When Charles Clark and two friends decided to gain access to the east vein of Greenlaws Mine in Weardale they had no idea of the effort which such a venture would require.

Closed for a hundred years, the mine had produced lead during the latter part of the 19th Century and it also yielded fluorite crystals, fascinating in shape and colour, much in demand by collectors. Numerous unsuccessful attempts to open this old vein had been made over the past sixty years and the mine did not yield up it secrets easily.

On re-opening some of the galleries the author found relics of the past which gave an insight into the incredible working conditions which the miners endured. Tallow candles fixed to their helmets provided the only light and crude ladders, pick axes and shovels were their tools. The team were able to explore a small part of the mine leaving many galleries and shafts at a greater depth undisturbed. Despite an unexpected conclusion to their venture the mine provided some impressive specimens of crystals and a contribution to the history of mining in the North East. There is still much to be rediscovered…

Charles Clark’s account greatly adds to the heritage of metal mining in the 19th Century.


Genre: Caving, Leisure, Librario, Non-fiction
Subjects: adventure, Caving, crystal, exploration, Greenlaws, metal, Mining