Peak District Mines Historical Society
Promoting and preserving mining heritage
(Registered charity No. 504662)

Introducing the Peak District Mines Historical Society

The Peak District Mines Historical Society was formed at a meeting held at Sheffield University on the 14th of February 1959 by a group of interested geologists at the University.

In 1976 a massive operation at Wills Founder Shaft, Winster, resulted in the recovery of a unique water pressure engine. This led directly to the opening of the Peak District Lead Mining Museum at Matlock Bath, where the engine is displayed along with many other artefacts and historical displays.

The Museum provides an interactive educational facility for all ages and visitors can also undertake a guided tour into the old fluorspar workings at Temple Mine, just across the road from the Museum and owned and managed by the Society. The impressive Pump Room is the primary venue for the Society's winter series of lectures, slide shows and video presentations which are generally very well attended.

Early in its history the Society acquired a lease of the surface remains at Magpie Mine, Sheldon. Over the last 40 years much effort, both in time and money, has gone into the preservation of the site. OurField Centre is located in the old Agent's Cottage and is available for use by members and their guests for a nominal fee.

Since its inception the Society has published a bi-annual Bulletin. This has grown into one of the leading journals of mining history, and circulates throughout the world.

Groups of members from within the Society are involved in a number of active projects, such as the Crich Lead Mining Display at the National Tramway Museum, conservation and archaeology work at High Rake (completed in 2008) and the recently-completed archaeological excavation and conservation programme at Silence Mine amongst others.

The Society also arranges regular underground meets, training sessions and mining history walks as well as hosting a series of winter lectures, slide shows and video presentations. There is always a calendar of current events to interest both the serious mine historian or researcher and the active underground explorer.

Having recently celebrated its 50th birthday, the Society has a large and thriving membership of both active and academic members, who are working together both above and below ground to record, preserve, explore and document the mines and mining history of the Peak District. 

Mining and Archaeology Walk - Rainster Rocks, near Brassington

  • Dates: 23 – 23 May, 2017
  • Contact: Chris James
  • Email: meets@pdmhs.com
  • Phone: 01246 208656

Leaders: Richard Finnigan and Chris James.

No prior booking required - all welcome. Meet at 7.00pm in the lay-by at the sharp corner on Pasture Lane where the Limestone Way leaves the road (grid ref: SK222544).

A short walk of no more than 2 miles around a little-known outcrop of dolomitic limestone which will involve one reasonably steep slope (down Rainster Rocks themselves). It should be fairly easy walking, and well drained, but watch out for the nettles, which are notoriously vicious here! We will be walking over sheep pasture, so dogs must be kept on leads.

We will be looking at lead mining remains including the Throstle Nest Datestone (dated 1760) next to an old mine shaft, and some opencast workings with a possible buddle. We will also look at the extensive medieval ridge and furrow remains, and the site of the Romano-British settlement (which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument) - including orthostatic field walls, terraces and house platforms. A lovely area which is at its best when the hawthorn is in blossom!

Optional drink in Brassington afterwards.