I am not sure if the old stone house is still standing, or if indeed there are any remnants or remains of what was there many, many years ago. My guess is that it was there long before the viaduct, (the one that still remains), was completed, before the house became closed in by the Viaduct and the high rocks.
The rail line continued along where the arches were no longer required. The reason being the rise and fall of the land that dropped down to the river Maun where Fatty Mans Bank came into the equation. That poor stone house must have shook when the trains pulling the heavy laden coal wagons passed on high above.
Firstly, the two quarries – one to the left after passing under the archway that was made for the entrance to both quarries and ran under the old railway. This quarry was known as the old disused sand quarry. It also had the high rocks to the left of what was a lovely walk through what I can only describe as a “ravine,” for on the right was an embankment with trees and grassland where many local folk enjoyed a lovely walk. At the base of the rocks were two small ponds where newts were in abundance.
The road under the archway going straight over, continued along a narrow stoney road, round the other side of the sand quarry embankment, into what at the time was the stone quarry belonging to a Mr Gregory. The quarry in my time was a very active quarry, and the blasting of the stone could be heard for miles around. It was always known as Gregory’s Quarry.
From the stoney road, the quarrying activity was on the right, where there were many sheds. There were huge blocks of stone and what to me seemed inches of stone dust everywhere. If one continued along the stoney road, you came out on the main Nottingham Road.
The house in the Quarry was always believed to be the house of the owner of the Sand Quarry, and yet it did not make sense, for the man who lived in the house never appeared to be “Well Off “. He lived alone, had a dog for company, kept a horse and cart, and could often be seen driving his horse and cart around the streets and lanes of the town doing odd jobs for coppers. He could also be seen doing small removals for those who were moving from one house to another, and always had his collie dog riding on the cart. He always appeared to be dressed the same clothes each day, wearing a flat cap, a shirt with no collar, a neckerchief round his neck, an old pair of trousers and an even older pair of boots.
We as youngsters always knew if he was at home for his cart was always there, and if ever he saw us going into the quarry, he would always clear us off!
I have tried very hard to remember his name, but for the life of me, I cannot, Joe Smith, or Brown, or Berry ,it could have been. He was someone I didn’t know, and yet someone I always felt I knew.
In those days life was so much more simple then, for being on his own, all he had to do was, get up in the morning, look after his horse and his dog, earn a crust for himself and his animal family, and probably he enjoyed a pint at the Lord Byron Pub.
The house always seemed spooky to me, maybe because I never went into it. But old Joe was harmless enough, it was characters like him that made Mansfield the town it was in those days, he wasn’t a councillor, a doctor, an MP, a teacher or a businessman – just an ordinary man. who happened to choose Mansfield as a place to live.
So the next time you pass under the old Railway Bridge that leads you to the old Quarry, as you enter , look to your right and spare a thought for the old man that lived in the House In The Quarry….