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Lead mining is mentioned time and again in Town/Village features on this website. So it seems entirely appropriate to cover the three most important places that you should visit to learn more about this fascinating subject. Those places are the Peak District Mining Museum, housed in the Pavilion at Matlock Bath, the Temple Mine close to the museum and the Magpie Mine on the limestone uplands near Sheldon. Both the Peak District Mining Museum and Temple Mine, have been featured elsewhere on this site and can be visited by clicking the link at the foot of this page.

Magpie Mine stands one third of a mile south of the village of Sheldon, from where it can be seen standing darkly silhouetted against the skyline. It is about 1050 feet above sea level. Footpaths approach it both from Sheldon and the Monyash to Ashford-in-the-Water road. Members of the public may visit it for external inspection at any reasonable time.

The mine now receives far more visitors than anticipated in 1962, when the tenancy of the Magpie Mine Cottage was taken over as a Field Centre, by the Peak District Mines Historical Society. There is usually someone present at the mine at weekends to provide visitors with information, and it is open to the public during the Heritage Weekend, in September. Further information regarding the mine may be obtained from the Peak District Mining Museum, telephone number 01629 583834.

Magpie Mine has a recorded history from 1739, but dates back much further and is said locally to be over 300 years old. Protracted troubles broke out in the 1820s and 1830s between the miners of Magpie, Maypitts and Red Soil mines. The dispute revolved around a vein of lead, and at various times the miners broke through into each others workings. Often when this occurred one side would light a fire underground and try to smoke the other out. Tragically, in 1833, three Red Soil miners were suffocated to death by a fire lit by the Magpie miners.

Following a year in prison and a lengthy court case at Derby Assizes, five Magpie miners were acquitted of the charge of murder owing to conflicting evidence and the lack of intent. The three widows of the Red Soil miners reputedly put a curse on the mine and supposedly a ghost was seen there in 1946.

In 1842, there were two deaths at the Magpie Mine and during the next 50 years the mine was dogged by problems caused by flooding and fire. In 1880, the company operating the mine even changed its name to the Magpie Mining Company, probably in the hope of ridding itself of the curse!

After a period of inactivity several attempts were made to revive the mine, the last in the1950s. However, in 1958, the constant battle with flooding and falling prices forced the closure of the mine. It is now scheduled as an ancient monument, and is the most complete example of a lead mine remaining in the Peak District.




The following is a brief summary of what is to be seen at the Peak District Mining Museum and Temple Mine.

At the Museum:- 

At the Mine:-

Climbing Shafts

Discover the underground world of the miner

Hazard Tunnel

Geology and Minerals

Rag and Chain pump

Well-lit and spacious tunnels

Working Models

Mining Equipment

Slide Show

Mineral Panning

Rocks and Minerals




All the images on this page have been kindly supplied by Robin Hall of the Peak District Mining Museum.


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Mining Museum and Temple Mine (Tel. 01629 583834) where you get a very realistic impression of what the conditions used to be like for men who toiled underground. After completing your absorbing tour of the museum you can visit Temple Mine that has been worked since 1922. The museum is open daily throughout the year. Temple Mine is open on a reduced basis in the winter. For more information see the special feature.


National Stone Centre, Wirksworth (Tel. 01629 824833) tells the story of stone, its geological and industrial history. The exhibition inside shows how advanced technology makes use of stone in an incredible number of ways. Outside the visitor centre, the quarry trail takes you back over three million years. Open every day 10-4pm during the winter and 10-5pm in the summer.

Arbor Low Stone Circle this huge stone circle consists of a ring of stones surrounded by a grass bank and a ditch. No one knows for certain if the stones originally stood upright.


What you see at the Magpie Mine are the remains of the Cornish pumping-engine house and chimney, with the headgear of the mine shaft and winding winches. A cottage used as the Field Centre of the Peak District Mines Historical Society, and various other buildings. There is an ore-separating jig, horse-gin circles, crushing circles, tram lines and spoil heaps



The ground floor gives the visitor the feeling of actually being in a mine. Special mining tunnels have been created, where the young and not so young can crawl through to get a feel of what it was like in an old lead mine. The authenticity of the tunnels is such that the Peak Mountain Rescue teams and the  local Fire Brigade use them for training and practice rescues.

Visitors can go up the stairs, or use the lift if they are a wheel chair user, where they can find out what happens to lead ore once it is brought above the ground. They can also look down into the mine shafts and onto the larger displays below. Collections linked to mining and how mining can change the landscape are displayed.

Peak District Mining Museum




Provides a wide range of features  with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.


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A special new sub-section has been added to this website, based on the Discover Derby Supplement, published by the Derby Evening Telegraph during March 2005. The most recent additions are:

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Peak District Mining Museum


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