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Bakewell Mineral Show - 2016

Last Updated: 25th Nov 2018

By Woody Thompson

This was our third visit to Bakewell for the “Rock Exchange” hosted by the Peak Lapidary and Mineral Society: This year’s show was held on the weekend of October 8 & 9 at Lady Manners School.

Bakewell village

Bakewell is located in the county of Derbyshire in the English Midlands. This area includes the Peak District National Park and a great many sites of cultural, historic, and geologic interest. Famous old mines and mineral localities are scattered across the area. This report has two parts: the first covers the show itself, and the second includes other places of mineralogical interest that we visited during our trip. Additional mineral and mining history highlights near Bakewell were covered in my 2014 show report:

Main dealer hall at Bakewell show
Second Bakewell dealer hall

Most of the dealers were located in the two halls shown above, but many others could be found in the connecting hallways. The offerings by these ± 100 dealers included a wide selection of minerals, fossils, jewelry, and books. The dealers mentioned here are a sampling of those present, and I tried to include some who were not shown in my previous Bakewell reports. The show was packed with visitors on Saturday and seemed to pick up again by midday on Sunday. Total attendance for the weekend was at least 1100 people.

Steve Warren
Ed Loye checking one of Steve’s specimens

Steve Warren had a good assortment of British minerals at his stand, as did the folks at Mineral Paradise (to left of Steve in first photo). Steve and our collector friend Ed Loye were carefully scrutinizing something of interest here – a Cornish fluorapatite if I remember right.

Cabinet specimen of sphalerite crystals, Wheal Jane, Kea, Cornwall
Calcite/quartz, Wheal Mary Ann, Menheniot, Cornwall

Richard Bell (of Mineral Paradise) had a large number of Cornish specimens from the Derek Solt collection, including the two examples shown above. The Wheal Mary Ann specimen has prior dealer labels from Richard Barstow and Nick Carruth.

Ian and Di Jones

And speaking of those with a good eye for Cornish minerals, I was pleased to meet Ian Jones and his wife Di(ana) at the show.

Show visitors at Bakewell

Families attended the show with children who browsed the dealers and enjoyed this opportunity to learn about our hobby and bring home some treasures.

Indian zeolites

Rohinten Mazda’s stand offered this nice assortment of zeolites and associated minerals from India.

Tetrahedrite coated by chalcopyrite (cabinet specimen), Herodsfoot Mine, Lanreath, Cornwall

Ralph Sutcliffe was on hand again, with classic British minerals. He brought this cabinet specimen from the Herodsfoot Mine. It also contains galena crystals and a sparkling druse of milky quartz crystals.

Baryte/galena/fluorite (8 cm), Ladywash Mine, Eyam, Derbyshire
Underside of Ladywash Mine baryte/galena/fluorite
Baryte/galena/fluorite (8 cm), Ladywash Mine, Eyam, Derbyshire
Underside of Ladywash Mine baryte/galena/fluorite
Baryte/galena/fluorite (8 cm), Ladywash Mine, Eyam, Derbyshire
Underside of Ladywash Mine baryte/galena/fluorite

This heavy specimen from Derbyshire’s Ladywash Mine is one of the pieces that I got from Ralph Sutcliffe. It has an unusual bowl shape. The inside is lined by crystalline baryte, which is mostly surrounded by a layer of lustrous galena (first photo). The underside of the “bowl” consists of many small white fluorite crystals.

Desislava Hristova and Biser Ivanovski (Minerals Bulgaria stand)
Minerals Bulgaria specimens

Biser Ivanovski of London brought an impressive selection of large and well-crystallized Bulgarian specimens to the show.

Don Edwards with James Tennant specimen kit
Tennant kit
Don Edwards with James Tennant specimen kit
Tennant kit
Don Edwards with James Tennant specimen kit
Tennant kit
Catalog for Tennant kit

Show chairman Don Edwards was among the dealers. His shop is “just up the road” in Tideswell village. Don showed me a couple of wonderful kits that were assembled and sold by the famous British mineralogist James Tennant (1808-1881). The second kit shown above contains one drawer of minerals, one of rocks, and three of fossils, along with a printed catalog to which Tennant added his handwritten inventory of the specimens.

L to R: Ed Loye, Austin Woodbridge, and Andrew Hodgson at Richard Tayler’s stand

L to R: John Vanston, Dave Binns, and Phil Taylor

Dave Binns and Phil Taylor visited us while staying at the Poland [Maine] Mining Camps and collecting in our local pegmatites. Phil has a deep and wide-ranging collection. Watch for his Tsumeb exhibit at the upcoming 2016 Sussex Mineral Show!

Neil Hubbard (Midland Minerals)

As his business name suggests, Neil had some nice specimens of local Derbyshire minerals. A couple of his Matlock fluorites went home with me. Neil is Membership Secretary for the Russell Society (the premier association for UK mineral enthusiasts: To his right in the above photo (holding cup) is Peter Briscoe of Steetley Minerals.

Fluorite (9 cm), Bonsall, Derbyshire

This color-zoned Derbyshire fluorite is one of the specimens that I purchased from Neil Hubbard. Other dealers such as Peter Ward (Greenlaws Mine specimens) had numerous fluorites from elsewhere in England.

Benitoite (9 cm; Peter Briscoe specimen and photo)

Peter’s stock included this fine specimen of California benitoite. The largest crystal is 19 mm across.

Amethyst (8 cm), Intergalactic Pit, Deer Hill, Stow, Maine

This old friend has a tale to tell. I purchased it from the miners in Maine shortly after the Intergalactic amethyst pockets were discovered. Then I swapped it to a British dealer in 1998, and was surprised to see it among another dealer’s offerings at the 2012 Bakewell show. He still had it at the 2014 show and yet again this year! I guess there’s not much demand for Maine minerals in Derbyshire, but toward the end of the weekend I found it was sold at last. I was beginning to regret not bringing it back to Maine, when my wife felt sorry for me and confessed that she had bought it to surprise me with. Thanks, Louise!!

Clive and Lyn Minker (Clive’s Crystals)

It was another pleasant surprise to come across the Minkers, whom I’d met when they came to Maine for mineral collecting trips.

The Crystal Classics team

The Crystal Classics table featured UK specimens and a broad range of mineral books. The word “mineral flat” would not do justice to the elegant black trays and fitted individual specimen boxes used to transport and display their quality show minerals!

David and Audrey Lloyd

The Lloyds were among the collectors we’d often heard of and finally met at Bakewell.

Healing Crystals stand

Sheila Harrison’s table had this colorful presentation of crystals and lapidary products including jewelry, spheres, and other polished stones.

Madagascar labradorite

Sheila’s specimens included this large polished piece of labradorite from Madagascar, showing a bright play of colors and (toward the left side) a dramatic example of polysynthetic twinning lines typical of the plagioclase feldspar series.

“Little Mo” the Mosasaur

Many Bakewell dealers sell fossils. It’s a good show to find classic British ammonites and other stone critters, and this specimen at the Fine Fossils stand really caught my eye. “Little Mo” is a Mosasaur skull from Morocco. The label noted that he is “fully house trained” and needed only £8,500 to relocate in “a good home”!

Bakewell dinner

Louise and I spent the entire weekend at the show – the perfect end to this year’s vacation. We concluded our trip with dinner and a pint of local Chatsworth Gold ale at The Red Lion pub in Bakewell.

PART 2: Mineralogical Detours Along the Way

We spent the first week of our vacation trip in London, where there is no end of things to see and do, but we never miss a chance to visit the Natural History Museum.

Main entrance to London’s Natural History Museum

The mineral gallery in the Natural History Museum is a joy to behold: row after row of exhibit cases full of magnificent specimens from all over the world, plus the special treasures exhibited next door in The Vault. This is a real mineral museum for comparative study. The gallery cases reportedly had been cleaned since our 2014 visit, and there were new ceiling lights (which I suspect helped the color rendition in my specimen photos). Having taken lots of photos during previous trips, I’ll just show a few British favorites here.

Topaz, Cairngorms Mountains, Scotland (45 x 40 x 40 mm)

This remarkable waterworn blue topaz is featured in Roy Starkey’s book on minerals of the Cairngorms (“Crystal Mountains”). In 1811 it was figured in Sowerby’s British Mineralogy. It puzzles me that waterworn topazes have not been reported in gravels derived from similar miarolitic cavity deposits in New Hampshire’s Conway Granite.

Pyromorphite on plumbogummite, Roughton Gill Mine, Cumbria, England

Colorful specimen and classic association. It speaks for itself.

Matlockite crystals from the type locality in Derbyshire

Cromford matlockites are very rare and I had no expectation of finding one at the Bakewell mineral show. This photo would have to do!

Fluorite with chalcopyrite (cabinet specimen), Caradon Mines, St. Cleer, Cornwall

This is my personal favorite in the entire mineral gallery in the Natural History Museum: a wonderful blue fluorite crystal from Cornwall, overlain by a layer of milky quartz on which there is a later generation of purple fluorites and golden chalcopyrites. Rock candy!

Graphite mining near Keswick, Cumbria

While in the Lake District we spent a couple of days in Keswick. There was no time to visit the old mines in this area, but we learned about a nearby graphite mine and how this deposit gave rise to a major pencil-making industry that still exists in Cumbria today.

Graphite (8 cm), Plumbago Mine (Wad Mine), Seathwaite, Borrowdale, Cumbria

I obtained the above specimen of Seathwaite graphite from Neil Hubbard at this year’s Bakewell show. It shows the nodular structure described in the following text from a British Geological Survey website:

“The Borrowdale Graphite deposit is located at Seathwaite in the picturesque valley of Borrowdale, in Cumbria. This occurrence is unique in the UK and it is one of only two graphite vein deposits hosted by volcanic rocks worldwide — the other is in southern Spain. At Seathwaite, the graphite occurs in a set of mineralised faults hosted by andesite lavas and sills belonging to the 450 million year old (Ordovician) Borrowdale Volcanic Group. Narrow veins filling fault fissures contain massive graphite and chlorite, but the richest deposits containing nodules of graphite, altered wall rock and brecciated quartz are in pipe-like bodies developed at the intersections of faults.”

Abandoned Cumberland Pencil factory in Keswick

Mining at Seathwaite was underway at least by the 1500s, when graphite was used for marking sheep and other purposes. The first pencil factory opened in 1832 and used a mixture of graphite and clay for the leads. Pencils were manufactured in Keswick for over 170 years, but local graphite mining fell victim to foreign competition by the early 1900s. The factory seen here was built in 1937 and operated until 2008 when the business moved to the modern Derwent Pencil Factory at Lillyhall in Cumbria.

The Pencil Museum in Keswick

We hoped to tour this museum, but – along with much of the Keswick area – it experienced severe flooding last December and the building had yet to reopen. The river in the foreground of the photo rose over 5 m.

Castleton lead mines, Derbyshire

A scenic bus ride from Bakewell will bring you to Castleton village. There are several old lead mines and natural caverns near town, and you can hike or walk to some of them. There are also some tourist caverns where Blue John fluorite has been mined, one of which is described below.

Castleton Mines book, published in 2016

I was fortunate to arrange a field trip with Jim Rieuwerts and Phil Wolstenholme from Sheffield, who authored the new book titled “Castleton Mines”. Jim is a geologist and mining historian, while Phil is a photographer and adventurous mine/cave explorer who took most of the underground photos. The cover photo on their book shows a striking vista extending from Peveril Castle in the foreground to Mam Tor in the distance. Note the huge landslide that has gutted the mountainside on Mam Tor. The slide continues to be active after several thousand years of occasional movement.

Odin Mine entrance (tree-covered ravine at right)

One of the places that Jim and Phil showed me is the Odin Mine. It is one of the oldest lead mines in the region and probably the entire UK, dating back at least to the 1600s and probably much earlier. The workings followed a vein system far westward into the hill seen here. However, the cave on the left side of the photo is a natural feature. Mining in Castleton often occurred amid limestone caverns, so an experience eye is needed to differentiate these two types of openings during mine explorations.

Jim Rieuwerts (left) and Phil Wolstenholme next to Odin Mine millstone

This stone was made in 1823, rimmed with the cast iron hoop, and used horsepower to crush ore from the mine. I was surprised to learn that the famous mineralogist Benjamin Silliman from Yale University visited the Odin Mine in 1820! Today the site is a National Trust property.

Treak Cliff Cavern (Blue John mine), Castleton

Entrance to Treak Cliff Cavern (center) and Mam Tor landslide scarp in distance
Blue John exhibit in Treak Cliff Cavern gift shop

This is one of the few sites in Castleton where Blue John is still mined. Blue John is a banded fluorite showing various colors including blue, purple, white, and yellow. It is a famous ornamental stone that has been mined in Castleton since the 1700s and fashioned into jewelry, vases, etc.

School class from Manchester, England in Treak Cliff Cavern

Treak Cliff is a “show cave”. Guides lead vistors through the cavern on a safe path, first going through some mine workings and then into natural caves with stalactites and other rock formations. Most of the bedrock seen here is Carboniferous limestone. The photo shows stalagmites next to path in foreground.

Blue John fluorite in the “Lost Vein”

A former miner found this Blue John vein sometime prior to 1945, but he concealed it and died before he could reveal its location to the family that presently operates the cavern. It was not rediscovered until 2013.

Fossil hash of crinoid fragments in wall of Treak Cliff Cavern

Blue John vein with white calcite in central cavity (field of view ~50 cm wide)

More information on Treak Cliff Cavern and the local geology is available at:

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Discuss this Article

2nd Nov 2016 21:15 GMTBecky Coulson Expert

Thanks for a lovely report, Woody! My husband and I look forward to Bakewell each year, and your notes/photos provide a nice overview of the show. Becky

3rd Nov 2016 17:19 GMTWoody Thompson Expert

Thanks, Becky! We would go to the Bakewell show every year, too, if only it weren't such a long trip from Maine. Good people and good rocks in a nice setting. The show committee deserves a lot of credit for all the behind-the-scenes work that must be required to make it happen.

3rd Nov 2016 21:38 GMTDaniel Levesque

Outstanding report as always, Woody! I always look forward to your vacations to Bakewell. Hopefully, someday I may have one of my own. Thanks for the heads up on the Castleton Mines book. I'm going to have to ask Santa (wife) for that one. Incidentally, have you ever seen Arthur Smith's drawing of your favorite fluorite from Cornwall at the MNH? It appears in the booklet "Semi-Precious Stones" by Nora Wooster 1952. MinRec also has this and other drawings on their website under "Art Museum". It is a remarkable resemblance.
Thanks again for the report.

3rd Nov 2016 23:43 GMTWoody Thompson Expert

Hi Dan, Thanks for this enlightening information! I hadn't seen Mineralogical Record's online art museum, and it was great to learn about Nora Wooster's book with the illustration of the Cornish fluorite. Here's the link for anybody else who wants to take a peek at Arthur Smith's work:
I'll contact you by PM with ordering info for Castleton Mines.
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