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Great Britain Mouldridge Lead Mine, Derbyshire, September 2021

Hughie

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1. The History
Mouldridge Mine is situated in Grattondale, near Pikehall, Derbyshire. It is believed to have taken its name from Mole Ridge. The small-scale working was mined for lead and began life as a number of separate workings and shafts, run by small groups of miners. The earliest workings were bell pits where miners drive down vertically then follow a vein until it becomes unsafe. They then start a new pit nearby. The workings were known as Mouldridge, Old Mouldridge, West Mouldridge, Harehole and Butchers Venture and were amalgamated into Mouldridge. In the late 1700s Mouldridge rake was regularly turning up substantial amounts of ore and smitham (small lumps of ore free from payment of lot and cope duties). Multiple titles were worked and right up until 1848 the Stanley family who had been re-working the mine and bringing up a reasonable amount of ore. Even better times were to come, though, as the Stanley’s raised 2,559 dishes of ore between 1848 and 1872. More changes of ownership ensued and operations ceased in the mine in 1884 when the mine closed

Overall site map of Mouldridge mine:



Legend: C = capped shaft, E = trial adit entrance, I = deep capped shaft, J = capped driving shaft, K = capped climbing shaft, L = capped shaft, M = capped shaft, N = possible collapsed adit, P = gated main adit entrance, Q = capped shaft, R = remains of coe , S = location of coe (no remains) , T = traces of collapsed adit.

It then remained closed until 1926 when the mine was taken over by a partnership of three workers, Wood, Bosley and Dawson, from the local brickworks. With little experience between them, the rooky miners worked it part time for 'pocket money.' Circa 1938 the partners were offered £2/10/0d to sell the mine but refused. Two of them were running the mine in 1940 but came into conflict with the local farmer complaining about the open shafts. After the war in 1948, one of the owner’s sons, Alan Wood, met an experienced miner in the navy and decided to form a new partnership with a lorry driver who’d won £2,000 on football pools. A Lister gas engine was purchased and converted to paraffin and installed in the mine along with various crushers and jigs along with compressors, air lines and a water pump.

Cross-section of mine’s main passage:



Work was predominantly carried on in the lower levels but unfortunately the partnership didn't last long. The water supply froze in winter, and it was too expensive to bring in from elsewhere, so the mine was then abandoned in 1949, with all the machinery left in situ. In 1952 the mine, still derelict, it was bought by Joe Garlick and three of his friends who worked at Eldon Quarry up near Castleton. They worked it for two years without the barmasters knowledge so the ore was never measured. The mine then became derelict. In 1964 the mine was visited by Stan Gee who decided he wanted to turn it into a musuem Shafts were made safe, and the mine was gated but when one of the owners died interest waned and it was sold to a mining company in 1974. There appears to have been little in the way of mining subsequent to that date and today, the mine is under the care of the Peak District Mines Historical Society (PDMHS).

Detailed map of main mine’s workings:



2. The Explore
Not so many past reports on this place. Surprising given it’s easy to find and enter and it is a gem of a mine. It’s a great place to spend an hour or two in. The adit soon opens out into a large chamber with a number of off-shoots to explore. There’s lovely mineralisation in places, precarious stacks of deads and some coffin-like inter-connecting passages. There’s also a lower level that we didn’t get time to explore so taken by the first chamber we were. So, a revisit is definitely in order here. It’s a pretty straight forward place to navigate, in the main mainly dry and as long as you pay attention to the odd shaft, relatively safe.

3. The Pictures

The miner’s track wends its way down the valley to the mine:



The gated entrance:



Some sort of ore carrier?





Entrance into the cavern:





One of the many dead ends of the chamber:



Nice bit of mineralisation:



Some old rusty bits’n’bobs:





And some baby stalagmites:



And loads of deads:



Looks a mucky squeeze in there:



And there:





Stunning part of the mine:







The main drive continues after the initial chamber:



Rotting timber roof supports:



And more stacked-up deads:





Into another smaller chamber:





Starting to get a bit rough here:



End of the road:



Thank you Mouldridge mine!





 
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