The Furzebrook Railway of Pike Brothers' Dorset Clay Works

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A detailed history of the Furzebrook Railway, a narrow gauge industrial railway on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset built by the Pike Brothers to transport clay between their clay pits and a wharf on the river Frome.

The railway consisted of a number of short branches, and the book describes how the mines operated from when they were first established by the Pike family in the mid-18th century until the demise of the railway in 1957 and closure of the remaining mines in the 1970s and early 1980s.

It is divided into the following chapters:

  • Early ball clay mining in Purbeck and the Pike family, 1760–1839.
  • Construction and development of the Furzebrook Railway, 1838–84.
  • The railway develops with new mines, 1885–1930s.
  • The Cotness branch and mines, 1911–40.
  • The Povington branch of the Furzebrook Railway, 1927–56.
  • Route of the railway and weathering beds, 1930s.
  • Ridge Wharf and the shipping of clay, 1840–1942. Tug and clay barges built by Pikes.
  • The railway shrinks, 1930–45.
  • Post-war development of the Pikes mines from 1946 onwards.
  • Furzebrook Railway, the beginning of the end, 1948.
  • Locos of the Furzebrook Railway 1866–1930.
  • Furzebrook Railway rolling stock, 1950s.
  • The railway closes but mining continues, 1957.
  • Mines with underground railways, 1953–99.
  • Visible remains of the Furzebrook Railway.

Well illustrated with approximately 400 black & white photos. 208 pages. Softback.

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