On a bright sunny January Sunday a small group of Bonsallites headed out of the frost and sun and into the darker recesses of the Peak District Mining Museum http://www.peakmines.co.uk at Matlock Bath to investigate our mining past. We were treated to a guided tour of the museum but the Temple Mine was closed because of the record amounts of rainfall recently.
Our guide gave us a quirky but interesting take on why our area is so rich in minerals and the various ways people have managed to get them out of the ground. With smaller mines like those on Bonsall Moor it was often a family affair – men down the mine getting the ore, women on top smashing the rock and washing the ore and sometimes the kids on top helping to pump water out or to ventilate the shafts.
As we progressed through the curious and interesting displays of mining history – from the Romans to the modern day – the kids disappeared into the rest of the museum to press buttons, turn handles and discuss the finer points of Toadstone (!).
Getting water out of the mine so you can get at the minerals was a big problem.Here’s one way of dealing with it. A hollow tree with a continuous rope passed through it with attached leather discs working out of a sump (a depression in the base of the mine to collect water). See video below.
It was fun and very informative – giving us a reminder of how very difficult it was for our forbears to make a living from beneath the ground.
Look forward to our next outing – The Black Country Museum on 2nd Feb. See you there – book by calling Karen on 07903 092276.