SETCH OIL FIELDS

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SETCH OIL FIELDS

Postby EWW » 15 Oct 2006, 07:45

There are still some sheds that was used when the oilfield was
in operation at Setch.
This bus is parked opp the swimming pool next to the park.


Image
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Postby old-git » 16 Oct 2006, 18:41

Oil Fields? :shock: Do you know if that was oil as in crude or seed, or was it just a place name?
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Postby EWW » 16 Oct 2006, 19:01

Twas oil bearing shale so I have been told OG.
ENGLISH OILFIEDS LIMITED HELD THE LEASE 1917-1922

NO 53 IN THIS LIST

http://archives.norfolk.gov.uk/guide/nrobr.htm
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Postby EWW » 27 Jan 2007, 17:38

Been trying for sometime to find the location of this picture
it is the setch oilfields. Road on the right is now the A10.


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Postby choks » 27 Jan 2007, 17:45

What a great find EWW...

Looks a Large operation for the day.. :wink:
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Postby EWW » 27 Jan 2007, 18:00

As I said in first post, some of those huts are still there, they were built
round and turned into bungalows.
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Re: SETCH OIL FIELDS

Postby djcatmax » 13 Aug 2008, 08:07

We have an early map of English Oilfields which shows the retorts and rail tracks on the photograph.
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Re: SETCH OIL FIELDS

Postby EWW » 13 Aug 2008, 08:47

Welome to the forum DJCATMAX Hope you will post said map in this thread
at sometime, would love to see it :D
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Re: SETCH OIL FIELDS

Postby Alastair » 11 Jan 2011, 19:14

I think there's a map of the site in the Middleton Press book Ely to King's Lynn, I can't find my copy to check at the moment. The first two photos are also in that book.

You can trace the line of the branch from the mainline on Google Earth (curving in from the bottom left here). Good information on the oilfield as NHER 12556 (associated mine as NHER 12557) and there's also a dubious entry as NHER 13595 describing a narrow gauage railway - apparently connected to the oil field, but the oil sidings are almost certainly standard gauge.
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Re: SETCH OIL FIELDS

Postby Rusky » 11 Jan 2011, 19:56

As a youngster, growing up at the Setch end of West Winch during the 70's, my friends and I used to spend an awful lot of time playing on West Winch common. Within the common area there was a large area of tree's which camouflaged what we believe was part of the Setch oil fields. You can see the area of trees on the screen shot from Google maps below, just underneath the power lines.

Image

This area of trees contained what could best be described as a pit, some 50 -60 feet in diameter, with what could best be described a derelict derrick in one corner. There were lots of 45 Gallon drums in the water that could at best be described as murky, and generally what we would now know as a health and safety risk... The whole site had narrow gauge tracks (this is definite Alistair - I would say about 2 ft gauge) heading from it, towards the main line and in several places there were narrow gauge tipper wagons, not dissimilar to those you might have seen in cowboy films in the past, some of which were overgrown, but not all of them. As a growing teenager the whole place was an adventure just waiting to be explored, and being the proud owner of a .22 air rifle, chocked full of suitable targets. I really don't know what state the place is in now, but I really couldn't imagine that it is as it was in those days.



The Red cross on the map below shows the location of the woods & the pit in relation to the houses in the area.

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Re: SETCH OIL FIELDS

Postby Appso » 31 Jan 2011, 11:18

I first became interested in English Oilfields Ltd. (EOL) during a fuel shortage in the early 1970’s. The government gave a grant to the Institute of Geological Sciences (IGS) to re-investigate anywhere in the UK that an attempt in the past had been made to produce oil. A Mr. Richard Gallois from IGS arrived at my place of work with some old photographs, seeking permission from my employers to dig a small test hole in the EOL quarry between Hall Lane and the Lynn to Ely railway line in West Winch. The permission was granted and it culminated in an IGS report being placed on file on Dec 12th 1976.
The photos mentioned above were lent to the IGS by Arthur Ramsome, an employee of EOL, they had been part of a lot of paperwork sent from EOL head office in London to Setch to be burnt. Unfortunately Arthur did burn the paperwork but thank goodness not the pictures. The IGS copied these and said that if I got permission from Arthur to have copies they would lend me the negatives, this they did and probably the most popular of these is the one taken from the top of the chimney looking North across the site that was then being built, c1920. This picture has been reproduced many times, in the LN&A, the EDP, railway book Ely to Kings Lynn, the video Faces of Lynn, etc.
I believe that the only building that still exists is part of Maxview Aerials. The last of the wooden buildings, in the lay-by at Setch, was demolished in Jan, 2002, there is now a new bungalow on the site.
It was shale that was dug in the quarry, the site chosen because the shale was closest to the surface here, it is known as Kimmeridge Clay. A band that is known from Dorset and up beyond Lincoln. If you take a train journey to Grimsby from Lincoln there are nodding donkeys extracting a very small amount of oil, I understand that there are also some of these machines working in Dorset. A test well sunk near St. Nicholas Chapel reported that there were 630 feet of shale starting at a depth of 57 feet, under Lynn, this well was abandoned in 1829 !
The shale was dug in the quarry, loaded into wheelbarrows, then transferred to wooden sided non-tipping 2’-0” gauge trucks hauled out of the quarry, across the Puny drain on a specially made bridge, no longer there, to join the standard gauge railway from Clarks Drove Signal Box around to the retorts. Where the narrow gauge joined the standard gauge it became three rail. I am told that about every third standard gauge sleeper was extended to support the narrow gauge rail along the Eastern side of the track.
I have heard it said that the whole EOL thing was a huge con trick, but my view is that it did not start out as such but probably became one. A considerable amount of work went into the scheme, many square miles of local land was leased from farmers and they were promised royalties for almost everything dug up, Coal, Cannel, Shale and Oil, Ironstone, Gravel, Oil Brine, Salt, Clay if sold, Sand, this is on top of the rent to be paid.
However it soon became clear that there was too much sulphur in the oil extracted and things very quickly wound down. A very small operation did continue into the 1960s making an oil treatment for skin complaints, but this was very small.
In the 1930s the land seen from the top of the chimney was sold to Sanstone or Etna Gravel, I think both became Sommerfeld & Thomas and this became a quarry for the extraction of gravel. When the concrete structures were being built for EOL they apparently used the gravel from the site as it was so plentiful and this is what prompted the sale. This site had its own 2’-0” gauge railway from the quarry mentioned above and the one behind Hill Farm, to the washer, these used steel bodied side tipping trucks.

In the Lynn Advertiser of 6th Jan 1928 an article appeared stating that there had been severe criticism at a shareholders meeting, it was stated that no accounts had been produced for two years and nine months. Sir Harry Foster former MP for Lowestoft had bought 11,000 shares at £4 each, five years ago there was £129,000 in the bank but now there was only £81.
It bought a lot of employment to a lot of people for a short time and a few people a bit longer. If there was an accident on the Lynn Road, the Oilfields ambulance attended, they had their own doctor, nurse and policeman.
They also had their own football team, a report in the Lynn Advertiser for 20th March 1920 states that a very enjoyable game took place between English Oilfields United and Lynn Reserves. The reserves winning 2-1, the game was by no means one sided, if the United shooting had been better the result would have been quite different. Teams were Oilfields; Jacobs, Pickering, Reynolds, Jaggs, Kirk, Witt, Francis, Bage, Mann, Say, Gibson. Lynn; Gage, Monument, Trenowath, E Bray, W Bray, Harbage, Gribble, Pooley, Hill, Armes, Smith.

I have amassed quite a lot of information etc. on EOL and will add some more photographs in the near future, but so far have not been able to aquire a copy of one of the share certificates. Has anyone out there got one please that I can have a photocopy of, most of them were dumped because they became worthless but am ever hopeful.
Thank you.

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Re: SETCH OIL FIELDS

Postby teddybear1959 » 31 Jan 2011, 13:07

Wow, thanks for that info Appso.

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Re: SETCH OIL FIELDS

Postby Alastair » 31 Jan 2011, 18:53

Appso, the dual-gauging was just on the private siding? If there are photographs showing the siding at a good enough resolution then it might be possible to spot the extended sleepers. Even after the 2' was lifted they wouoldn't have replaced the sleepers on the SG.

By the way, you're not the gentlemen at BofE I spoke to about the oilfields a few years ago are you?
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Re: SETCH OIL FIELDS

Postby Appso » 01 Feb 2011, 17:08

Thanks for the interest shown, I have a few pictures of the oilfields, but for some unknown reason my scanner has thrown a wobbly. I tried for ages yesterday to put on a picture of the EOL chimney that the 'Aerial' picture was taken from but without success, this picture has twin track standard gauge in the foreground but close to the A10 so even if the three rail bit is correct the 2'-0" would have parted from the standard by this point. The 1928 25" OS map does show the 2'-0" joining the standard but the picture already mentioned plus the 'Aerial' pic are the only ones I have showing standard gauge. The picture of the fireless loco in 'Ely to Kings Lynn' was given to me by the son of one of the people in the picture (now in his 85th year!) who told me about the 3 rail but the wheels have been cut off (in the picture) so we cannot see the track. The same gent also told me about 'The Decauville' loco but this opens up another great big can of worms.
What or where is BofE?
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Re: SETCH OIL FIELDS

Postby Alastair » 01 Feb 2011, 19:23

BofE = Beers of Europe, next to Maxview and sharing part of the former oil field site. I had a long chat with the guy that runs it a couple of years ago about the oilfields.

A Decauville? interesting..

If you need a hand with scanning, I can help with scanning 35mm or 120 format slides/negatives up to A4 prints.
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