The Museum of Yorkshire Dales Lead Mining was opened on the 22nd May 1971 and holds the largest lead mining collection in the country with over 800 items on show. The origin of the museum in itself is interesting. The story begins just over 50 years ago when a group of potholers decided to preserve in some way the Dales lead mining history. No doubt this was prompted by their collecting unique artifacts during the potholing sessions!
Check out www.yorkshiredalesminingmuseum.com for more details.
Just over 25 years ago the potholers formed the Earby Mines Research Group. During the following years numerous visits to local mining areas such as Grassington were made. Collecting mining artifacts and embarking on conservation projects formed the nucleus of their activities. The group also extended their activities to as far a field as Derbyshire and Cornwall.
With so many artifacts collected, storage was becoming a problem. Luckily, in 1970, the former grammar school was nearing the end of its lease to West Riding County Council who were using it as a base for a clinic and library. Trustees of the building offered it to the group for use as a museum. The collection includes mine tubs, photographs of mine plans, tools, mining machinery, personal belongings and working models.
Successful outdoor projects include: preservation of smelt mill chimneys on Malham Moor, Grassington Moor, and Gibb Hill, Cononley. A Winding shaft has been restored at Bolton Gill, Hebden. Restoration work is being done on the following sites: Engine House and Chimney at Cononley Mine, Horse Whim/Jones Shaft on Grassington Moor.
Part of an original water wheel and ore crushing mill were rescued from a mine at Kettlewell during the early 70's and now stands proudly in the grounds of the museum.