Buddle house

The Buddle House was built in 1876-78 as part of Park Level Mill. It contained four buddles, which are circular structures used to exrtract  particles of lead ore from waste leaving the adjacent jigger house. They are like large upturned saucers.  A slurry of fine bouse (waste), was fed onto the high part and revolving brushes distributed this evenly around the whole ‘saucer’. The heavier ore settled out first, in the deeper part of the buddle, while the lighter waste was carried towards the edge or centre. When the buddle was full the ore-rich material would be dug out with shovels by hand and taken away in wheel barrows for further processing, whereas the waste would be put back at the start of the process so every last bit of lead ore was removed. Nothing was wasted at Killhope! 

It was believed the Killhope buddles were mainly timber, and it had been generally assumed that they had been dismantled or had simply rotted away following abandonment of the Buddle House. However, the results of the AA excavations surprised everyone, as substantial remains of buddles and other structures survived buried under the floor. In the southern part of the building, the remains of two buddles were found substantially intact. One was carefully lifted and will be reconstructed and displayed in the new exhibition building; the other was carefully recorded and reburied.  From the remnants found during the excavation it seems the first one excavated (bottom left) was a convex unit and from other traces that where uncovered including a drainage channel suggesting it was a concave unit with the outlet near the centre. I have overlaid the four buddles onto the excavated areas and adjusted their sizes to fit between the drainage channels in the floor and positioned them over other items excavated. 

 There seems to have been two types of buddle - concave and convex. A concave buddle slopes towards the centre and the convex one  towards the outside. The drawings of the buddles below are based on photographs and drawings from the mid 1800’s and from the South African mines during the 1900’s

Concave buddle. Bouse runs to the centre to the distribution pot, then back along the chutes to the outside where it discharges. There is a central circular weir that can be raised to adjust liquid level

Convex buddle. Bouse runs down to the central distribution cone.  At one side is a removable gate that has a vertical row of holes in it these are plugged off to raise the liquid level as the buddle fills with solids


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