Forthcoming Members Events

ALL EVENTS START AT THE ASSAY HOUSE AT THE SMELTING  MILL – unless another location is given.  For Information – 01388527532. You must have a BCA membership card  ( and bring it with you – if not a NMCS member).

SAFETY: NMCS provides gloves and safety helmets for outdoor work. You must provide your own safety footwear if you are planning to be involved in any work where your feet may be vulnerable to injury.

Wednesday 23rd January – Site Working Day  

Work programme to be agreed.  Likely to be very cold on site – freezing temperatures are forecast.

NB: The project at Thompsons Level has been suspended over the winter months – we hope to have some published dates shortly for this project.

Wednesdays throughout the year – unless shown as cancelled on this page – site working days.


Updated 21st January 2019:  Watch this page for new dates.

Book review – The Archaeology of Underground Mines and Quarries in England

The Archaeology of Underground Mines and Quarries in England

Author: John Barnatt.  Photographs by Paul Deakin and others.

Historic England, Swindon. 2019.  ISBN 978-1-84802-381-9.

136 pages. 222mm x 275mm page size. Text, maps and many colour images.

Price £30.00

Members of NMCS can receive a 20% discount and free p&p by entering discount code AUMQ19 on the basket page of the Historic England bookshop https://retail.historicenglandservices.org.uk/index.html

This book presents a detailed introduction to the underground mining and quarrying heritage in England. It reviews the many types of mineral and stone taken from the ground and looks at the archaeological remains that survive today and are accessible to those who go underground.

It is designed to illustrate the wonders to be found underground and give the reader ways forward should they wish to follow up their interest.

John Barnatt is an archaeologist with a long record of work on mining, particularly in Derbyshire. Part one of the book is an introduction to Mining and Quarrying and is followed by chapters on the products of mining and quarrying and the regional variations.   Part two describes the common themes and the local diversity.

John states that one primary aim of producing the book was “to inform people wanting to do their own archaeological investigations underground” and to provide a starting point for the inexperienced.

Almost every page has coloured photographs and maps of underground features and the book is a visual pleasure for the reader. The photographs are very well chosen and provide an excellent visual summary of mines in England.  There is a short section covering access and  organisations that operate within England. 

Inevitably there are minor statements and captions that the reader might consider worthy of revision, but to fulfil the primary aim of informing people this book fulfils that aim.  The book does not aim to be a gazetteer, nor is it an access guide, and it cannot cover all the details of history and technology that underpin the mining and underground quarrying industries.

Apart from the sheer personal pleasure of browsing the pictures, I can see that this book will be an excellent tool to show  a mine owning landowner, a local government planning department and to encourage experienced explorers to start recording the features that they walk past every weekend. It will also be a brilliant tool to encourage new people to getting involved in mining archaeology. 

Peter Jackson

Memorian Jake Almond

Jake Almond – a memory.

Dr J K Almond (Jake) died on 13th December 2018. Jake was a Trustee of the North Pennines Heritage Trust, mineral processing engineer, writer about fluorspar and zinc mining, researcher and writer of the history of lead smelting, who cared about the heritage of UK mining.

He was a long time contributor to the work of the Cleveland Industrial Archaeology Society, Historical Metallurgy Society, Association for Industrial Archaeology and the Open University.

Here he is at the opening of the Nenthead Smelting Mill bridge in June 2008 , when he formally opened the bridge and launched his guide to the smelting mill

Jake Almond, 13 June 2008, Nenthead smelting mill

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Art Installation at Nenthead Mines?

Wednesday 14th November 2018.

Today we wrapped up the concrete compressor beds to give them winter frost protection. The concrete is being damaged by the winter frosts and this is an interim solution until were can design a better method. The sandbags were filled with gravel that has washed onto the site during heavy rainfall, so we are recycling waste materials into something more useful.

Site Diary Updated 19th October 2018

Wednesday 17th October was a different day. We took detailed measurements of POW fencing because we are considering using the metal sections to replace the existing wood fence around the smelting mill. The measurements showed that the fence could be replaced from the Assay House corner to the gate just past the compressor concrete bases.

The bent handrail at Carrs Mine exit was also measured in order to produce the replacement handrail. Nearby, the river bed waterfall plunge poll was  cleared of boulders and the roadside culverts checked. Both had been affected by recent heavy rains.

The redundant gate from P.O.W. was removed, modified and installed at the south end of the smelt mill footbridge – now possible to take visitors into south side of the mill site.

The gatekeeper mine wagon was given another coat of yellow paint, and the switching arrangements for the Stagg condenser model were changed to make more them accessible.

We also provided a Carrs Mine tour for six visitors, two of whom went on to have an afternoon Ballroom trip.

The Allendale bargain book was also finally photocopied ( at Alston Library) so that the book could be transcribed in full.

Gate on the smelt mill footbridge

Thompsons Level

Slow progress continues here. Temporary steel supports in the roof fall are advancing. The recent heavy rains have shifted more of the shaft fill and filled up the excavated area. The next dig session will be on 21st October.

Carrs Mine Trips and Open Days – from our all-volunteer team

MINES AND CAKES

You can take an underground tour of Carrs Mine, see our displays of minerals, mining equipment and historic photographs. Then round your visit off with tea, coffee and homemade cakes. We also offer a visit to the top of the Brewery Shaft where you can stand on the platform above the 100 metres drop.


CARRS MINE TRIPS AND SITE OPEN DAYS IN 2018

We have now completed our programme for 2018. Our 2019 Opening Days will be posted here. We are closed for Mine Trips from November through to March. You are welcome to visit us on site on Wednesdays when our volunteer team may be working on maintenance.

Our mine trips take about 90 minutes. We provide lamps and helmets. We recommend that you wear outdoor clothing and footwear. The mine is usually dry underfoot. We welcome all children who can walk and climb stairs – we don’t take babes in arms underground.

We recommend booking in advance to get a mine trip – Call 07519836019 or email admin@nentheadmines.com to book your place.

You can just turn up on the day – we often have places available. Check by phoning 07519836019.

Donations for Visits

We ask for a donation of £5 per person. We are a cash or cheques operation.

All your donations go towards the conservation of the Nenthead Mines site. We are an All-Volunteer operation.


GROUP BOOKINGS

The Society can also arrange custom group visits to Carrs Tourist Mine throughout the year.  (We are closed from November through to March).

A  minimum of eight people is needed to confirm a booking for a custom visit, subject to a volunteer guide being available.   To discuss a date, please either send us an email –  admin@nentheadmines.com or phone 07519836019 . We usually need two weeks notice of your proposed date.


HOW TO GET TO NENTHEAD MINES

We are at Nenthead, near Alston, in Cumbria. The postcode for our site entrance road is CA9 3NR.  Click on the map for a larger view. Follow the brown tourist signs from the A689, do not stop in the first car park – follow the trackway alongside the river.

 

How to Join the Society – we need your help!

The Nenthead Mines Conservation Society is a volunteer charity which cares for, manages and maintains this historic site. Most of the site is owned by Cumbria County Council and is operated on their behalf by the  Society. We need your help to look after this wonderful valley.

How does the Society operate?

We are a voluntary charitable incorporated organisation ( number 1166281) that raises money to maintain and look after the valley. A copy of the Governing document is here: NMCS Governing Document.

HOW CAN I JOIN THE SOCIETY?

Follow the link below to join the Society online, or choose another method.

Join the Society online→

Ask for a copy of the Application form to be sent to you:   send a self addressed stamped envelope to: NMCS, c/o 14 Kirk Rise, Frosterley, Bishop Auckland, DL13 2SF. UK

Visit us on Open Days:  if you want to know more, come and visit on an Open Day or on one of our Members Working Days.

GIFT AID

You can gift aid donations to the Society. The gift aid form can be downloaded from here: Charity Gift Aid Declaration