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  • Writer's picturePenrith and Eden Museum

Minerals - Geology Gallery , Part 2

Caption - Image shows a display case of mineral specimens.

As we continue to walk around the gallery we walk past a spar box displayed on the wall.

The folk art tradition of making spar boxes (spar is short for fluorspar) flourished in the iron mining districts of West Cumbria and among the lead miners of the North Pennines.

This box was probably made by an iron miner in West Cumbria and contains crystals of quartz, hematite (sphalerite), and 'kidney ore'. Although this one is quite simple, some were made very elaborate.

Caption - Image shows a collection of minerals gathered together to create a display, then put into a box frame behind glass.

Wire-splicing tools from the Scordale mines, Eden valley

The image below shows hand-tools used to set up and repair the multi-strand wires ropes of an aerial rope-way in Scordale. This was used to transport ores downhill to the smelt mill.

Hilton Smelt Mill, Scordale, c. 1910

Galloway ponies had once carried ores down from the mines to the Mill. The steam traction engine seen here was a more efficient source of power. By this time the Mill was being used for crushing ores of barytes. From an photograph belonging to Mrs D Hinchclife, 1989

Miners at entrance to the Scordale mines

Mining in Scordale has a long history. The mines were worked for lead by the London Lead Company in the nineteenth century, and later for witherite and barytes. The miners pictured here in about 1940 are (from left to right): Jack Anderson, Tom Tinkler, Tom Anderson. From a photograph belonging to Mrs D Hinchclife, 1989

Caldbeck and North Pennine minerals

The North Pennines and the Calbeck Fells are both famous for their richness in minerals. They have been mined for centuries, for copper, lead and zinc, as well as rarer elements such as silver and tungsten. Quartz, calcite, dolomite and fluorite are the most associated minerals. The beauty and rarity of many specimens makes them attractive to collectors.

Minerals Exhibits

Pyromorphite with mimetite on iron-stained quartz. Roughton gill, Caldbeck Fells (below)

Pyromorphite – prismatic and massive forms, with quartz. Roughton gill, Caldbeck Fells (below)

Marcasite on calcite. Potts Gill, Caldbeck Fells (below)

Brochantite with fibrous malachite. Roughton Gill, Caldbeck Fells (below)

Hemimorphite - massive botryoidal form. Roughton gill, Caldbeck Fells (below)

Pyromorphite. Roughton Gill, Caldbeck Fells (below)

Pyromorphite with plumbogummite. Roughton Gill, Caldbeck Fells (below)

Pyromorphite with quartz. Roughton gill, Caldbeck Fells (below)

Molybdenite with muscovite, on quartz. Grains Gill, Caldbeck Fells (below)

Barite: single tabular crystal encrusting witherite. Silver Band Mine, Cross Fell (below)

Yellow fluorite with galena, chalcopyrite, pyrite and dolomite. Alston Moor (below)

Sphalerite with galena and calcite. Alston Moor (below)

Fluorite on massive galena, encrusted with quartz. Rotherhope Mine, Garrigil (below)

Galena encrusted with fluorite, sphalerite and calcite. Alston Moor (below)

Calcite (‘Dog-tooth spar’) coated with hematite.Rodderup Mine, Alston Moor (below)

Barite: small crystals encrusting witherite. Blaygill mine, Alston (below)

Fluorite, calcite and quartz. Rodderhope Mine, Alston Moor (below)

Calcite – frequent as a non-economic (‘gangue’) mineral . Silverband Mine, Cross Fell, North Pennines (below)

The next blog we will be continuing our tour around the gallery and looking at fossils from a missing period of Eden's geology!

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