Good luck for some might be winning the lottery, or finding that you might retire early – but for one Warwickshire Mason it means something entirely different.
It’s ‘his’ own mine deep in Derbyshire, not far from Cromford – the Goodluck Lead Mine.
Marked on the hillside by a spoil heap containing 40,000 tons of waste rock the mine is on a site containing the remains of original buildings including a changing area, and powder house. The entrance gives access to 4,000 ft of accessible passage plus an internal shaft 130ft high including ladder ways. Uniquely it has stone stempling or propping of its passages showcasing the skill of the old miners. When the veins of lead were removed the old miners packed waste rock onto stone sections to create a passageway. They represent an enduring work of art – still supporting the roof all these years later, despite having been placed by hand without any lifting gear or cement.
Inscriptions from 1831 with the names of the miners who worked there The stone 'stemples' in the mine
It also has its own ghost – one Gamaliel Hall, who fell down a shaft back in the 1700s. Tools and equipment can move mysteriously, but everyone reckons he’s more a friendly spirit.
Originally driven in 1830 to access much older workings and shafts on the top of the hill, it was open extracting lead and barytes till the 1950s. It was re-opened in the 1970s as a tourist attraction, but was due to close ten years ago, and be lost for ever. W Bro David Barrie of Goldieslie Lodge 6174, Sutton Coldfield fell in love with the mine in 1990 when he first visited. Together with a band of likeminded caving and mining enthusiasts he helped form a club to run it, carrying out maintenance and clearing of the site.
It wasn’t an easy task – classed as a ‘working mine’ the mines inspectorate took an interest and had to be appeased. Funds had to be raised for new equipment, cap lamps and safety equipment. And since the intention is to make mining history accessible to all – plenty of tours for tourists and nearby residents.
It’s also hosted numerous events, from ghost hunter nights, to practise rescues by local cave rescue. Unfortunately as the mine is now so extensive the team needed help to find the ‘casualty’ that had been hidden for them!
Now the club has over thirty active members who double up as owners – their rights enshrined in mediaeval Derbyshire law. New passages and workings have been opened up, breaking into other mines on the hillside – meaning that visitors can also abseil in. The mine is now open every first Sunday of the month up to midday, or other times by arrangement for parties. David said “we particularly welcome parties from Lodges who are looking to do something different. We can do tours in the evenings and at weekends, and we often end up at the pub afterwards. We provide all lights, helmets, visitors just have to come wearing warm outdoor wear, and walking boots/gumboots.” Tours generally just involve walking, and there is no crawling or climbing, unless someone feels really adventurous.
Location – just off layby on the A5012, just below junction with B5023 Middleton by Wirksworth.
Secretary - 07808 326469