History of Dosthill & Dosthill Quarry, 1066 – 2022

DOSTHILL QUARRY FROM 1066 TO 2022

PADI & Dive In Dosthill Creative Art Festival. Dosthill School have been invited to submit drawings, sketches, crayonings or paintings by the children to be included in a celebration mural to be painted on the side of one of the containers at Dosthill Quarry, or to decorate other wall areas.

Tips from PADI & Ian. The dates and words in bold below indicate around 22 historic events which should be included in the mural or wall art!

You as an individual don’t need to cover every historical topic. Just choose one or two topics that interest you and do a drawing, sketch, crayoning or painting of your chosen topics. Apart from the image of William the Conqueror below,we haven’t posted any other photos on the site to avoid influencing your choice of topic. When you have chosen a topic that interests you we suggest you search the internet for relevant photos that could stimulate some ideas for your drawing, sketch, crayoning or painting e.g. if you choose to do a sketch of freshwater fish, find photos of the fish listed below that are in Dosthill Quarry.

Approximately 490 children will be attending this afternoon’s assemblies, so if you all did just one topic we will publish every one submitted by you to Dosthill School either as part of the container mural, on spare indoor or outdoor wall space, or on a special page for your creative art submissions on our website.

PADI believe the newspaper, radio and TV media in the West Midlands will be very interested in covering this story, so some you may get to see your artwork on TV or in the paper, and Dosthill School will receive some very positive media coverage.

1066. The French Normans won the Battle of Hastings. William the Conqueror invaded England, and his army started working its way to the Midlands. Whever they arrived at a well-populated area the Normans built a chapel nearby, and forced the Anglo Saxons to attend the chapel in order to brainwash them to accept Norman beliefs and methodology.

1086. The Normans arrived at a domed hill on land that is now Dosthill Quarry in Church Road, Dosthill. There were several cottages on the hill with lots of Anglo Saxons living there. The Normans built a chapel nearby which still exists more than 900 years later on Church Road in the graveyard of St Paul’s Church.

How Dosthill got its name. The Normans named the domed hill Dercelai. This was later translated by the Anglo Saxons into Dorsethull. Because the words hull and hill were interchangeable in Anglosaxon language, the hill became Dorsethill and subsequently Dosthill.

1800’s. The hill was removed and excavations started for granite which.is one of the hardest substances in the world. The only material that is harder than granite is a diamond. The hardness of granite makes it durable. Unlike other stone types, granite won’t crumble or break over time.

1917. As granite was removed, the quarry got wider and deeper. A system of railway lines, and rolling stock covered the bottom of the quarry to transport the granite from 90 feet below the surrounding ground level out of the quarry so it could be shipped by road, by the river Tame or canals to wherever it was needed.

1934. The workers were using dynamite to break the granite off the walls of the quarry, but one day they used too much and the dynamite blasted a crack in the earth’s crust hundreds of feet underground! The crack reached an Aquifer – an underground layer of rock that was saturated with fresh water – and this flooded the quarry through a natural spring which has been flowing, non-stop for 88 years.

Dosthill’s Pure & Healthy Water. The groundwater contained in aquifers is one of the most important sources of water on Earth. When the water at Dosthill Quarry was laboratory-tested, the lake was found to be ultra pure fresh water with no harmful nitrates. It contained 500 times less nitrates than the Government’s standards for tap water, and 100 times less nitrates than a bottle of Volvic!

The tests also confirmed the water has 25mg/litre of magnesium, the most important health mineral on the planet for your skin, bones, joints, tissues, muscles and tendons. The skin of open water swimmers is incredibly smooth after their swim in the lake, because magnesium stimulates the natural oils in your body, whereas tap water showers & baths leave your skin dry & rough.

1954. Is the year that recreational scuba diving was launched in the UK by BSAC. Until then, the only diving was by military divers.

1958. Within only 4 years, divers in the West Midlands were diving at Dosthill Quarry which lead to its recognition as the original National Dive Site in the UK.

1978. The governing body of the sport of sub-aqua (scuba) diving, the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) bought Dosthill Quarry as their National Dive Site, the only dive site owned by the BSAC from their formation in 1954 to date.

1988. The owners of the house on the top of the southeast cliff at Dosthill Quarry had their garden privacy regularly intruded by locals, and hundreds of bikers so they sued the BSAC for invasion of their privacy.

The BSAC were found guilty by the Judge, and at the end of the case on the Friday they were fined £32,000 damages, and the Judge required the BSAC to return to court the following Friday when he intended to impose 24 hours a day human and dog patrol security sanctions which would have bankrupted the BSAC.

The BSAC held a National Council meeting on the Saturday which unanimously decided to call Ian Forster (the owner of the second National Dive Site at Gildenburgh Water in Cambridgeshire) on the Monday to see if he would be willing to buy Dosthill Quarry and free the BSAC from the Judge’s intended security sanctions.

When Ian received the call on Monday he immediately drove 100 miles from Gildenburgh Water to Dosthill Quarry, and agreed to purchase Dosthill Quarry.

On the following Thursday, Ian received the deeds of the Quarry by motor bike courier from London, and when the BSAC attended court the following day, the Judge couldn’t impose his intended security sanctions because they didn’t own Dosthill Quarry, and the new owner, Ian Forster, hadn’t done anything wrong.

By Saturday Ian lived inside Dosthill Quarry to prevent any further intrusions, which included stopping 100 bikers from Shewsbury attempting to invade the quarry!

Learning to Dive. As a diving instructor, and subsequently in 1990 a Course Director with the licence to train instructors, Ian set up a diving school at the lake. Between 1988 and 2022, several thousand students learned to dive, and around 100 divers qualified as instructors.

The lake is well populated with fresh water fish including Carp, Eels, Fresh Water Mussels, Perch, Pike, Roach, Rudd, Sturgeons, Sturlett and Tench, many of which can be seen in the reed beds which are rich with underwater life. It is also one of the last remaining sanctuaries for several hundred UK Native White-clawed Crayfish, and is protected by the Environment Agency.

A variety of interesting features and underwater training platforms have been sunk in the lake for divers to visit, photograph, explore, and practice their skills including a 19 Seater Jetstream Aircraft, a Type 42 Frigate Gun Turret, a Gnome Garden, a Decommissioned Missile on its stand, 2 of the Original Railway Lines, a Parcelforce Van, other vehicles, a Cabin Cruiser Boat called Rennaissance, and a 40 feet Shipping Container with wood panelling on the external roof, and various entry & exit points, for divers to experience wreck penetration and reeling techniques. The cliffs surrounding the lake on 3 sides provide invaluable opportunities for wall diving, while divers can also enjoy deep diving to 25 metres due to the quarry excavations for granite.

2022. The world’s leading diver training agency is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).

PADI monitored the successful growth of the dive centre at Dosthill Quarry for 34 years, and were so impressed by the centre’s achievements and support of the PADI system, that on 02 February 2022, PADI awarded Dosthill Quarry’s diving centre the distinguished rating of PADI Five Star Instructor Development Dive Center.

In an email to Ian congratulating the dive centre, renamed Dive In Dosthill, on its achievement, PADI stated “We are proud to be your business partner!”