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Bakewell Mineral Show - 2012

Last Updated: 23rd Oct 2012

By Woody Thompson

The Bakewell Show is held every October in England's scenic Peak District. It's sponsored by the Peak Lapidary & Mineral Society, and located at Lady Manners School on the outskirts of Bakewell village. This is one of the UK's best mineral shows, and I had always wanted to attend it. It's a long haul from our home state of Maine, but Louise and I scheduled our 2012 vacation trip to England to include the show.

Bakewell Show Entrance

Don Edwards (local club member and one of the show dealers) told me that they had about 70 dealers and around 1200 attendees over the weekend, all of whom were "committed collectors". The dealers were set up in two halls and various nooks and crannies just outside the main halls. There was a large crowd all day Saturday, and many people (ourselves included!) were back for more on Sunday.

The line just before the show opened

The Bakewell dealers are friendly and low-pressure. They offer a great variety of specimens, both local and worldwide. The show is an especially good opportunity for collectors of British minerals. In contrast to some of the shows back home, I saw many excellent specimens at modest prices. There is also a nice food concession with delicious meat pies, ginger cake, and other goodies - a welcome change from shows with little besides overpriced hotdogs!

I was on the lookout for specimens from Cornwall, England. Crystal Classics brought their usual pile of flats containing a large selection of these and other minerals from the UK. Mike Merry and Nick Carruth likewise had a lot of classic Cornish material. However, the show is most noteworthy for the abundance of fluorites and other minerals from the more northerly parts of the country.

Peter Ward's showcase

Drygill Mine campylite

The "Weardale Giant"

Peter Ward was set up in the hallway with a fine showcase of minerals and many others, much of which was self-collected. One beast of a specimen, shown above, is a huge plate of fluorite and quartz called the "Weardale Giant". A sign announced that Peter and one of his collecting partners spent nine hours extracting this colossus from the Burtree Pasture Mine in 2011. I would guess that it's about 1 m across!

UK Journal of Mines and Minerals stand

Several dealers were selling mineral and geology publications ranging from antiquarian books to current journals. It was nice to meet David Green and Julie. David is the editor of one of my favorite magazines - the UK Journal of Mines and Minerals.

Peter and Judith Briscoe (Steetley Minerals)

One of the pleasures of attending Bakewell Show was the opportunity to finally meet people in person that I had previously known only through the internet. We had a wonderful visit with Peter and Judith Briscoe from Nottinghamshire, who do business at shows and via their website.

Mike Brooke (Broadstone Minerals)

Mike Brooke of Broadstone Minerals is another long-time internet acquaintance. His stand featured a tempting variety of worldwide minerals. Note the fire extinguisher in the background, in case Mike's customers got too excited!

Mark and Ross Colledge

Deer Hill, Maine, amethyst at the Colledges' stand

Mark Colledge and his son Ross had a stand with attractively displayed minerals from the UK and elsewhere. The excellent specimen of amethyst crystals from Deer Hill in Maine quickly caught my eye. I was surprised when Mark commented that he's brought that specimen to shows for years, and I was the first one in ages to pick it up for a closer look. Grab this one at Mark's next show if you like amethyst and New England classics!

Harry and Christine Critchley

Woody Thompson (left) and Roy Starkey

I hadn't seen Harry and Christine Critchley since they stayed at the Poland Mining Camps for the Maine Pegmatite Workshop. They are active in the Russell Society. Christine is Vice President and has written many informative trip reports for their newsletter. Roy Starkey (President) was also there, along with other Russell Society members and officers. I've enjoyed being a member of this organization for years, taking many "virtual field trips" through their journal and newsletters.

Caldbeck Fells specimens (George and Matthew Wilson)

George and Matthew Wilson specimens

George and Matthew Wilson (North of England Minerals) had a colorful display of fluorites and other minerals. They included fine yellow fluorite clusters from the Hilton and Eastgate Quarries in the Weardale District. I couldn't resist bringing home one of the Eastgate specimens, which Matthew said was collected ca. 2002. The Wilsons also had good material from the Caldbeck Fells, where collecting is now severely restricted.

Byron Blessed (Natural Wonders Ltd.)

I'm not a fossil collector, but occasionally I yield to the guilty pleasure of adding a fossil (or two) to my collection! Byron Blessed had some very reasonably priced UK ammonites. Alas, the nice little ammonite with a bit of its original pearly shell, that I'd been eyeing all weekend, was sold when I finally came back for it!

Robert Lawson (Moorland Minerals)

Robert Lawson (shown here) and Stephen Moreton each had a stand at Bakewell, with a lot of intriguing and self-collected specimens. These included a mineralogical treasure that I'd read about, but never expected to come across at a show. Both of these dealers had matrix specimens of tiny dark-blue sapphire crystals, along with mullite, from the type locality of the latter mineral: Seabank Villa, Loch Scridain, Isle of Mull, Scotland!! Note the labeled group of these specimens in Robert's case. One of them found its way back to Maine with me.

Sunday at Bakewell Show

There was still a good crowd at Bakewell Show on Sunday afternoon, and it was hard to pull ourselves away to start the journey home the next morning!

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Discuss this Article

22nd Oct 2012 16:20 BSTWayne Corwin

Nice Article Woody ... Thanks
Wish I could have joined you there !

Wayne Corwin

23rd Oct 2012 16:48 BSTMichael Wood

Thanks for posting this show report Woody. Informative, well constructed and not too long. Saw you at the show.

Cheers, Mike Wood

23rd Oct 2012 17:20 BSTIan Jones Expert

Thanks for the report Woody. Sorry that I couldn't make Bakewell this year, it would have been good to have met after having corresponded on various issues Cornish.

I'm afraid though that the "Weardale Giant" is an imposter. The real Weardale Giant is currently on holiday in California and is planning a guest appearance at next year's Tucson show
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