Site Work report 10 February 2019

During the early days of February, work has continued on site, despite the cold and wet weather. The Drying Room construction has continued and work has started on the Stamp Mill site.

First day of work on the Drying Room – the floor joists are laid on the damp proof course

Drainage pipe being installed in the Stamp Mill trench. This pipe is laid as a contingency, just in case the site floods in future. We have given the site a new name to reflect the fact that the Power of Water structure will be demolished this year.

Checking the alignment of the drainage pipe

Colin arranging the outflow end of the pipe. The pipe was later lengthened to bypass the pond, which will soon be filled with rubble.

Allan demonstrating the use of a tape measure. The Drying Room has wall panels of plywood, with an inner insulation layer.

Looking from the site of the lobby to the entrance door to the Drying Room


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.

Mid July Site report up to 18th July

Recent hot weather has slowed down our work programme, but we have achieved some objectives. Here is a summary from 27th June to 18th July.

Conserving the EIMCO loader and a mine wagon:  both items have been coated with rust preventing chemicals and the loader has been partly undercoated. Audrey has been responsible for most of this work.

Rewiring the Barracks: the upstairs ring main and the boiler main have been installed and are working. Thanks to Colin for this task.

Lighting the Display Cabinets: Andy and Anne have built custom led lights for most of the display cabinets, and have almost completed this task.

Repairing the Dowgang footpath fence: ChrisB, Alec, Graham, Martyn and Rosemary have rehung the gate and started on fixing the fence across the burn. Erica, who lives nearby, has donated a length of mesh for the fence repair.

Arch repairs in Carrs Mine: The floor level arch for the old lower adit has been walled by Jim.

Stagg Wheelpit: Sheila has logged the vegetation within the safety fence, and has done a first draft of the SMC application for conservation work on the timbers.

Building signs and Noticeboards:  Repainted in a new shade of green, by Rachel, Nicola, Sheila and Joyce.

Stray fridge; that had been dumped in Dowgang Hush recovered and recycled by ChrisB and Graham.

Thompson’s Level: old shaft top fence repaired, level entrance cleared of vegetation, rails covered with ply, and the dump bund rebuilt. Leif, Allan, Greg, ChrisC, Nick, Rosemary and Joyce were all involved. ChrisC repaired the gate by welding.

Archive: a start made with the Coldberry pay sheets by Margaret.

Carrs Shop and Barracks Windows: have had some white paint recoated by Pete and Graham.

We have also had visits from the Nenthead Chapel team, and the pupils from Nenthead School.


Site Report 23 February

Since our last report, we have made slow progress on site.  Snow has prevented access both to Nenthead and the site. An expected delivery of wood on 13th February was cancelled because the roads around Alston were impassable in places. The wood eventually arrived on the 16th.

The wood delivery includes a joist and floor boarding for The Barracks. Work on the 10th and 11th had revealed wet and dry rot in a floor joist. The affected timber was removed together with large areas of the ground floor ceiling and internal plasterboard walls. All this demolition created a mess of broken plasterboard and timber which was eventually stacked outside to await the arrival of a rubbish skip. Chris Chilton, Rachel Chilton, Will Barron,  Sandra Hall, Pete Jackson,Allan Richardson, Steve Bentley, and Rosemary Vidler were the team.

The skip arrived for Wednesday 21st but had to be left near to Rampgill Level because the skip wagon could not get traction on the icy road. Martyn Langley later dragged the skip onto the site using his Land Rover.

On the  21st, the new joist was cut to size by Alec Langley and Chris Battersby and made ready for installation. Audrey Battersby cleared the ground floor mess and with Mark Hatton and Joyce Jackson worked to fill the skip with the demolition material. Colin Wilkinson was checking and rearranging the wiring in The Barracks. Sheila Barker and Anne Hopkirk tried to work in the Office whilst subject to power cuts. Meanwhile, Andy Hopkirk was discussing drone imagery and mapping with a new visitor, whilst Mark Hatton also introduced  our Eden District Councillor, Lissie Sharp,to the site.


Work Day Report 6th December 2017

Another great day with plenty achieved. Sheila Barker continued the sort of the Eric Richardson collection documents and Audrey Battersby put more paint on the Assay House windows – both of them were snug and warm. Meanwhile…..Anne and Andy Hopkirk completed the sort of the Mineral Specimen collection drawers aided by the gas heater loaned by Chris Chilton. We took the thermometer out of The Barracks so that they would not know how cold it was. Joyce Jackson cleared the mud from the showers and then went to work in the mine.

Alec, Graham and Chris


Down the mine, it was more warm than The Barracks. Colin Agnew, Rosemary Vidler, Graham Brooks, Alec Langley Chris Buckingham, and Chris Battersby removed rotten roof timbers and installed new sections. Joyce Jackson and Martyn Langley came to help later.

Pete Jackson gave a conducted tour of the mine to PCSO Tony Labram and had a useful discussion about recent burglaries on our site. Colin Wilkinson installed a replacement outside light at The Barracks.

Graham and Alec

Colin A, Rosemary, Martyn and Joyce

Old and new timber and Wagon No 1

New timbers

8th and 15th November reporting, and the Art Group Visit on 12th November.

8th and 15th November Wednesday Work days.

Most of the year we can ignore our location high on the Pennine hills, until we are reminded in November when the temperature falls and the snow starts. The snow fell on the 8th and melted, but the outside temperature fell to 2C by the 15th.  On the 15th, we worked in a balmy 7C in Carrs mine, checking timber, surveying and doing a little exploring. Jim, Graham, Chris and Pete were in the mine today.

We are going to replace a fair amount of the entrance crosscut timbering over the winter and clean off some of the loose rock.

Meanwhile Audrey was very carefully painting windows inside the Assay House.The windows look better than they have for years – a very neat job completed.

Andy, Anne and Pete sorted through mineral specimens to remove the poorer quality specimens from our collection. Standing still in a cold Barracks building makes one think a lot faster and harder – it was colder inside than out in the yard!

The archive and computer team have sorted, checked and verified. We now have two back-up discs, one of which is taken off site after every Wednesday. Sheila, Anne and Joyce have been systematically checking through our systems.

Colin and Chris have also installed a new extraction system for the Assay House showers and Audrey has primed the woodwork.

ART GROUP VISIT 12th November  –  East Durham Artists Network

We hosted a visit from the EDAN team who wanted to visit a mine. Some of the members are former miners and some are new to underground. They have a good Facebook page and you can read more about their visit.

Thanks to Chris, Will, Frank and Charley who hosted this group.




Paper, rocks, scissors.

Wednesday 1st November work day was a quiet affair.  Anne, Andy and Pete viewed sections of the mineral collection with a view to reducing the number of examples that we hold.  Martyn repaired Middlecleugh Mine shop door which had been damaged by an attempted break-in. Sheila and Joyce sorted through our stocks of books in The Barracks.  Graham and Colin constructed air extraction ducting for the Assay House showers. Martyn cut up paper to produce scale drawings of the kitchen with different layouts.

Thanks to all our team for the volunteer work today.

Autumn Days at Nenthead – 18th October 2017

A Misty morning turned to blue sky at times, with a cool south east wind. The volunteer team covered a wide range of tasks today.

Dave  walked the site checking a footpath map and then did the whole tour again to check timings and directions.  We lost him in the mist from time to time but he reappeared for lunch and afternoon tea.

Anne, Karen, Sheila and Joyce spent the day in the warmth of the archive office debating spreadsheets and archiving. We are promised an on-line offering sometime soon.

Alec, Chris, Colin and Andrew, Audrey and Janet cut up scrap metal and moved it to the skip. They also collected some Arris fencing from Bernard and installed next to The Barracks.

Audrey painted the Brewery shaft pipework and then Colin and Audrey went off to count trees in the woods….

Andy completed his marathon task of photographing all our specimen collection.

Chris and Alec drilled new holes for the Grumpy Miners. They became grumpy themselves when the drill also decided to get grumpy.  Andrew and Janet dredged gravel out of the Carrs Mine drain, whilst Pete packed the fluorspar specimens for movement out of the mine.

Pete and John toured the east site boundary looking for gaps in the fences.


NOTE:  plans for future Working Wednesdays will normally now be published on the preceding Monday evening, on this website and the Facebook page. We will also setup an email notification list – send an email to if you want to be on the list.