Backworth, North Tyneside
Metal Smelting Site
The A186 now occupies the area of the site above Viscount Close.
8 Mar 2021
Abbey Shot Factory, Backworth
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Current status is
Abbey Shot Factory, on the site of the former Earsdon Colliery, Duke and Dutchess Pit, and was served by the Backworth Colliery Railway, Church Pit Branch. Opened during the 1890s. Lead shot is made by pouring molten lead through a sieve and letting it fall far enough so that the metal cools and forms into spheres which are caught in sand. There was no shot tower here, instead the old mine shafts were used. The works had their own sidings to supply coal to the melting furnaces and to take the finished product away. The works probably closed during the depression.
The first edition of the Ordnance Survey can be seen just above. At this point the shot factory was actually the Duke and Duchess pit operated by Earsdon Colliery. The pit closed by the end of the 19th century and the shot factory had taken its place, as seen on the second edition further up the page.
The most factories of the type had a shot tower, this factory utilised the previous mine workings to produce the shots. Us northern folk are known for making the best of what we have!
The scene in the 1920s features the suburban housing developments of Shiremoor to cope with the rising demand for Colliery workers in the area. The shot factory is still operating in the area, and utilises the famous Earsdon flat crossing to ship its goods. Its namesake may come from the Methodist chapel which is a short distance south.
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