Carthorse Quarry

OSGB 187GR352536

Interesting graffiti and other features

Carthorse Quarry (mine) lies in the upper green sandstone and was mined extensively for building stone known as firestone 1700 - 1912 C.

During the Victorian period the stone became fashionable to whiten hearths and doorsteps using the crushed stone or rubble called hearthstone mixed with water to form a paste. Women used to travel around London selling it for 6 pence a bag.

1900 - 1930 the mine was used to grow mushrooms, evidence of water pipes and wooden screens still exists and at this time the walls, floor and roof were whitewashed.

1939 - 1945 used for storage, wines, spirits, specimens from Natural History Museum (London) and other items we know nothing about, hence all the steel doors to separate storage areas and for security reasons. There is one area that was sealed off and then broken open in 1945 and the objects removed, what was there is still a mystery.

1n the 1950's and 1960's visited by cavers and mine enthusiasts.

Caterham Caving Club adopted Carthorse in this period and did a lot of research into the many mines around Godstone. They kept records of the temperature and humidity, sadly the Club has gone but Mike Bird may still be in Caterham? 1964 along came Croydon Caving Club who used the Mines on numerous occasions for training and surveying.

"All Have Left Their Marks"

So on a recent visit to the quarry or mine, in January 1997, I noted the following"



In large red lettering on the wall.

Location near the entrance on the wall referring to the location of the wines and spirits.




In large red lettering on the wall referring to the location of the wine storage area.

Location near the entrance on the wall.





In large red lettering.

Showing various locations of storage area:

Location: on the wall near the entrance.


A large blue yellow metal enamel advertising sign 2m x 1½ m in white and black lettering.


Location: near the entrance.

This has always been there, why I don’t know.


White lettering on a steel door

ALAN 6-4-75


Location: some way in the mine in the right hand series.

Maybe locals on a visit.


E & E


In black lettering.

This is Epson & Ewell YHA Group who had a small cave unit in the 60’s. I actually met them in Godstone Mines many times. I was with Croydon YHA Group who eventually helped form Croydon Caving Club, the Epsom lads always had carbide lamps. E&E ceased to exist in the early 70’s.

Location: on wall near the formations.


Stand pipe with water tap a relic of the mushroom growers.

Location: near the airshaft which we believe the mushroom growers dug from beneath the mine to the surface a distance of 60 feet.


Broken Specimen Jars and Lids

Natural History Museum, London: there are small pieces of this broken glass, some with labels on plus odd bits of newspaper (readable) from the same age. Well worth investigating.

Location: In the far left hand series.


A piece of chain hanging on the wall. It was good to see this again as it is markers like this that assist one round the mine.

Location: in the central area.


In one area near the airshaft a large amount of calcite flowstone straws and cave pears exist in good condition. Chalk is above the upper green sandstone, hence the calcite.

There are many more features to record, the little cut outs in the walls where miners stored their lunch and candles, the various pit props, steel doors and electrical wiring system etc..

The quarry or mine is certainly well worth a visit, it is good for photography especially in black and white which records atmosphere. Those lovely long rows of walls and passages, especially the neat rows of deads (walls of waste material).

When the mine was eventually locked in the 70's we used to visit Mr James Gardner (Senior) in Caterham to collect the key and had a wonderful time over tea, listening to his stories of the times of the miners told to him by the then retired miners in Caterham. We have a lot to thank him for as he managed to hold the keys to Carthorse and Godstone and allowed us to have access.

Access was withdrawn in the 80's and allowed again in the 90's - lets keep it that way. Thanks to I W Fry the owner.

Ron Smith

For further reading

"Cave & Quarry" Annual Research and Activity Report of the Wealden Cave and Mine Society for 1991, Issue 1.
Carthorse Quarry Godstone Survey and Site Investigation by Peter Burgess.

Thanks must also go to Harry Pearman and members of Chelsea Speleological Group whose publications of secret tunnels in Surrey, Kent etc. Started the interest in the local mines and caving.

The following Clubs and Groups were involved:

Caterham Caving Club

No longer Exists

Croydon Caving Club


Unit Two

now Wealden Cave and Mine Society

Westminster Speleological Group


Kent & Surrey Caving Club


Mid Sussex Club

} Formed Unit Two

Border Caving Club

Formed SECRO

East Sussex Cavers (Roy Harding)

Now sadly gone

Victoria Caving Club

Still exist

and various Scout groups around London


Names that come to light Dennis Musto, John Folding of Merstham Mines fame, The Quarry Dean Farm Group (before the motorway) I often met Bob Campbell who surveyed Quarry Dean Mine.

There are a lot more people we owe our thanks to, I expect they will be pleased that the work and enjoyment continues.

Ron Smith