Diary – James Losh – 29 Jul 1828

Document Type: Diary
Date: 29 Jul 1828
Correspondent: James Losh
Archive Source: SS Losh Diaries
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I went into one of the principle lead mines, about 2 miles in extent and 120 fathoms deep.  We went most part of the way in waggons but were let down by a rope in two places from ten to 20 fathoms and descended a considerable way by 30 short ladders fixed one above another on projecting parts of the rock, making altogether a height of about, I suppose, 60 or 70 fathoms.   I suffered very little inconvenience in going down but felt the labor of coming up tedious and fatiguing.   Mounting the ladders in particular tired me and put me so much out of breath so that I was obliged to rest several times as I ascended, but I did not afterwards suffer any inconvenience from this over-exertion.   The mine was upon the whole well ventilated but in places I felt the air close and unfit for easy respiration.   This was I believe occasioned by the explosion of the gunpowder with which the working of  the ore is here carried on.   

Different parts of the mine are let to different small parties of workmen, who are generally paid so much per BING for the ore washed and fit to be melted into lead.

I do not think the wages of miners upon an average at present above 15s per week: children, however, may be employed at small wages, and they have some advantages as to houses and  grassing for cows ec.   Many, however, of the workmen come from a distance bringing their week's food with them and 6 or 8 of them lodging and cooking in single rooms.

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The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project aimed to celebrate and discover the heritage of the Dukesfield Arches & lead carriers' routes between Blaydon and the lead mines of Allendale and Weardale. A two year community project, it was led by the Friends of the North Pennines in partnership with Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the active support of Allendale Estates. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the generous support of other sponsors. Friends of the North Pennines: Charity No:1137467