maps recently drawn up by the unit, as well as lists of past and present quarries.
The Clee Hill region and its quarries have previously been studied by mining engineers, academics and local historians. Mr Andrew Jenkinson at interview on the 19th March 2009, was very informative about the different geological layers and the diversity of the Shropshire landscape. He pointed out the different qualities of the hard stones quarried at the Clee and Grinshill. The dolerite stone at Clee is found at the top of the hills. The dolerite stone quarried from Clee Hills at the Dhu Stone Quarry (OS594776) and is used as road stone. Its wearing quality is different in that over time it leaves a polished road surface, which is dangerous. At the Grinshill Stone Quarry (OS525238) sandstone is quarried, which is known as one of the best stones for hardness and durability. The stone has ben used for construction of buildings and the English and Welsh bridges in, Shropshire and arround the country.