The Old Quay Jenny Brown’s Point

Later, on the day of my early wander around Leighton Moss, Trowbarrow and Haweswater, TBH joined me for another stroll as the shadows lengthened. We crossed the fields to the Green, cut through Sharp’s Lot to Hollins Lane and and then walked down through Fleagarth Wood to the salt-marsh. We found that, unusually, the banks of Quicksand Pool, the stream which drains Leighton Moss, were firm and sandy, so rather than taking to the road at Jenny Brown’s Cottages we continued by the stream. I’ve been wanting to come this way for quite some time, because I’ve never had a proper gander at the old quay at Jenny Brown’s Point.

The old quay, Jenny Brown's Point

The quay was associated with a copper smelting works, the chimney of which can still be seen a little way back upstream. The works, and presumably the quay, were built in the 1790’s when copper was in demand to make bronze to be cast as cannons (to be fired at ol’ Boney Part) . The quay is looking pretty worse for wear these days.

The old quay again 

By the end of the quay is the foot of this rubble embankment.

The land reclamation scheme wall

This slice of local history was hidden for many years, until a storm in 1977 cleared the obscuring sands. It’s the initial stage of a land reclamation scheme begun in 1874 and abandoned in 1885 due to financial difficulties. The shifting channels and banks have recently concealed much of what had been visible.

Morecambe Bay sands 

Bowland hills across Morecambe Bay.

I checked the tide tables before we set-off (cheers Danny!), and we were roughly halfway between low tide and high tide, although these must have been close to neap tides and the expected high tide was a relatively small one. The sands were very dry and we were able to walk almost back to the village before we had to leave the beach for the shore.

Walking past Cow's Mouth 

Passing Cow’s Mouth (a cove). Coniston fells in the distance.

A fluke 

I think that this dried-up fish must be a flounder, known locally as a fluke. In the summer at Arnside, when the tide’s out, you might witness an unusual method of fishing for flukes: walking barefoot in the Kent channel and catching flukes by standing on them – I’ve seen a lot of fish taken very quickly in this fashion. I’ve also watched cormorants swallowing flukes whole, with some difficulty, on the Kent at low tide.

Arnside Knott

Arnside Knott.

Once again there were great crowds of wading birds on the fringes of the water by Silverdale Beach. Too far away for my camera on this occasion sadly.

The Old Quay Jenny Brown’s Point

19 thoughts on “The Old Quay Jenny Brown’s Point

      1. beatingthebounds says:

        LOL would, I believe, be the appropriate, demotic response, so: LOL.
        Very droll.
        If you slipped on said fish, would you be skating?…:)
        Over to you…

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      It is, it is.
      We all went across the bay yesterday…of which more, well…..eventually, since I’m way behind and a bit snowed under.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      No. The chimney at Cragfoot is much closer to the road. I believe that powered a sawmill, and possibly also the pump which drained Leighton Moss when it was farmed. Leighton Moss was flooded, I think during WW1 and never drained again.
      The copper smelting chimney now stands alone, on the north side of the salt-marsh, below Heald Brow. Presumably there was once other buidings or machinery there? I must confess I’ve never wondered before about just how copper was smelted at the end of the eighteenth century. Must find out.

  1. Just came across your blog today and was so pleased I did. You have captured a part of the country I keep on going back to year after year. A great coastline with a great bird reserve too. Thank you.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Hi Steve, glad you found me, and thanks for leaving a comment. I shall be catching up with your blog, when work calms down a bit.

  2. Peter Iles says:

    Hi there. The surviving square chimney at Crag Foot is associated with copper and iron extraction from the adjacent land, and is NOT the pump for Leighton Moss, although this is often reported – look at the 1891 1:2500 and later mapping to see the actual pumping station to the west of this site – The round chimney at Jenny Brown’s point is a more dificult issue. It is said to be a copper smelter, but there seems little (if any) evidence of this use, an alternative suggestion of use as a beacon tower also seems unsupported. It seems probable that the large jetty you saw first is also part of H Walduck’s reclamation proposals, that resulted in the rest of the drowned breakwater, and is not part of any copper-smelting exploits either …

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Thanks for that Peter. Dismaying to find that I’m perpetuating misinformation, but very pleasing to be corrected.

      1. Peter Iles says:

        I spent many years saying exactly the same things, until I was asked a definitive question and had to look up the facts – and found precious few of them! Most sources state that the square Crag Foot chimney was the site of the pump for draining Leighton Moss, but that isn’t what the map evidence shows. There was more than one pump over the years but the one which is usually associated with the chimney was down on the line of the flood embankment, near Crag Foot Farm, David Peter’s 1984 ‘In and Around Silverdale’ gives a precis of the sequence of pumps, but his 1985 ‘Warton with Lindeth, A History’ still claims that the square chimney was for the pump. However the 1891 OS 1:2,500 map shows a ‘pumping engine house’ some 50m to the northwest located over a drainage channel. This site, on the north side of the track to Moss House Farm, is empty now and unless there was an underground flue (which is not impossible, just unlikely) means that the square chimney was not part of it. Owen Ashmore’ ‘Industrial Archaeology of North West England’ (1982 p.229) states “Copper Mines, Warton Crag. Sites of numerous shafts and square chimney of engine house at Crag Foot, SD 481738, where there were three roasting kilns. Worked from 1750’s to 1818, reopened briefly in the late 1830’s and again between 1881 and 1918.” This may be neare the truth, but I’ve not seen any original documents to confirm it. I’d welcome any information, comments or clues about this site and those at Jenny Brown’s.

        1. Peter Iles says:

          Oops, when I said ‘… near Crag Foot Farm…’ I clearly meant ‘… that ran NW-SE across the valley and ended nearly opposite Mill Cottage … ‘ Just a slip of the keyboard.

          1. beatingthebounds says:

            Thanks Peter, more fascinating stuff. David Peters ‘In and Around Silverdale’ is my source. I like the idea of studying the 1891 map, are copies readily available?

            1. Peter Iles says:

              Hi there. The 1840s 1:10,560 mapping and the 1890s 1:2,500 map sheets are available to view on the LCC ‘MARIO’ web page – address above, but you do have to zoom in quite close to see clearly. Note that for this area the 1:10,560 map provided is a revision of the real ‘first edition’ sheet of 1848 – you can tell because the Ulverston-Carnforth railway line is shown and this wasn’t constructed at the stated publication date! I only spotted that myself recently and haven’t had a chance to find a ‘real’ 1848 map to replace it with.

              If you want to look at later editions / buy extracts is the site, but they have the same problem with the 1848 sheet as we do.

              1. beatingthebounds says:

                Hi Peter,
                Ah! Sorry, I was a bit slow on the uptake with the MARIO link there. I’ve had a bit of a play – absolutely fascinating. Two great links – I think I’d like to have a paper copy. Given that I love maps and I’m interested in local history, I can’t believe I haven’t thought of pursuing the idea of getting hold of old maps of the area before. There’s not an awful lot to Silverdale on the old maps is there? Which is hardly surprising, but seeing it on the map really brings it home.

                1. Peter Iles says:

                  If you email me directly with contact details, I’ll let you know what ‘spare’ printouts of the digitised maps I have, otherwise the Lancashire Record Office in Preston can also copy sheets from their holdings for you.

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