SCRCA List Entry Extract for LEN 1015726

SCRCA List Entry Extract Source Details
List Entry Source URL(s)

SCRCA Structure: List Entry details (Excluding the 'Description' field)
List Entry Name
Ribblehead railway construction camp and prehistoric field system
List entry Number (LEN)
List Entry Location
--- No Data ---
List Entry County
North Yorkshire
List Entry District
List Entry Parish
List Entry National Park
SCRCA Structure: List Entry details: 'Description' field

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Construction camps were temporary settlements constructed for major engineering projects undertaken during the period known as the Industrial Revolution. They are particularly associated with large scale schemes such as canals, railways and reservoirs which required a large workforce. For transport projects a series of temporary camps would be established along the line of the route in isolated areas, but in or near to urban centres workers may also use existing accommodation. The settlement camp was a self-supporting community of workers, which sometimes included their families, engineers and officials supported by a range of social and civic facilities. The quality of accommodation and extent of facilities varied greatly. In some examples workers housed themselves in shanty towns, with few facilities and could be exploited by employers through the truck system of being paid by tokens which could only be exchanged at company shops at inflated prices. In other examples housing was built to a standard quality and a wide range of social and civic facilities were made available such as a post office, library, church or chapel, schools and a hospital as well as shops and ale houses operated by commercial traders. This enlightened approach towards fostering a community reflected the social attitudes of the Victorian era which was demonstrated by the presence of temperance halls and mission houses. In association with the settlements would be the construction works where materials such as bricks and metal fabrications would be made and clay or stone quarried, along with attendant stores, workshops and smithies. The population of the settlements reflected the varied make up of the settlement and in addition to labourers included professionals such as teachers, ministers, commercial traders as well as carpenters, masons, surveyors, engineers and the project officials. Although some of the workforce would be drawn from the local population the bulk were navvies or professional itinerant labourers who moved, often with their families, from project to project. The majority of construction settlements disappeared when the associated project was completed and the workforce moved onto another section of the same scheme or joined another project altogether. Some however became established as settlements which still exist today.

The construction projects associated with the larger settlements were often on a grand scale such as bridges, tunnels, viaducts and canals. Many of these structures demonstrated the latest in engineering skills and often displayed decorative embellishments to reflect the status of their builders and sponsors. The construction projects, particularly railways and canals, were an integral part of the Industrial Revolution. Technological advances brought about by their development fed back into other industries and brought about further dramatic change by enabling the speedy movement of raw materials and finished products from source to market. In later years the railways enabled a mass movement of peoples and led to urban development along the lines. As such construction settlements and their associated projects illustrate the great advances in technology during the Industrial Revolution and also inform an understanding of the great change in social conditions which accompanied it. Although many of the completed structures are still a major component in the landscape most of the construction settlements, because of their temporary nature, only survive as earthworks or buried archaeological remains. They are often well documented in company records, maps, photographs and contemporary reports.

The earthwork remains of construction settlement at Ribblehead survive well and the layout and identification of the structures can be clearly understood. Contemporary records including a census report give a clear indication of the scale and nature of the monument. The associated viaduct represents a 19th century engineering feat of the highest order and in conjunction with its construction camp offers an important insight into technology and working conditions in an isolated part of England.

Prehistoric field systems are the remains of early agricultural methods which included the clearance of stone into piles or cairns and dividing the land into stone walled enclosures. Important archaeological evidence will be retained within and beneath the walls and cairns. They are an important element of the existing landscape and are representative of farming practices over a long period.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument lies in two separate areas and includes the extensive earthwork remains of the railway construction camp and associated settlement remains immediately adjacent to the viaduct located at the head of Ribblesdale in the Yorkshire Dales. Also included in the monument are some fragmentary remains of a prehistoric field system. The camp was associated with construction of the Settle to Carlisle railway between 1870-1875, particularly construction of the adjacent viaduct and the Blea Moor tunnel to the north. Only three of the nine settlements associated with the construction of this stretch of the line survive as earthworks. These were known as Batty Wife Hole, Sebastopol and Belgravia and all three are included in the scheduling.

The monument is divided into two separate areas, one to the north which includes the ground beneath and around the footings for the viaduct and remains of the construction works and the domestic settlements of Sebastopol and Belgravia and a second area to the south at Batty Wife Hole where the civic, commercial and social facilities were located. The two areas were connected by a trackway which predated the establishment of the railway workings. The trackway is not included in the scheduling.

The construction works are located to the east of the viaduct in the area known as Sebastopol. They included the brickworks and drying sheds, locomotive maintenance shed and other workshops. Remains of the brickworks survive as prominent earthworks with the remnants of the chimneys surviving as rubble mounds up to 2m high.

Rows of terraced houses were located to the east of the construction works and further to the north there were individual houses in the `suburb' known as Belgravia. The majority of the dwellings were built to standard designs and most were built of timber. Earthwork remains of most structures are still visible and elsewhere archaeological remains will be preserved below the ground.

At the north of the monument is a quarry face where limestone was removed for use in the construction works. A series of crude lean-to dwellings were built against this face, remains of which still survive as low stone walls. Extending around the northern area and criss-crossing it are the earthwork remains of a network of tramways. A substantial embanked tramway forms a semicircular loop around the eastern and northern edge of the area and rises up to the north west to allow access to the railway embankment and on to the viaduct. This major tramway links with others leading into the construction works.

In the area between the works and the domestic buildings is a lime kiln and associated quarries. It is depicted on the 1851 Ordnance Survey map and therefore predates the railway construction.

Batty Wife Hole lies 500m to the south and was located at the junction of the Richmond to Lancaster turnpike and a track south into Ribblesdale. This settlement was the principal and largest of the three and in 1871 had a population of 342. Accordingly it contained civic, commercial and social facilities as well as the railway company offices and served all of the settlements on this length of the line. Included in the settlement were a library, schools, post office, mission house, offices and some accommodation now located to the south west of the modern B6479. To the north east of, and fronting the road were a row of shops and ale houses. On the slight rise to the north east was the site of a hospital. None of these buildings now survive but significant earthwork remains of the structures are visible. These indicate that some had stone foundations although the majority were of timber construction.

Also included in the monument are faint remnants of a prehistoric field system. These include a low bank at the north of the Belgravia settlement and two clearance cairns and enclosure boundaries to the north of the B6255. The railway line was built for the Midland Railway to link London to Scotland independant of the west coast line. The line was originally double tracked but this has now been reduced to a single one over the viaduct.

The construction of the viaduct started in October 1870 and was completed in April 1875 when the dismantling of the settlements began.

The viaduct, which is Listed Grade II*, is not included in the scheduling. However, the ground immediately surrounding the foundations where remains of construction activities will survive, is included. The viaduct is 400m long and 50m high and is supported by 24 brick arches set on substantial limestone piers sunk 7.5m into the ground. The bricks to build the arches were all made on site and the limestone quarried from near to Ribblehead Station. The display panel below the viaduct and the surface of the roads are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath is included.

Selected Sources

Book  Reference - Author: Cardwell, P and Ronan, D and Simpson, R - Title: A Survey of the Batty Moss Navvy Settlements, Ribblehead - Date: 1995 - Volume: NAA95/23

Book  Reference - Author: Cardwell, P and Ronan, D and Simpson, R - Title: A Survey of the Batty Moss Navvy Settlements, Ribblehead - Date: 1995 - Volume: NAA95/23

Book  Reference - Author: Cardwell, P and Ronan, D and Simpson, R - Title: A Survey of the Batty Moss Navvy Settlements, Ribblehead - Date: 1995 - Volume: NAA95/23

Book  Reference - Author: Mackay, D - Title: Ribblehead Quarry and Environs - Date: 1988 - Type: DESC TEXT

Article  Reference - Author: Cardwell, P and Ronan, D and Simpson, R - Title: A Survey of the Batty Moss Navvy Settlements at Ribblehead - Date: 1995 - Volume: NAA95/23 - Type: DESC TEXT

Other  Reference - Author: Hartley, RA - Title: English Heritage FMW report - Date: 1972 - Type: DESC TEXT

National Grid Reference: SD 76078 79297, SD 76516 79236