Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project

The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project grew from local concern about the state of the Dukesfield Arches. Working together, the parishes of Slaley and Hexhamshire with the Friends of the North Pennines raised the funds to repair the arches and this has now been done. The Dukesfield Arches look magnificent again.

But the Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers project is about much more than the Arches. Dukesfield was a huge lead smelting mill for about one hundred and fifty years, finally closing in the 1830’s. Here was a buzzing hive of activity with lead ore pouring down from the North Pennines carried on the backs of pack ponies to be turned into lead by the skilled men who sweated at the lead  hearths or furnaces. From here a further stream of ponies and carts carried the pieces of shiny lead down to the River Tyne at Blaydon. What was life like for all these workers and their families? Who were they, where did they live and what did they do?

The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project found some of these long hidden stories, and carried out a whole range of activities which engaged a lot of people up and down the length of the old lead road, and linking them together. Our video summarises the achievements of our project – we’re very proud!



This project links the North Pennines lead mines with early industrial Tyneside
Project team
More than 1300 days of volunteering
Can we Dig it? Yes we can!
Conserving the Arches
Architectural Heritage consolidation and conservation... and an innovative solution!
168 trainees - archiving, archaeology, web & social media, genealogy, lime mortaring....
Panels and leaflets, milestones, drama, talks and events - what fun we've had!
Project Blog
Just about everything we got up to throughout the project
Did we do well?
Project Documents
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