All that remains of Stuffynwood Hall is the coalhouse, wash-house and part of the kitchen, however below all this is a stone built water holding tank and boiler room together with a very deep well.
The main supply of water to Stuffynwood Hall came from the deep well, bored through solid limestone to a depth of 100 feet. Water was pumped out by steam-engine driven pump - probably a Watt Beam engine type that was commonly used during the mid 19th century for pumping water out of deep coal mines. In recent years the well has been dry - probably due to a number of reasons, low rainfall in the main but also local dolomite extraction below the water table requiring water to be pumped out into the river Meden. Also, under the laundry, there still exists a huge 200,000lt capacity, stone built water tank, which collected rain water from the rooves of Stuffynwood Hall. This tank would probably be filled to near full capacity via the well in winter. Two more water storage tanks have been found, both in the areas of the former walled gardens, infact one was unintentionally found by the JCB!
The gif. animation shows the principal operation of the Watt Beam engine. Towards the middle of the 19th century they had become more refined as shown by this 1856 model.
|The Boiler Room||Inside the Tank||The Derelict wash-house video||Most Haunted|
The image below was taken by a video-camera suspended 75 foot on the end of a rope. Basically, this 'hope for the best' method is the easiest way of getting images without venturing down there! The lighting was supplied by an auto inspection lamp suspended on electrical extension cable, powered by a portable generator. My first thought, helped by the poor lighting, was that the image may show a tunnel leading off from the shaft but after consideration I've concluded that the flat side is not a walkway but the side of the well shaft that would have supported a ladder structure and the pipes to pump out the water. I'm going to repeat the exercise with better lighting and a camera mounted frame - my main objective is to ascertain through staining of the rock, the highest historical water table, which would have been before 1900 when Shirebrook Colliery had been in operation for 4 years, mining to 900 feet depth, subsequently lowering the water table with the use of steam powered engine pumps.