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Monument record MDR3055 - Riber Mine, Starkholmes, Matlock Town

Type and Period (3)

  • (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)
  • (Post Medieval to Mid 20th Century - 1540 AD to 1960 AD)
  • (Mid 20th Century - 1950 AD to 1960 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • World Heritage Site Buffer Zone

Full Description

SK 2997 5881. Early mine workings discovered by engineers prospecting for lead, driving a 9' x 8' drift at a 16 degree incline into Riber Hillside from Starkholmes. The workings were visited by S.O.K. and some were thought by him to be Roman, one vertical shaft about 1'6" x 3' with neatly squared corners is striking in comparison to the rougher work of more recent periods. (1) The 9' x 8' drift breaks ground at SK 2998 5883, the shaft is disused and the entrance barred and gated; it is not possible to visit the workings and only the modern debris is evident in the spoil mounds at the shaft head. (2) SK 300 588. Riber Mine, Starkholmes. Between two branches of the waste tip of Riber Mine, can be seen the entrance to the mine adit (1972). The entrance is now concrete lined measuring 7 x 10 (feet?). There are rail tracks still in position for a 2' 3" gauge. Three yards (2.7 metres) inside the iron gates the floor of the adit slopes down at 30 degrees. The mine was sunk in 1950, by a consortium of the Derbyshire Stone and Johannesburg Consolidated Investments. (3) In 1952 a prospecting adit was driven at Riber Mine, Matlock Bath. Although this proved unsuccessful, knowledge acquired was applied to the development of Middleton Mine, seven years later. (5) In 1950 the growing price of lead prompted Derbyshire Stone to team up with Johannesburg Consolidated Investment Company Ltd. To from Matlock Lead Mines Ltd. Exploration drifts were sunk in a variety of locations producing poor results. Interest was then focussed upon the area below High Tor, Starkholmes and Riber. Early promising drilling results were dashed when ore sites were examined in situ. Work was discontinued in April 1956 and as such Riber Mine reverted directly to Derbyshire Stone Ltd. as they were 'Lords of the Field'. Further small scale working of established ore and exploration continued until 1959 when falling lead prices resulted in final closure. Overall lead ore production from Riber in the period probably exceeded 20,000 tonnes. (6)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Corr 6" (S.O.Kay Apr 1953).
  • <2> Personal Observation: F1 FDC 11-NOV-66.
  • <3> Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Riber Mine, Starkholmes (1974).
  • <4> Unpublished document: County Treasure Recording Form. 11.30, with photo.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Thomas, I (National Stone Centre). 2012. The Lower Derwent Valley: The Exploitation and Use of Historic Building Materials. p 30.
  • <6> Article in serial: Thomas, I A. 1999. 'Tarmac's Derbyshire heritage', Tarmac Papers. Volume III, pp 325-355. p 350.



Grid reference Centred SK 2997 5882 (43m by 54m) (Centre)

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Record last edited

Dec 21 2018 9:27AM

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