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Wythburn Mine (Wheal Henry; Helvellyn Mine), St. John's Castlerigg and Wythburn, Allerdale, Cumbria, England, UK

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 54° 31' 26'' North , 3° 2' 18'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 54.52389,-3.03833
GeoHash:G#: gcty4vg89
UK National Grid Reference:NY328148
Locality type:Mine
Köppen climate type:Cfb : Temperate oceanic climate
Other/historical names associated with this locality:North and Western Region; Cumberland


Wythburn Mine is situated in the upper part of Mines Gill on the western side of Helvellyn, the third highest mountain in England.

The mine exploited four lead veins, the Blue Vein, Old Vein (North South Vein), Eagle Crag Vein and the East West Vein.

In all six levels were driven on these veins. They were No.4 Level, the lowest level at 1300 ft. No.3 Level at 1600ft, No.2 Level at 1750 ft, No.1 Level at 1908 ft, Arnisons Level, which was named after a local miner, at 2098ft and Arnisons Top Level at 2348ft.

The mine was first worked by a group of local miners and prospectors in1835. They started work on two of the veins, Blue Rock Vein and Old Vein, which were exposed in the bedrock on the north side of the gill, opening up 2 levels, High Level (which was to become No.1 Level) and Low Level (which was later to become No.2 Level). It was hoped that the veins were going to be as rich as those on the other side of the mountain at the highly profitable Greenside Mine. However, the returns failed to meet expectations and venture soon collapsed resulting in the closure of the mine.

Then in 1837 the mine became Wheal Henry when a new company took over called the Wheal Henry Helvellyn Lead Mining Ltd., led by a Cornish man called Henry Molyneux, after whom the mine was named. They worked the mine until 1857, driving forward on both the High and Low levels and opening up a lot of new ground, including No.3 Level on the south side of the gill. After running into financial difficulties the company managed to raise more money with the promise of high returns and by the end of 1857 the company was refloated under the new name of the Henry Helvellyn Lead Mining Company Ltd. In 1859 work was started on No.4 Level on what was assumed to be a continuation of the very rich Eagle Crag vein on the eastern side of Helvellyn. Unfortunately for the company, No 3 and No 4 levels were to proving to be virtually barren and once again they found themselves in dire financial difficulties and work at the mine came to an end.

1861 saw the formation of a new company called the Wythburn Lead Mining Company and Wheal Henry became the Wythburn Mine. Soon the mine was working again with a lot of new development taking place to bring the mine up to date. A new dam and dressing plant was erected at the bottom of the gill to process the ore. An incline was built from the plant up to No 2 Level to transport the ore tubs down the steep gill to the mill, replacing the outdated method of using packhorses to transport the ore down the mountain. This self-acting incline, with a gradient of 1 in 3, was a massive feat of engineering, measuring 600 yards long, 9ft wide and 9 ft high and built out of dressed stone. A bridge was also built at the bottom of the incline so that it could ford the gill and take the ore directly to the ore bins at the dressing plant. At the top of the incline, a large winding drum house was built, just below No2 Level adit, to house the winding mechanism. This was all a massive investment for the new company, around £20,000, showing how confident they were in the mines future, and all this work was carried out in just 2 years. It was during this time that both Arnisons Level and later Arnisons Top level were started. Although some work was carried out on No3 Level it produced very little ore and was soon abandoned. It was the higher levels which were to prove the richest part of the mine as it was here that two of the veins, the Blue Rock Vein and The East West Vein intersected. The mine was opened up with a rise from No2 Level and No1 Level up to Arnisons Level. All the ore was then dropped down internally, a distance of 346ft, from the upper levels down to No 2 level, now the main drawing adit for transporting the ore down to the mill. However, despite all the work that was carried out, not enough ore was being raised to cover the costs and once again the mine failed to make a return on its investment with the company making substantial losses. In 1870 the company was in difficulty and put into liquidation. It finally closed in 1872.

Over the next eight years three more companies tried their luck with the mine, hoping to make their fortunes. The Helvellyn Mining Company (1872-1873), West Cumberland Consols Mining Company (1873 -1874) and finally in 1875 the New West Cumberland Consols Mining Company. Then in 1878 the Manchester Water Authority, who were building the Thirlmere reservoir at the bottom of the valley to supply the city of Manchester with its much needed water, bought the land and mineral rights to the mine. However, the mine continued to work in a reduced capacity for a further 4 years, recovering some good ore from the upper levels. But the low price of lead and the death of the mine captain in 1882 finally saw an end to mining at Wythburn. The dressing plant and mill were demolished by the Water Authority and the stone was reused in the construction of the reservoir so very little remains of the site today.

Despite the huge investment made by the various companies, and the amount of work put into opening up new ground, the mine was never a success and it is thought to of only produced around 1,500 tons of lead ore during its 47 year history. By the time the mine finally closed in 1882 there were 1,985 yards of levels and a total of 406ft of stopes and rises.

Regions containing this locality

Lake District National Park, Cumbria, England, UK

National Park - 383 mineral species & varietal names listed

Select Mineral List Type

Standard Detailed Strunz Dana Chemical Elements

Mineral List


23 valid minerals.

Detailed Mineral List:

Anglesite
Formula: PbSO4
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Baryte
Formula: BaSO4
Reference: BMS Database; Tindle, A.G. (2008): Minerals of Britain and Ireland. Terra Publishing (Harpenden, UK), p. 68
Brochantite
Formula: Cu4(SO4)(OH)6
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Calcite
Formula: CaCO3
Reference: Hall, T.M. (1868): The Mineralogist's Directory. Edward Stanford (London), 168 pp.
Cerussite
Formula: PbCO3
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Chalcopyrite
Formula: CuFeS2
Reference: BMS Database
Chrysocolla
Formula: Cu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2O
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Covellite
Formula: CuS
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Galena
Formula: PbS
Reference: Hall, T.M. (1868): The Mineralogist's Directory. Edward Stanford (London), 168 pp.
Goethite
Formula: α-Fe3+O(OH)
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Hematite
Formula: Fe2O3
Reference: BMS Database
Hemimorphite
Formula: Zn4Si2O7(OH)2 · H2O
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Leadhillite
Formula: Pb4(CO3)2(SO4)(OH)2
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Linarite
Formula: PbCu(SO4)(OH)2
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Malachite
Formula: Cu2(CO3)(OH)2
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Plumbogummite
Formula: PbAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
Description: Visual identification was made by David Green.
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Pyrite
Formula: FeS2
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Pyromorphite
Formula: Pb5(PO4)3Cl
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Quartz
Formula: SiO2
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Smithsonite
Formula: ZnCO3
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Sphalerite
Formula: ZnS
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Tetrahedrite
Formula: Cu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]Sb4S13
Reference: Paul Nicholson
Wulfenite
Formula: Pb(MoO4)
Reference: Paul Nicholson

List of minerals arranged by Strunz 10th Edition classification

Group 2 - Sulphides and Sulfosalts
'Chalcopyrite'2.CB.10aCuFeS2
'Covellite'2.CA.05aCuS
'Galena'2.CD.10PbS
'Pyrite'2.EB.05aFeS2
'Sphalerite'2.CB.05aZnS
'Tetrahedrite'2.GB.05Cu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]Sb4S13
Group 4 - Oxides and Hydroxides
'Goethite'4.00.α-Fe3+O(OH)
'Hematite'4.CB.05Fe2O3
'Quartz'4.DA.05SiO2
Group 5 - Nitrates and Carbonates
'Calcite'5.AB.05CaCO3
'Cerussite'5.AB.15PbCO3
'Leadhillite'5.BF.40Pb4(CO3)2(SO4)(OH)2
'Malachite'5.BA.10Cu2(CO3)(OH)2
'Smithsonite'5.AB.05ZnCO3
Group 7 - Sulphates, Chromates, Molybdates and Tungstates
'Anglesite'7.AD.35PbSO4
'Baryte'7.AD.35BaSO4
'Brochantite'7.BB.25Cu4(SO4)(OH)6
'Linarite'7.BC.65PbCu(SO4)(OH)2
'Wulfenite'7.GA.05Pb(MoO4)
Group 8 - Phosphates, Arsenates and Vanadates
'Plumbogummite'8.BL.10PbAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
'Pyromorphite'8.BN.05Pb5(PO4)3Cl
Group 9 - Silicates
'Chrysocolla'9.ED.20Cu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2O
'Hemimorphite'9.BD.10Zn4Si2O7(OH)2 · H2O

List of minerals arranged by Dana 8th Edition classification

Group 2 - SULFIDES
AmXp, with m:p = 1:1
Covellite2.8.12.1CuS
Galena2.8.1.1PbS
Sphalerite2.8.2.1ZnS
AmBnXp, with (m+n):p = 1:1
Chalcopyrite2.9.1.1CuFeS2
AmBnXp, with (m+n):p = 1:2
Pyrite2.12.1.1FeS2
Group 3 - SULFOSALTS
3 <ø < 4
Tetrahedrite3.3.6.1Cu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]Sb4S13
Group 4 - SIMPLE OXIDES
A2X3
Hematite4.3.1.2Fe2O3
Group 6 - HYDROXIDES AND OXIDES CONTAINING HYDROXYL
XO(OH)
Goethite6.1.1.2α-Fe3+O(OH)
Group 14 - ANHYDROUS NORMAL CARBONATES
A(XO3)
Calcite14.1.1.1CaCO3
Cerussite14.1.3.4PbCO3
Smithsonite14.1.1.6ZnCO3
Group 16a - ANHYDROUS CARBONATES CONTAINING HYDROXYL OR HALOGEN
Malachite16a.3.1.1Cu2(CO3)(OH)2
Group 17 - COMPOUND CARBONATES
Miscellaneous
Leadhillite17.1.2.1Pb4(CO3)2(SO4)(OH)2
Group 28 - ANHYDROUS ACID AND NORMAL SULFATES
AXO4
Anglesite28.3.1.3PbSO4
Baryte28.3.1.1BaSO4
Group 30 - ANHYDROUS SULFATES CONTAINING HYDROXYL OR HALOGEN
(AB)m(XO4)pZq, where m:p>2:1
Brochantite30.1.3.1Cu4(SO4)(OH)6
(AB)2(XO4)Zq
Linarite30.2.3.1PbCu(SO4)(OH)2
Group 41 - ANHYDROUS PHOSPHATES, ETC.CONTAINING HYDROXYL OR HALOGEN
A5(XO4)3Zq
Pyromorphite41.8.4.1Pb5(PO4)3Cl
Group 42 - HYDRATED PHOSPHATES, ETC.CONTAINING HYDROXYL OR HALOGEN
(AB)2(XO4)Zq·xH2O
Plumbogummite42.7.3.5PbAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
Group 48 - ANHYDROUS MOLYBDATES AND TUNGSTATES
AXO4
Wulfenite48.1.3.1Pb(MoO4)
Group 56 - SOROSILICATES Si2O7 Groups, With Additional O, OH, F and H2O
Si2O7 Groups and O, OH, F, and H2O with cations in [4] coordination
Hemimorphite56.1.2.1Zn4Si2O7(OH)2 · H2O
Group 74 - PHYLLOSILICATES Modulated Layers
Modulated Layers with joined strips
Chrysocolla74.3.2.1Cu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2O
Group 75 - TECTOSILICATES Si Tetrahedral Frameworks
Si Tetrahedral Frameworks - SiO2 with [4] coordinated Si
Quartz75.1.3.1SiO2

List of minerals for each chemical element

HHydrogen
H BrochantiteCu4(SO4)(OH)6
H ChrysocollaCu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2O
H Goethiteα-Fe3+O(OH)
H HemimorphiteZn4Si2O7(OH)2 · H2O
H LeadhillitePb4(CO3)2(SO4)(OH)2
H LinaritePbCu(SO4)(OH)2
H MalachiteCu2(CO3)(OH)2
H PlumbogummitePbAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
CCarbon
C CalciteCaCO3
C CerussitePbCO3
C LeadhillitePb4(CO3)2(SO4)(OH)2
C MalachiteCu2(CO3)(OH)2
C SmithsoniteZnCO3
OOxygen
O AnglesitePbSO4
O BaryteBaSO4
O BrochantiteCu4(SO4)(OH)6
O CalciteCaCO3
O CerussitePbCO3
O ChrysocollaCu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2O
O Goethiteα-Fe3+O(OH)
O HematiteFe2O3
O HemimorphiteZn4Si2O7(OH)2 · H2O
O LeadhillitePb4(CO3)2(SO4)(OH)2
O LinaritePbCu(SO4)(OH)2
O MalachiteCu2(CO3)(OH)2
O PlumbogummitePbAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
O PyromorphitePb5(PO4)3Cl
O QuartzSiO2
O SmithsoniteZnCO3
O WulfenitePb(MoO4)
AlAluminium
Al ChrysocollaCu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2O
Al PlumbogummitePbAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
SiSilicon
Si ChrysocollaCu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2O
Si HemimorphiteZn4Si2O7(OH)2 · H2O
Si QuartzSiO2
PPhosphorus
P PlumbogummitePbAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
P PyromorphitePb5(PO4)3Cl
SSulfur
S AnglesitePbSO4
S BaryteBaSO4
S BrochantiteCu4(SO4)(OH)6
S ChalcopyriteCuFeS2
S CovelliteCuS
S GalenaPbS
S LeadhillitePb4(CO3)2(SO4)(OH)2
S LinaritePbCu(SO4)(OH)2
S PyriteFeS2
S SphaleriteZnS
S TetrahedriteCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]Sb4S13
ClChlorine
Cl PyromorphitePb5(PO4)3Cl
CaCalcium
Ca CalciteCaCO3
FeIron
Fe ChalcopyriteCuFeS2
Fe Goethiteα-Fe3+O(OH)
Fe HematiteFe2O3
Fe PyriteFeS2
Fe TetrahedriteCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]Sb4S13
CuCopper
Cu BrochantiteCu4(SO4)(OH)6
Cu ChalcopyriteCuFeS2
Cu ChrysocollaCu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2O
Cu CovelliteCuS
Cu LinaritePbCu(SO4)(OH)2
Cu MalachiteCu2(CO3)(OH)2
Cu TetrahedriteCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]Sb4S13
ZnZinc
Zn HemimorphiteZn4Si2O7(OH)2 · H2O
Zn SmithsoniteZnCO3
Zn SphaleriteZnS
Zn TetrahedriteCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]Sb4S13
MoMolybdenum
Mo WulfenitePb(MoO4)
SbAntimony
Sb TetrahedriteCu6[Cu4(Fe,Zn)2]Sb4S13
BaBarium
Ba BaryteBaSO4
PbLead
Pb AnglesitePbSO4
Pb CerussitePbCO3
Pb GalenaPbS
Pb LeadhillitePb4(CO3)2(SO4)(OH)2
Pb LinaritePbCu(SO4)(OH)2
Pb PlumbogummitePbAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
Pb PyromorphitePb5(PO4)3Cl
Pb WulfenitePb(MoO4)

Regional Geology

This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.

Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on Macrostrat.org

Ordovician
443.8 - 485.4 Ma



ID: 3140240
Ordovician undifferentiated

Age: Ordovician (443.8 - 485.4 Ma)

Lithology: Volcanic

Reference: Asch, K. The 1:5M International Geological Map of Europe and Adjacent Areas: Development and Implementation of a GIS-enabled Concept. Geologisches Jahrbuch, SA 3. [147]

Ordovician
443.8 - 485.4 Ma



ID: 2033373
Unnamed Extrusive Rocks, Ordovician

Age: Ordovician (443.8 - 485.4 Ma)

Lithology: Felsic tuff

Reference: British Geological Survey. DiGMapGB-625. British Geological Survey ©NERC. [23]

Ordovician
443.8 - 485.4 Ma



ID: 3187232
Paleozoic volcanic rocks

Age: Ordovician (443.8 - 485.4 Ma)

Lithology: Strataform assemblage(s); intermediate volcanic rocks

Reference: Chorlton, L.B. Generalized geology of the world: bedrock domains and major faults in GIS format: a small-scale world geology map with an extended geological attribute database. doi: 10.4095/223767. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 5529. [154]

Data and map coding provided by Macrostrat.org, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

References

Sort by

Year (asc) Year (desc) Author (A-Z) Author (Z-A)
McFafadzean, A. (1987), Wythburn Mine And The Miners Of Helvellyn. Red Earth Publications.
Postlethwaite, J. (1983). Mines And Mining In The English Lake District, 3rd Edition. The Moxon Press Ltd. 126 – 127.
Shaw, W.T. (1970), Mining In The Lake Counties. Dalesman Publishing Company Ltd. 100 – 101.
Tyler, I. (1999), Thirlmere Mines And The Drowning Of The Valley. Blue Rock Publications. 70 – 115
Tyler, I. (2006), The Lakes & Cumbria Mines Guide. Blue rock Publications. 74 – 75.

Mindat Articles

Storm Desmond and Wythburn mine by Paul Nicholson



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