Lead Mining in the Derwent Valley

British Mining No 70 – Lead Mining in the Derwent Valley

By W.K. Pirt & J.M. Dodds

This monograph traces the fascinating history of lead mining in the Blanchland, Edmondbyers and Healeyfield areas of the Derwent valley from mediæval workings through to the end of the industry in the 20th century. Regarded as silver producers in the 15th century, these mines were subsequently worked for lead ore in intermittent periods throughout the next 500 years.

Successive mine operators failed to provide adequate capital investment and heavy financial losses caused by the high cost of mining and maintenance eventually led to the final collapse of the Derwent lead industry in 1883. By 1893, however, some mines were able to reopen to extract fluorspar, an abundant gangue mineral in the area, for use as a flux in steelmaking. This revival, apart from a few short periods of inactivity, continued until permanent closure in 1986.

From their research, the authors have been able to discover a significant amount of historical information and they describe the complex interaction between the mineral owners, the lessees and mining companies in considerable detail. Many of the prominent names in British mining history were involved in the Derwent mining district, including John Taylor, Westgarth Forster and the London Lead Company.

The story is made more complete by the inclusion of chapters describing local mining processes, smelting, transport and general social aspects. The volume is well illustrated with 44 figures and 57 black and white photographs.

The printed version of this book is now OUT OF PRINT
However it is now available as a PDF to download from this site, for use on computers and tablets.

A5 165pp, 57 photo’s, 44 figs
ISBN 0 901450 55 3

Look Inside to see some sample pages including the table of contents.