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Second Edition Published 2009, incorporating a complete revision of existing material covered to the end of peat extraction on the moors and extensive new material and photographs, more than doubling the size of the first edition Pp.-110, including a full colour frontispiece, 19 plates each containing 2 monochrome photographs and 7 figures.
This publication presents the definitive account of mechanised peat winning and transportation on Thorne Moors. Situated mostly in Yorkshire, the eastern part of Thorne Moors (Crowle Moor) lies in Lincolnshire. This economic resource once constituted the most extensive peat operation in Britain, but is now abandoned, the site becoming a part of the Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve. Although peat exploitation at Thorne was formerly based on muscle-power, from 1947 mechanisation became increasingly pervasive and eventually dominant. Introduced independently by the British Moss Litter Co. Ltd and - over the Lincolnshire boundary - the Scientific Peat Co., this process was taken up by the successive major horticultural concerns: Fisons Horticulture Division, Levington Horticulture Ltd, The Scotts Company and The Scotts Company (UK) Ltd. In parallel, it was adopted by the smaller outfits on Crowle Moor.
This commercial development resulted in a series of specialized methodologies and transportation networks. They are all described and explained in the publication. The outcome created a landscape and infrastructure shaped by British, Irish, German, Finnish and Russian influences. There are references to the full range of industrial plant and rolling stock used, from self-priming water pumps to the heaviest locomotives on any British peat moor. The narrative is based on the co-authors’ fieldwork and work experience, interviews, correspondence and literature searching. Supporting textual apparatus provides notification of all known published photographs and moving images, and extensive lists of references and notes. The whole account forms the most detailed published record of industrial peat winning in Britain. It is augmented by the only available description of mechanisation at the interface of industry and nature conservation.
Forty plates are a major feature of the publication. These are based on a photographic study of Thorne Moors during 1989-2000 by Peter Roworth ARPS, augmented by images mainly embracing an earlier span of years. All are focused on different aspects of mechanised peat winning, and they provide a unique collection. The plates are intended to complement the numerous railway-oriented photographs that appeared in Adrian Booth’s Peat Railways of Thorne and Hatfield Moors, published by the Industrial Railway Society in 1998. The hardbound version of this is still in print - click on www.irsociety.co.uk . and search for peat.
Scaled down images of all of the plates in this book are available here in an image gallery, this will open in a separate page. These images are copyright, like all images on this website, and must not be reproduced either privately or commercially without permission - please contact our for details. These images were carefully chosen from hundreds, a very difficult task. We have also included a second image gallery of near misses, the ones that didn't quite make it to publication. To view these click here.
The A4 wire-bound publication has been produced in a print-run of 150 copies, and features a designed cover, 88 pages of text, a split colour frontispiece, 38 monochrome plates, six diagrams and a location map. Following a wide-ranging Introduction (which includes a European perspective), the chapter headings are as follows:
Copies cost £5 (postage and packaging extra), cheques payable to the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum. Full details can be found on our Ordering page
In association with the book, five copies of a CD have been produced, to a high quality, by Peak Imaging of Sheffield. The contents of the CD have been assembled by Peter Roworth, from a variety of sources, and present 75 images of the modern industry. Many of them do not appear in the book. They can be accesssed here via the IMAGE GALLERIES. In addition, copies of the CD, and an accompanying booklet of titles, are available for loan. Contact for details.
The following thesis has been added to the Downloads available through the Publications webpage:
M. Limbert (2011) Peat Exploitation on Thorne Moors. A case-study from the Yorkshire – Lincolnshire border 1626 – 1963, with integrated notes on Hatfield Moors. MPhil thesis. Division of Archaeological, Geographical and Environmental Sciences, University of Bradford. Taken together, this publication and the MPhil thesis detail peat winning and transportation at Thorne from the 17th century to the end in 2007. In addition to detailed methodologies, these sources include a coordinated narrative history, inventories of published images and bibliographical details.
Mechanised Peat Winning and Transportation
This A4 wire-bound publication has been produced in a print-
• Outline of the Thorne Peat Industry and Nature Conserva-
With the ending of commercial peat winning, there is a danger
And this is dealt with in minute detail. If you want to know
Forty plates are a major feature of the publication These are
This is really a book which will serve to record for posterity a
Mechanised Peat Winning and Transportation on Thorne Moors
ISSN 1468-2087. Card covers and wire bound. 295mm x 210mm. 109 pages. 2 colour and 34 black and white photographs, 6 diagrams and a location map. Published in 2009 by Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum. Available from Keith Heywood, Publications Officer, 15 South End, Thorne, Doncaster DN8 5QN. Price £9.95, plus £2.00 for post and packing.
Those who visited the area will remember, with pleasure, the delightful narrow gauge railways that used to run across Thorne Moors; today this forms part of the Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve. The presentation of this publication is in the style of a research report rather than a book, but this should not obscure the many years of study by the authors on the subject. Transport is examined in its widest sense from the extraction of the peat to the use of narrow gauge railways and the various types of non rail equipment and vehicles. The authors have omitted any railway photographs arguing that there is a comprehensive coverage in Adrian Booth's book Peat Railways of Thorne and Hatfield Moors (IRS, 1998). However the publication provides a detailed assessment of the history of peat working on the moors with information on business development, the techniques for cutting and drying sod peat and later 'block' and 'surficial' peat harvesting. Chapter 6 (17 pages) describes the use of locomotives, rolling stock and railways, including a review of references previously published elsewhere. Only 150 copies of the report have been produced.