Lady's Rake lead mine


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Lady's Rake lead mine
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County Durham (Unitary Authority)
Forest and Frith
National Grid Reference:
NY 80606 34194

Reasons for Designation

Approximately 10,000 lead industry sites are estimated to survive in England, spanning nearly three millennia of mining history from the later Bronze Age (c.1000 BC) until the present day, though before the Roman period it is likely to have been on a small scale. Two hundred and fifty one lead industry sites, representing approximately 2.5% of the estimated national archaeological resource for the industry, have been identified as being of national importance. This selection of nationally important monuments, compiled and assessed through a comprehensive survey of the lead industry, is designed to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity. Nucleated lead mines are a prominent type of field monument produced by lead mining. They consist of a range of features grouped around the adits/and or shafts of a mine. The simplest examples contain merely a shaft or adit with associated spoil tip, but more complex and (in general) later examples may include remains of engine houses for pumping and/or winding from shafts, housing, lodging shops and offices, powder houses for storing gunpowder, power transmission features such as flat rod systems, transport systems such as railways and inclines, and water power and water supply features such as wheel pits, dams and leats. The majority of nucleated lead mines also included ore works where the ore, once extracted, was processed. The majority of nucleated lead mines are of 18th to 20th century date, earlier mining being normally by rake or hush (a gully or ravine partly excavated by use of a controlled torrent of water to reveal or exploit a vein of mineral ore). They often illustrate the great advances in industrial technology associated with the period known as the Industrial Revolution and, sometimes, also inform an understanding of the great changes in social conditions which accompanied it. Because of the greatly increased scale of working associated with nucleated mining such features can be a major component of upland landscapes. It is estimated that at least 10,000 sites, exist the majority being small mines of limited importance, although the important early remains at many larger mines have been greatly modified or destroyed by continued working or modern reworking. A sample of the better preserved sites, illustrating the regional, chronological and technological range of the class, is considered to merit protection.

Lady's Rake was one of the last mines to be operated by the London Lead Company, which was for many years the most important lead mining company in the north Pennines. It retains the complete layout of a water powered pumping and winding arrangement, once a common feature of lead mining sites, but now nationally rare, together with in situ remains of a rising main and pump spear, which are very rare survivals in themselves. The monument lies beside a public road and thus forms an educational resource.


The monument lies on the north side of Harwood Beck, to the north west of the dispersed settlement of Harwood. It includes the remains of the water powered pumping and winding system of Lady's Rake Mine, which was one of the last mines operated by the London Lead Company, the earthworks of a dam, courses of a pipe run and incline, settings for machinery together with iron fittings and the in situ iron rising main with its pumping spear. The monument does not include the mine spoil heap to the south or the remains of ancillary buildings to the south and east, as these have been seriously affected by later activity. The small mineshop (lodging house for miners) survives, but has been converted to agricultural use and this too has not been included in the scheduling. Lady's Rake Mine was developed by the London Lead Company from 1868, to work the south west to north east orientated vein of the same name. The vein was known and worked before this date, as there is a mine plan dated 1828 that shows two levels close to the site, but the visible remains date to the late 19th century. The London Lead Company ceased operations in 1902, but Lady's Rake continued in production until final closure in 1909, initially run by a syndicate of local miners, and then by the Teesdale Mining Company. In the north east part of the site lies the grassed over embankment of a c.3m high dam. At the foot of this dam, next to the in situ water release valve, is the c.4m by 2m by 1.2m high stone and concrete base for machinery associated with a water balance incline which was used to raise material up the shaft. A wheeled water tank, running on rails on an incline that runs south west from the dam, was connected by wire rope to a cage in the shaft at the foot of the incline. The cage assembly was heavier than the empty water tank, so at rest, the cage remained at the bottom of the shaft with the water tank at the top of the incline. However when the tank was filled from the reservoir, it was heavy enough to run down the incline and raise the cage up the shaft to the surface with a full load of ore. This incline is also included within the scheduling. Running parallel and to the south of the incline from the valve is the course of a pipe run which supplied water to a turbine at the foot of the slope. This powered a set of Cornish spear pumps in the shaft to drain the mine workings. The brick and concrete settings, together with iron holding down bolts for the pumping machinery remain in situ, and protruding c.2m from the shaft is the 0.3m diameter iron rising main which still contains the pump spear. To the south of the shaft and the machine settings there is a level area of made ground which still has some of its original revetment wall standing to c.2m. This area contains low earthwork remains which will retain evidence of the pit head arrangement. From this level area extending into the hillside, c.10m east of the shaft, there is the collapsed entrance to Wigram's Level which was started in 1868 and pre-dates the shaft. Also included within the scheduling is a second, rubble filled shaft which lies uphill and immediately to the south of the dam. The ruined drystone wall that crosses the dam is excluded from the monument, but the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Raistrick, A, Jennings, B, A History of Lead Mining in the Pennines, (1983), 331
Beadle, H L, 'The Cleveland Industrial Archaeologist' in Lady's Rake Lead Mine, , Vol. No 7, (1977), 17-23
Dunham, K C, 'Tyne to Stainmore' in Geology of the Northern Pennine Orefield, , Vol. Vol 2, (1990), 240


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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