Killhope - The North of Englands Lead mining museum

Originally it was a working mine and at one time during the 1870’s it was one of the ten richest mines in Britain. It contained a series of very productive seams containing Galena which is an ore containing lead. A new mine was started in the 1850’s A hundred years later the site was derelict, overgrown, robbed of its equipment and machinery, with only the massive waterwheel standing defiant as a proud monument to a vanished industry.

The Durham County council took possession during the mid 1980’s. They restored the site with various grants into what is now a multi award winning  visitor centre. It was an interesting exercise for me and at this time I was unaware of the machinery’s connection to Wales and George Green who owned the Cambrian foundry in Aberystwyth and supplied his patented Jiggers and Trommels etc world wide and it also involved me learning many new names and phrases. The original mine being in the middle of the Durham Dales was operated entirely by water power including the underground pumping station. Above ground there are three other water wheels used to drive the machinery and filtering devices. My drawings principally cover the areas that used the water wheels as well as a couple of drawings of the washing floor which has some interesting hand operated devices.

The drawings have evolved into 7 pages of details and there are many more drawings not shown. I hope you find them interesting and informative. Click on the thumbnail and it will open that page. These drawings,  as all of my drawings have been prepared for my own interest so everything is done in good faith but nothing guaranteed to be absolutely ‘as was’ although I have done my best. If you can offer any guidance or information to improve the content please let me know via my contact details

The underground wheel, refered to as a Hydraulic Engine

The washing floor is the start of the separation process once the ore leaves the mine

The Killhope wheel, 10m - 35’ diameter and manufactured by W.G.Armstrong in Newcastle in 1856

The Crusher station - I’m still looking for accurate information on this and the winding platform, can you help?

The Buddle house wheel was cast in the Bridgend foundry in Cardigan.

There appears to be some doubt if the term Brunton Buddles is the correct name or if Brunton belts would be more appropriate?

The Jigger House and Trommels all the equipment probably procured from George Green who owned the Cambrian Foundry in Aberystwyth, Wales

During the preparation of these drawings I have come across so much information about Killhope it is difficult to cover even a fraction of the history of the mine, the stories of the miners and the whole of the Weardale district, it has been incredibly interesting and has opened up another avenue on the use of water power for me. Without the help of the Museum staff and the aid of all the information from the Durham County Council publications from the museum and their web sites, The Report on Architectural Evaluation Nov.2012 of the buddle house by the Archeological Practice Ltd. The Bulletin of the Peak District Mines Historical Society vol 9 no 5 summer1986 journal on the Washing Floor, The Machinery for Metalliferous Mines by E.H.Davies 1902 and the most important work of all the books and reports written by Ian Forbes during the period around 1986. where invaluable

When we visited the museum to carry out the survey in March 2014 we stayed in Cowshill at the Calfhouse B&B. Excellent Rooms and a Subtantial breakfast

contact Mrs. S.Tallentire by phoning 01388 537 590. or click on the banner above for their website

The Calfhouse,
Co. Durham,
DL13 1JQ



This map is from Durham County Councils book  Lead & Life at Killhope and will be replaced by a more legible map shortly

To visit the Killhope Lead Mining Museums web site click on the map. Remember to come back please

Their contact details

Telephone 01388 537 505
 The North of England Lead Mining Museum
Near Cowshill
Upper Weardale
County Durham
DL13 1AR