The Rock Crusher

An area of the old quarry off the North Road in Ards now accommodates the Council "Amenity Centre" ( a.k.a the recycling centre and the bin lorry depot ) but scattered around the site can still be seen some ironmongery that hint at the previous occupancy, a mineral rock-crushing facility.

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I found this segment of an OS map from the 1970s. it must be from well after 1969 as the Glen Estate is complete, but another part of the map is stamped 1980 in connection with a planning application.

To the right of the quarry, the long path passing to the NE of the "Builder's Yard" is Patchy's Lane, which still exists.

Over on the right is the windmill stump where I used to play when my mum was visiting a friend at Londonderry Road. There was a decaying hull of a wooden speedboat beached nearby, I think it was red and white. It fascinated me.

The crusher today

The quarry area was known as Dempster's Farm, presumably in reference to an even early form of land use. Here's the crusher layout:

Here is the derelict crusher today, perched on the hillside with two concrete walls projecting NW. It is marked in orange on the map extract below.

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Looking into the "maw" of the crusher. Rocks may have entered from the left of this photo, about half-way back into the maw, and emerged towards the viewer on two conveyors.

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This building, marked in green on the extract, seems to have had a metal chute extending outwards. I will have to take another walk and explore the area up behind it; from this satellite view it seems that there was a curving road from quarry-level up to above this building; perhaps it was loaded by lorries?

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Operator

For at least some part of its history the quarry was operated by Irish Roads ( Belfast ) Ltd. See bottom-right notice here.

Companies House has no record of such a company, but this suggests that the company was voluntarily wound-up in 1972. It appears to have been a rather prolonged experience as it was still being reviewed in 1977!

I found an apparent parent company in the South, which was dissolved at an unstated date.