Copenacre Quarry

Copenacre possibly derived from ‘Cob in Acre’ or more likely ‘Coppe’ high ground and ‘Acre’ piece of land, is a large quarry situated on the north side of the A4 road as you leave Corsham towards Bath. It adjoins Pickwick Quarry to the north via Travellers Rest Quarry.

It was worked by Yockney and Hartham Park Stone Co. from about 1890 via a vertical shaft with a Jinny Ring with ladders and steps for pedestrian access – this was latterly converted to the east passenger lift during the second world war. In around 1900 a slope shaft was constructed making access easier, a steam engine was employed to winch the stone to the surface. This slope shaft was latterly made into the East Transporter shaft. Quarrying ceased in 1937.

RNSD Copenacre8.jpg

Copenacre Quarry was requistioned in 1940 along with most of the other Corsham Quarries and used by the Admiralty as a stores depot for the Fleet Air Arm and later as a testing/reconditioning site for the newly invented ASDIC sonar apparatus. There were purpose built workshops underground and space was at a premium. In 1942 the Admiralty decided to move out of Bethel Quarry due to unsatisfactory conditions there which meant increasing the storage required at Copenacre from 120,000 square feet to 220,000.

The Royal Navy acquired the south of Spring Quarry from the Ministry of Aircraft Production in 1947 for extra storage space as the threat from nuclear weapons was looming. The storage areas at Copenacre Quarry were also doubled in size from 1951 to 1954 and Monks Park Quarry was also developed for yet further storage underground. When at it’s full capacity in 1969 RNSD Copenacre and it’s sub depots employed 1700 people.

Due to defence cuts of the early 1990’s RNSD Copenacre was earmarked for closure and all the stores were cleared from here and the sub depots by 1995. Some surface offices were in use for a while longer but all closed in 1997.  As with many of the underground citadels, nobody could find an economical commerical purpose for the storage areas underground, so this has been backfilled with quarry waste from recent quarrying, while the surface buildings have been demolished and turned over to housing. The hardened east and west transporter tops are still visible but the two lift shaft tops were demolished and grassed over.


Corsham Quarries » Copenacre Quarry Media
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