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Suckthumb Quarry

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68570507LRThe curiously named Suckthumb Quarry is a depleted inland quarry which has been infilled with unwanted stone from other quarries; in particular the adjacent Coombefield Quarry

The area was recorded as ‘Sutcombe’ in 1608 and ‘Suckthumb’ in 1806. No definitive meaning of the name has been found other than the obvious; that someone sucked their thumb here?

The aerial photograph at left which is from the late 1990s shows the area as rough terrain covered by paths. The last parts of the quarry to be infilled is to the west and this area on the east of Avalanche Road and the left of the red square was a deep quarry well into the 1980s when I first explored this area.

At this time I found a complete and working hand operated crane. Over the following twenty years this was vandalised with the last of the wooden spars being destroyed by fire in about 2007.

To the northern edge of the red square are a line of house which cover the site of the Prince Alfred pub.

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SUCKTHUMB QUARRY

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DEMISE OF A HAND OPERATED CRANE

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THE PRINCE ALFRED PUB

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SUCKTHUMB QUARRY

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Suckthumb Quarry was first quarried in late Victorian times after  the coastal quarries became depleted and uneconomic. By the 1980s quarrying in Suckthumb had ceased and, over the next decade, the quarry was filled with rubble leaving a jumble of mounds and dips covered with scrub as seen above.

THE DEMISE OF A HAND OPERATED CRANE

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This Portland small quarry crane operated by hand, was discovered and photographed by me in July 1989.

At this time I contacted the council, the quarry owner and Portland Museum to see if this crane could be saved but nobody responded with the result that vandals destroyed this crane over the next decade or so. This was such a shame as the crane appeared to be the last survivor of its type.

This part of Suckthumb Quarry was filled in soon afterwards and this quarry no longer exists.

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The pathetic remains of the crane by mid-1989.

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Then, in October 2002 I discovered the remains again - dumped nearby the edge of the in-filled quarry

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By 2007, the last remaining wooden spars of this crane had been burned by vandals.

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THE PRINCE ALFRED PUB

Part of Weston Street runs across the top of this area. On this part of Weston Street where it joins Avalanche Road once stood the Prince Albert pub.

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Looking south across Weston Pond towards the Prince Alfred pub in the background on the right edge of the picture. Behind the buildings is Suckthumb quarry.

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Another view of Weston Pond and the Prince Alfred pub at the centre of the picture.

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The modern scene. The pond has been filled in and used to be in the foreground whilst the pub and other cottages in the background were replaced by modern houses in the 1970s.

 

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Keywords Southwell Portland Suckthumb Coombefield prince alfred public house quarrying Portland Dorset