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Thread: Magpie Mine, Derbyshire, May 2019

  1. #1
    Join Date
    January 2013
    People's Republic of South Yorkshire.

    Default Magpie Mine, Derbyshire, May 2019

    1. The History
    Magpie Mine is just South of Sheldon in the Peak District, Derbyshire. The mine is located on the junction of the Magpie, Bole and the Butts veins, and was only one of several mines exploiting these three veins. The first records of the mine date back to 1795 the workings here probably go back much further than to around the 1740s. It finally ceased operations relatively recently, back in 1958. The 1950s saw little lead mined and a far cry from its heyday in the mid-19th Century.

    The proximity of other mines often led to disputes. Magpie Mine and the Red Soil mine disputed the rights to the Bole Vein on which they both lay. Tragically this led to the death of three miners from the Red Soil Mine in 1833 when they were suffocated underground when miners from Magpie mine lit a fire to try to drive the men out of the opposing mine. Twenty-four Magpie miners were put on trial for murder with three miners then put on trial, only to be acquitted. A ‘Widows' Curse that is said to remain to this day.

    Mining was an up and down business. In the early 1840s the mine was very profitable only to close in 1846 until 1868. John Taylor, the famous Cornish mining engineer, was then brought in to re-open the mine and a large Cornish pumping engine installed in 1869, as water was a problem in the mine. Other innovations he introduced included steel borers, safety hats, safety fuse, and iron winding ropes.

    As the price of lead fell, the costs of pumping the water from the mine made the mine unprofitable. Hence a sough (a drainage tunnel) was built between 1873 and 1881 at a cost of 18,000 (although some reports put it at closer to 35,000). This was no easy task given since the rock was mostly 'toadstone' (a variety of basalt and very hard). The sough enabled the mineshaft to be extended beyond 700 feet, but the mine never returned to profit and closed in 1883. The sough trail can be visited by following the footpath from Kirk Dale along the south bank of the River Wye for about half a mile.

    It was worked again sporadically until 1923, before a limited reopening in the early 1950s before closing again in 1954. Several attempts were made to revive the mine only to be thwarted yet again by flooding, so the mine closed for good in 1958.

    A number of buildings are still intact. The winding gear and engine at the site today date back to the 1950's. The wooden structure set away from the main mine buildings was a horse-drawn gin which was used to draw lead ore to the surface.

    2. The Explore
    Places like this delightful mine are in the grey area – the fall somewhere in between derelict and a tourist attraction. Perhaps ‘managed ruin’ is a good term. We had just called for lunch in the excellent “Cock and Pullet” pub in nearby Sheldon so it seemed rude not to pay this place a visit. It’s a relaxed wander but was very, very windy. A nice was to wend an hour in one of the loveliest spots in Derbyshire.

    3. The Pictures

    The Agent's House and adjacent Smithy, built in the 1840's. The square chimney (right) was built in 1840 to serve a winding engine, of which all trace has now disappeared:

    img5653 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Winding drum on the outside of the engine house:

    img1017bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Steel headgear and cage dating from the 1950's operation:

    img1000 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1002bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1001 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Magpie 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Magpie 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Magpie 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Inside the engine house:

    img1003 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1004 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1005 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1008 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Circular chimney built in 1840 to serve an earlier engine:

    img1009 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1010 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1016 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The circular powder house, built in 1840:

    img1013 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Magpie 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1010 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1012 by HughieDW, on Flickr
    Last edited by HughieD; 30th May 19 at 21:32.

  2. Thanks given by: etc100, Hugh Jorgan, Mearing, Mikeymutt, Newage, psykie, Sabtr, smiler, theartist
  4. #2
    Join Date
    June 2014


    wow thats a blast from the past, one of my first ever reports, nicely done.
    What the hell am I doing, I mean really at my age!

  5. #3
    Join Date
    October 2010
    Lost in Cornwall


    I liked that, decent pics + a bit of history, Nicely Done, Thanks

  6. #4
    Join Date
    October 2013


    That's,really nice mate..some real character to it. Funny enough I was going to pop here Monday coming back from Scotland but run out of time
    I like to go where others fear to tread.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    April 2008


    I've heard of it a million times but never been. Too far and not much going on (I prefer darkness and the underworld!)

    I think it would look good done as night photos too (your pics show some interesting bits)
    Seeing mines makes me want to head below!

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