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.
The Brightside mine is considered to be the best remaining example of its type in Derbyshire and displays an unusually complete assemblage of mining components. Its ore bins or wash kilns are believed to be the only original examples left in the Derbyshire orefield. Building ruins and associated features are well preserved, whilst buried features will preserve technological information and details of features dating to the early life of the mine. The range of archaeological components clearly illustrates the technological transition from horse power to steam power in a small Derbyshire mine and the further transition of steam power, from lead mining only to a more diverse role incorporating a sawmill. The remains also indicate the sequence of lead ore processing through the site, from mine to ore hoppers to dressing floor; and in addition, the arrangement of power systems.
The monument is situated on a steep wooded slope and includes the ruined buildings, earthworks and buried remains of the Brightside lead mine. The mining complex is considered to be the best remaining example of its type. It is typical of workings once common in Derbyshire lead mining and is remarkable for the survival of an unusually complete range of components. This array includes particularly distinctive features such as a range of ore bins or wash kilns believed to be the only original examples left in the Derbyshire orefield. Building remains are well preserved and the surviving stratigraphy is expected to preserve details of further structures and technological information. The Brightside mine was in operation from at least 1853, when a steam engine was ordered for pumping and winding. Steam was also used for a sawmill, and possibly for crushing ore in the early stages of processing. However, a well preserved adit (a horizontal tunnel giving access to the mine) and portal testify to an earlier beginning. The arrangement of features shows that horses were initially used to pull ore to the surface, with an adit giving access to the mine. Horsepower later gave way to a steam engine driving winding gear to haul ore out of a vertical shaft. Located in the northern part of the site, immediately south of a small wooded area, the well preserved portal or archway forms the entrance to the stone- lined adit. This is thought to be the adit known as the Newcastle Way. Its size and horseshoe shape, tapering at the bottom, demonstrate that horses were used to transport ore. West of the adit, a partially collapsed shaft survives. Immediately south of the shaft the ruin of an engine house is visible as a substantial earthwork of approximately 5m by 10m, with a well preserved square chimney base at its western corner. From the shaft, ore was carried across a revetted track and tipped into ore hoppers (sometimes known as wash kilns) which stood in a range of at least four immediately below the track. These are in a good state of preservation, and are thought to be unique survivals in Derbyshire. They are sub-circular stone structures of around 1.5m diameter and height each open at the top and with a small opening to the south east. Ore would be washed here, and the water reused to serve a dressing floor immediately in front of the wash kilns. The dressing floor, where ore was further treated to separate lead-bearing particles from other materials, partially survives as an accumulation of dressing waste. A portion of the dressing floor, and possibly other remains, have been lost by landscaping. The southern portion of the site is dominated by a large ruined building or buildings south of the track, with walls standing in places to 2.5m, and earthworks representing collapsed walls. This is thought to be a sawmill used during the later life of the mine, but early dressing floors or shallow extraction features are believed to be concealed beneath it. The sawmill used the mine's steam engine, and was therefore closely associated with the mine. Buried remains, such as dressing areas and features of the pre-steam engine complex, will be preserved underneath subsequent remains at the site and will add to the substantial technological and historical information already available from visible remains. Modern field boundaries are excluded from the monument, although the ground beneath them is included.