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Bakewell Mineral Show - 2014 (Updated)

Last Updated: 14th Nov 2014

By Woody Thompson

What's New? This update contains additional specimen photos from the 2014 Bakewell show, including a few local Derbyshire minerals that I acquired. I also added information and photos from local places of mineralogical interest near Bakewell. Hopefully this information will give you some good ideas for side trips if you visit the show!

This year Louise and I spent a week in Bakewell, England, and enjoyed a return visit to the mineral show held every October by the Peak Lapidary and Mineral Society ( The 2014 show was on the weekend of October 11 & 12 at the usual location in Lady Manners School.

Show sign in Bakewell village

Signs were posted all around Bakewell, directing people to the show on the outskirts of town. Bakewell, with its ubiquitous stone houses, is a scenic old village located in the Peak District. It can be accessed by driving or a combination of train and bus travel. We also visited Chatsworth House (and its historic mineral collection formed in the 1700s by Georgiana Spencer, the Duchess of Devonshire). This collection was written up by Mick Cooper in the May-June, 2005, issue of Mineralogical Record. Other nearby attractions are the scenic and mountainous Castleton area with its Blue John mine and caverns, and the Peak District Mining Museum in Matlock Bath. These places are shown later in the article.

Foggy walk to the show

There are numerous B&B's nearby, and ours was so close that we could walk to the school. Both days started out foggy this year but the weather turned out nice.

Dealer hall on Sunday

The show occupies two halls and the connecting hallway. The larger hall is shown here. All the available space was packed with dealers and on Saturday it was very crowded with visitors . Graham Scarr (of the organizing committee) said there were 1104 paying attendees this year. Many families with children were noted on Sunday; it was good to see the kids getting exposed to the hobby.

I tried to cover some of the dealers for whom I didn't have photos in my 2012 Bakewell report. However, there were many others not shown here, with a great variety of minerals, fossils, books, and jewelry for every taste and budget. Prices tend to be reasonable at this show, and it's a good opportunity to acquire fluorites and other minerals from the UK.

Lapidary exhibit in entrance hall

Besides the dealers, there were exhibits and information tables of various sorts.

Peter Ward and his display case
Fluorite specimens from Greenlaws Mine
Greenlaws Mine fluorite

Peter Ward brought a large quantity of fluorite crystals from his recent collecting in the Great Limestone Flats at Greenlaws Mine in Weardale, County Durham, UK. Specimens were available in all sizes and showing a range of colors and color combinations. The crystals commonly exhibit color zoning ranging from amber/brown to purple. Some of them are partially encrusted by small brown siderite crystals. Peter said that he's been working clay filled seams that were overlooked by the old miners seeking lead ore.

Speaking of fluorite, at least two other dealers had some purple fluorite crystals from a recent find at the Beldon Mine, Blanchland, Northumberland. I don't recall seeing matrix specimens, but the crystals were fairly large and often in clusters (the larger crystal shown here is 6 cm on edge).

John Willmouth ("Dr. Quartz")

John Willmouth served in the British army and tells some fascinating stories about his mineral collecting adventures while on duty in Cyprus.

Ammonite at Natural Wonders Ltd. stand

There are several good fossil dealers at the Bakewell show. I don't generally collect fossils, but sometimes I cave in to the temptation and purchase one or two a year. How could I resist getting one of those nice classic British ammonites? The one shown above was too large for the space remaining in my carry-on baggage!

Byron Blessed of Natural Wonders Ltd.

Here's an even larger ammonite belonging to the same dealer - Byron Blessed. I picked out a smaller but very attractive and inexpensive specimen from his offerings.

Wapping Mine, Derbyshire calcite

This 5-cm cluster of calcite crystals was collected in 1979 at the Wapping Mine in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. I got it from Andy Castleton (Andyitec Minerals). I also obtained a good Wapping Mine hemimorphite crystal specimen from Nick Carruth, among the many items in his half-price sale.

Richard Bell and Jeanette Inkin (Mineral Paradise stand)

I recognized Richard Bell as a fellow member of the Russell Society. He and Jeanette had a good assortment of British minerals at their stand.

Roy Starkey with his new book

Enroute to Bakewell we had a very pleasant visit with Roy and Mary Starkey. Roy is a recent President of the Russell Society and a prolific author of mineral locality articles. We heard his talks at the Rochester Mineral Symposium last spring, on Cornwall's famous Herodsfoot Mine (which he wrote up in the Mineralogical Record), and the minerals and collecting history of the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland. I was pleased to acquire a copy of Roy's book on the Cairngorms ("Crystal Mountains") that was published this year. He had copies for sale at the show and also was representing the UK Journal of Mines and Minerals. You can find a good review of Roy's book at:

Louise Thompson at the Crystal Classics table

Crystal Classics has a table at Bakewell featuring mineral literature and specimens. Besides what you see on the table, they also brought a pile of flats containing many additional specimens for collectors to look through. One lucky collector at the show obtained a specimen of the elusive Derbyshire matlockite from the Crystal Classics stock.

Mike Merry (Cornwall & Devon Minerals)

Mike Merry from Cornwall is a regular at Bakewell. He specializes in minerals from Cornwall and Devon (one of my favorite areas for its specimens and rich mining history).

Calton Hill Amethyst, Derbyshire

Amethyst is uncommon in Derbyshire, but several nice little specimens from Calton Hill, Blackwell-in-the-Peak, were seen at the show. Sorry, but I didn't catch the name of the dealer who had them. This one is 5 cm wide.

Tasty lunch at Bakewell show

The lunch crew in the school cafeteria serve up a famous assortment of roasts, pot pies, veggies, and irresistible desserts including cakes, cookies, custard-drenched fruit cobblers, etc.

Martin Rigby (Fossils Direct)

Among the fossil dealers was Martin Rigby from Cheshire, with more ammonites and other interesting British fossils.

Croft Quarry analcime, Leicestershire

3.2-cm crystal of analcime from the Croft Quarry, Croft, Leicestershire. This is another specimen from Andyitec Minerals.

Dean Lomax and his book exhibit

Dean Lomax had an eye-catching exhibit featuring his new and comprehensive book on British dinosaurs.

More info on Dean's book can be found here:

Ralph Sutcliffe

Veteran mineral dealer Ralph Sutcliffe was set up at the show again this year. It's always a pleasure to chat and talk minerals with Ralph. You can read some of his recollections at:

Sunday afternoon at Bakewell. L to R: Woody Thompson, Ralph Sutcliffe, Phil Taylor, and Brice Burgun.

Ralph's table seemed to be a popular gathering place. Several of us spent a relaxing interlude visiting on Sunday afternoon. Phil Taylor and other members of the Sussex Mineral and Lapidary Society came over to my state (Maine) this year for pegmatite trips based at the Poland Mining Camps.

The Bakewell mineral show is an event that I would never miss, if I didn't have to contend with the "Big Pond" between Maine and the UK!


Chatsworth House

CHATSWORTH HOUSE is just a few miles from Bakewell village and readily accessed by car or bus. This enormous stately home and adjacent grounds have been in the same family for many generations, and they are open to the public. A walk through the interior of Chatsworth House is not to be missed! Among the countless treasures are hall cases and other scattered displays of minerals, fossils, and lapidary works assembled by Georgiana, her son, and their successors.

Chatsworth mineral display

There are several of these display cabinets in one hallway. Their interiors are somewhat dark, so bring your "torch" (flashlight), take a close look, and enjoy the large and classic specimens from long-ago mines in Derbyshire, Cornwall, etc.

Gregory Mine Fluorite, Derbyshire - Chatsworth collection

Local minerals are well-represented in the Chatsworth hall cases. This is a large cabinet specimen of fluorite and galena crystals from the Gregory Mine, Ashover, Derbyshire.

Sowerby volume - Chatsworth collection

The exhibit also includes a nice complete set of Sowerby's "British Mineralogy" (perhaps the Holy Grail for those of us who collect books on UK minerals). This volume is opened to a plate and description of a choice Derbyshire quartz/galena specimen.

Chatsworth specimens

These enormous specimens are among the large "decorator" pieces sitting on the floor in the same hallway. Note: much of the Chatsworth mineral collection is not on display, but has been nicely tidied up and curated by volunteers from the Russell Society. Elsewhere in the parts of the house that you can visit, there are superb examples of Blue John fluorite vases, a Russian malachite table, and tablets and table tops inlayed with colorful lapidary materials by 18th-century artisans such as White Watson.

Peak District Mining Museum

Don't be put off by the pink exterior of the PEAK DISTRICT MINING MUSEUM in Matlock Bath! Much hard work has filled this museum with all sorts of mining artifacts, rocks, minerals, information on local mining history, and geological exhibits.

Roman lead pig - Peak District Museum

Lead has been mined in the Peak District at least since Roman times, as evidenced by this enormous lead "pig" bearing a Roman inscription.

Peak District Mining Museum model

The museum's exhibits include several detailed scale models of winding and pumping engines used at the mines.

Peak District Museum specimen

Cabinet specimen of octahedral galena crystals from the Golconda Mine near Brassington in Derbyshire. It's a bit rough looking, but of great interest to me because it looks just like an old specimen of the same material in my collection, which is simply labeled as "Derbyshire".

Peak District Museum shop

The gift shop at the museum has the best selection of local and other books on UK mines and mining history that I've seen in any real bookstore. This selection alone would have made our visit worthwhile!

Treak Cliff Cavern site

A very scenic drive or bus ride will enable you to spend a day at nearby CASTLETON. There are several "show caves" within walking distance from the village center. We hiked up to this one, called Treak Cliff Cavern. From the road, a path leads up to the ticket office building. Then you zig-zag farther up the hillside to the actual cavern entrance. The bus schedule left us pressed for time on this particular day, so we reluctantly passed on the tour.

Treak Cliff Cavern "Blue John" vein samples

Treak Cliff Cavern is a principal source of the famous banded purple-and-yellow fluorite known as "Blue John". Their rock shop has this display of samples from the Blue John veins.

Blue John (fluorite) bowl

This Blue John bowl is included among the many excellent exhibits of local geology, minerals, and town history in the Castleton visitor center. The bowl was given to the center in 2005 by the owners of Treak Cliff Cavern.

Treak Cliff Cavern fluorite

The Castleton Centre also exhibits this specimen of dark-purple fluorite crystals from Treak Cliff Cavern. Specimens of this material occasionally turn up at mineral shows.

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Discuss this Article

21st Oct 2014 12:08 UTCLarry Maltby Expert

Thanks for the glimpse of “Merry Ole England”, Woody. I had a work assignment there in the late 1980’s and that fog gave me fits while trying to learn to drive on the “wrong” side of the road.

22nd Oct 2014 15:07 UTCWoody Thompson Expert

Hi Larry, I can relate to that, even on a sunny day! After driving a little on Cornish lanes, and negotiating a mega roundabout in Chesterfield in 2012 (straight out of the car rental agency), we decided to rely on train, bus, foot, or anything but driving over there.

22nd Nov 2014 18:04 UTCRob Woodside 🌟 Manager

Thanks so much for this. It's nice to put faces to names. Looks like a good show!!!

27th Dec 2014 00:37 UTCAnn McDowell

I enjoyed your travel and mineral description of the area--maybe someday????
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