Dry Gill Mine

Mineral specimens from Dry Gill Mine, Caldbeck Fells, Cumbria, England, UK


Cooper & Stanley (1991):

“Of little commercial significance, this mine is one of the most famous mineral localities in the world. Lead minerals consisting predominantly of phosphate-bearing mimetite (campylite) in a gangue of quartz, barite and manganese oxides were deposited in an east-west vein. Other minerals occur rarely, the most well-known being plumbogummite.

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Although mimetite specimens from Dry Gill are recorded from at least 1830 there is no record of commercial ore mining here until a lease was taken by Hugh Lee Pattinson, inventor of a cupellation process for the desilvering of lead. Pattinson began work in 1846, driving an adit on the vein where it crosses Dry Gill beck near the foot of the gill. He raised a few hundred tons of “colored lead ore” but gave up the work in the 1850’s. The property was subsequently tried by various operators, none of whom had much success. The mine was last worked in 1869.

The finest mimetite specimens were collected in the 19th century but, although increasingly hard to find, some fine material has been obtained since, particularly in the 1970’s. However, the mine is notoriously unstable, cold and wet, and there have been a number of accidents involving collectors. No one has been critically injured but the incidents have highlighted the dangers of the old workings in the Caldbeck Fells.”

Cooper, M. P., Stanley, C. J. (1990) Minerals of the English Lake District – Caldbeck Fells. The Natural History Museum, London.