Fifty years ago the excavation of ironstone for the manufacture of iron and steel came to an end at Rutland’s last ironstone quarry at Exton Park. Quarrying for ironstone started in 1882 near Cottesmore and the last train load of ironstone left the County in May 1973. A new exhibition will cover the history of the Exton Park Ironstone Quarry, one of the largest in the East Midlands.
Images from Exton Quarry
Both Sproxton and Colsterworth East Ironstone Quarries closed in Spring 1973 and on Thursday 26th July 1973 the last ironstone train ran from Stainby Glebe Sidings to High Dyke Junction on the High Dyke Mineral Branch Line. Events to mark the anniversaries of these closures will also feature in this year’s open day programme.
The museum is also home to steam locomotive “SINGAPORE”, which was captured by the Japanese along with 80,000 allied servicemen at the Fall of Singapore in 1942, some 81 years ago. Allied Far Eastern prisoners of war (FEPOW) had to endure 3 ½ years of captivity and hard labour under a harsh and uncaring Japanese occupation regime. Of those who were taken to work on the infamous Burma- Siam Death Railway, built through the disease infested jungle, one in four of the prisoners were not destined to survive.
To mark the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Far Eastern allied Prisoners of War (FEPOW) in late August the museum will include the SINGAPORE locomotive in a special memorial display to be held on August Bank Holiday Monday to the courage, comradeship and sacrifice of Far Eastern Prisoners of War 1941-1945.
A further more poignant FEPOW commemorative event will be held on Tuesday 17th October to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the completion of the Burma- Siam “Death Railway” which claimed the lives of 12,000 allied Prisoners of War and 100,000 native workers.
For full details of the 2023 Open Day Programme please follow the link.