The 1875 Explosives act was the first major legislation to control the storage of explosives at mines and quarries.  The legislation contains an example of  how a small store should be constructed.



'A description is given of an example of a brick store for use in a small mine or quarry suitable for keeping 50 lbs of blasting powder and 10 lbs of detonators.


Walls – to be at least 9 inches thick with proper footings of concrete composed of 1 part Portland cement, 2 parts sand, 4 parts hard aggregate. An efficient damp proof course of asphalt, slate or copper to be placed above ground level and below flooring joists.


Ventilators – One 9 x 3 inch galvanised iron ventilator with shield to be fitted at top and bottom of back wall.


Floor – To be 6 inch by 1 inch wrought white pine flooring, tongued and groved laid on 4-inch by 2-inch red-pine joists, which are to be well-tarred on ends where built into walls. All flooring boards to be well nailed through the feathers. All nails to be driven angleways and where necessary in flat of boards, to be punched under and puttied over so that no exposed iron may be left. Fillets to be fitted in all angles. Floor level to be 8 inches above ground level. All nails to be of copper or brass.


Framing – 3 x 1 inch white pine uprights securely fastened to brickwork.


Lining – The inside of building, walls and ceiling, to be lined with 3 x inch match-board dressed on oneside tongued and grooved and nailed to 2 x 2 inch framing. Nails to be driven angleways through edges of boards and to be punched under and puttied over.


Roof – reinforced concrete 5 inches thick at crown and 4 inches thick at eaves to run off water. Roof to project 4½ inches over walls and to have weather grooves in underside. Concrete to be formed of 1 part Portland cement, 2 parts clean sharp sand, 4 parts granite, whin or other hard aggregate. The reinforcement not less than 0.2 sq inch per foot run. The roof to be covered with 2 layers of bituminous sheeting laid in hot bitumen. The underside to be plastered with 2 coats of sand and cement plaster finished with a coat of hard wall plaster or finished with timber lining as walls.


Doors – 2 feet x 2 feet x 1½ inches framed red pine doors hung on 6 inch by 2 inch standards securely fastened to brickwork and fitted with 2 solid brass edge hinges and 2 brass locks with duplicate keys. Doors to open outwards and to sheathed externally with iron sheeting. The outer surface of the doors to be covered with 20 S.W.G iron sheeting to cover one door standard, ½ inch of door lintel, and project ½ inch over bottom sole plate, the other door standard to be covered with a strap of 20 S.W.G. thick iron.


Painting – All internal woodwork, except floor, to receive 3 coats of good quality varnish. External woodwork and metal work to receive 3 coats good quality oil paint of approved colour.


A requirement of the legislation was for double doors on the entrance  as is shown by the 2 door frames o this store.




The inside was lined with wood fastened to wooden strips set into the wall. These were fastened with copper nails to prevent any sparks from iron. The floor was also wood.


 The vwooden wall strips on which panelling was fixed.


There was also  a need to display a notice regarding the rules at the store.

explosive regs notice   explosive number


2 notices from explosive stores (Nenthead Mines Conservation Society Collection) 




powderhousebbentyfield      powderhouseny759427


Powder store Bentyfield mine. NY 759 423.


This is built out of local stone with a stone flag roof. It had 2 gables with the door in the long wall.




Powder Ho at Cashburn Mine NY 71668 36707


A simialr design to above but with door off set to side.




Powder Store Greenhurth Mine NY 77 32

powder store ladies vein ny

Powder stone at Ladies Vein Tynehead NY75336 34504.


POWDERHO NY 69180 35390

Poowder store at Long Kate Lock mine.   NY 69180 35390


nenthead north store1

Nenthead north powder store. Renovated by the Nenthead Mines Preservation Trust in 2015.


nenthead south 4   nentheadsouth5

Nenthead south powder store.

Stone walls cement rendered.


Explosive store Silverband mine NY 70199 31590.




Small explosive store or detonator store at Hartside barytes mine.



 larger store at Hartside barytes mine.


 A small explosive store at Knock Pike quarry.
bishophill explo1     bishophillexplo2
Small brick built explosive and detonator store at Bishop Hill limestone quarry NY 61396 58961  there is a pair of limekilns associated with the quarry.

explosive store foresthead



Explosive store at Foresthead Quarry.

This is a large limestone quarry with an impressive set of limekilns.


nenthead powder store


Not all powder stores were at the mines or quarries. The London Lead Company built its own store at Nenthead village from where they supplied individual mines and miners.

acornbank1  acornbank2

A brick built store at Acorn Bank (Boazman) gypsum mine near Temple Sowerby. Probably dates from the development of the new drift starting in 1923.


 Internal doorway spliting the building in to two parts.





Explosive store at Force Crag Mine NY 19908 21482  a large room for the explosives and a smallerbuilding for the detonators door on opposite side. Brick walls cement rendered.





Explosive and detonator store at Seat Quarry NY 28412 40127.

 A brick built store as per the description.


powderstore atny297 015tilb


Powder store at Tilberthwaite NY 297 015.


gategill powder


Powder store at Gategill lead mine NY 32418 26304.


Built from the local Skiddaw Slate with bricks to form the door frames and corners.


threlkeld powder store  threlkeld powder store b


Powder store and detonator store at Threlkeld micro-granite quarry. Note the warning on the door and the steel plate on the outside of the door.


base of powder store

The explosive store at the Carrock End copper mine is said to have been built over this large rock. (shown on 1st edition OS map). 




gunpowderiom2  powder storeiom

A powder store on the shore at Scarlett Point limestone quarry, Isle of Man.


powder stored    powder storeb


An explosive store surrounded by a blast wall on Langness, Isle of Man


There is no quarry or mines on Langness and this store could have been for ammunition for the local ranges.