NOT just the wrong quarry, but the wrong dale and the wrong occupation and, indeed, the wrong rock formation.

“The geology is all wrong,” said Roger Redfearn, of Barnard Castle. “If you look at the limestone of Weardale, it is in bands, but in your picture the cracks are up and down.”

Last week, we thought we had a picture of a Weardale limestone quarry with wooden cabins to protect the quarrymen when there was explosive firing on the face.

The Northern Echo: BLAST PROOF: The shelters in a Weardale quarry, probably Ashes, run by the Ord and Maddison firm

RIGHT DALE: Settmakers cabins in Crossthwaite quarry in Middleton-in-Teesdale

But in fact our picture showed a Teesdale whinstone quarry with the cabins used to protect settmakers from the elements. As one of our correspondents pointed out, you wouldn’t want to be in a flimsy timber shack when dynamite was flinging large pieces of stone from the quarryface – it was, literally, a no-brainer to clear the whole quarry floor before exploding.

Our picture is of either Crossthwaite or Park End quarry – a pair of neighbouring workings on the road from Middleton-in-Teesdale up to Holwick. Crossthwaite was the larger, and in the 1920s employed nearly 150 men.

The quarries, like the ones in Weardale, were operated by the Darlington firm of Ord & Maddison and they were connected to the passenger terminus of the Tees Valley Railway terminus at Middleton.

Because whinstone is so hard, it was used to make setts – brick-shaped blocks that cobbled roads.

“My father, Jack Tarn, worked at Crossthwaite,” said Maurice Tarn of Middleton-in-Teesdale. “The settmakers all had little cabins, and you can see the spoilheaps of the chippings which they knocked off behind the cabins.”

The men at the quarryface were called mellers because they wielded hugely heavy – up to 20lb – hammers to get the whinstone into movable blocks.

“When I was young, and I’m 81 now, I remember the men who used the hammers had muscles on their wrists that were colossal,” said Roger.

The blocks were taken to the cabins where the settmakers chipped at them with a scabbling hammer (10lbs) and then a lighter hammer – a tiffler – to get them down to road-making dimensions.

“Crossthwaite had the hardest whinstone in the country,” said Maurice.

“The Westminster Bank bought the whinstone dust to make concrete for its bank vaults.”