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Site record MDR3461 - Merebrooksough Lead Mine, Wirksworth

Type and Period (3)

  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Meerbrooksough Mine, a late 18th - mid 19th century lead mine. The former engine house is listed, Grade II. It is constructed of limestone rubble with dressed quoins and lintels and has a plain tile roof with gabled ends. It is two storeys high with a variety of openings, some with round arched heads and a doorway with an arched head. There are stone stairs to a first floor west door. The engine house is associated with the driving of the Meerbrook sough, constructed for the draining of the Meerbrook lead mine. It is stated that this is the earliest remaining winding house in Derbyshire. The engine was removed c.1870. (1) There is a coe substantially preserved within the curtilage of the engine house, and shafts retain beehive-shaped stone cappings. (2) The engine house probably does not date from the 'driving' of the sough during the late eighteenth century, but was associated with pumping and use of the sough. (3) The Meerbrook Sough engine was originally made in May 1844 by Thornewill & Co of Burton-on-Trent. Originally sited at the Great Shaft, 624ft deep, on Wirksworth Moor, it drew material excavated in driving the sough. As the sough progressed westwardly, the engine was dismantled and the engine house demolished and both -re-erected in 1849 at the Hallam Shaft at Bolehill. Finally the engine was again dismantled and re-erected in the present engine house at Sough Lane in 1853. The shaft here was 240ft deep. At the Sough Shaft at Wirksworth the engine also worked a grinder and pump rods in the shaft by means of a tee-bob and connecting rod. (4) Next to the engine house is the coe of the mine - a low rubble limestone building with a blue-tiled roof. This is now the last such coe remaining more-or-less intact. Between the engine house and coe are the limestone blocks which supported the cage or winding drum. In line with the drum is the winding shaft, covered with a concrete slab. The are two other shafts covered with stone beehives, now rare. (5) At Meerbrook Sough Mine the main surviving features of interest are a one-storey horizontal winding engine and boiler house, and an adjacent dilapidated coe. (6) Wirksworth was one of the most important centres of the lead-mining industry and an early centre of large scale quarrying. The northern ands western sides of the town were surrounded by lead mines and a number of significant residual features remain. The most significant structure is the engine house at Meerbrook Sough Mine, a two storey building in local limestone with gritstone copings. (7) 'One of the Furnaces near this Town, for smelting Lead, is converted into a large Coppel, where the Lead is now made, and also a great Quantity of Red-lead: Near this Town are many Lead-mines and Veins of Antimony, and great Quantities of Lime-stone'. (8)

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. List entry number 1245847.
  • <2> Personal Observation: n.d.. Mr Nutter, Peak District Mines Historical Society.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Ford, T & Rieuwerts, J. 1975. Lead Mining in the Peak District, 2nd edition.
  • <4> Unpublished document: County Treasure Recording Form. 11.16, J. Rieuwerts, 11-8-1977. Photos..
  • <5> Unpublished document: Letter to the Planning Officer, [former] West Derbyshire District Council, from L Willies, 30 Sept. 1988.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Barnatt, J. 2004. An Inventory of Regionally & Nationally Important Lead Mining Sites in the Peak District. Vol. 2: Corpus of Sites. p 198, site no. B35.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 1997. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology. A Gazetteer of Sites. Part IV. Derbyshire Dales.
  • <8> Bibliographic reference: Martin, B. 1765. The Natural History of Derbyshire.



Grid reference Centred SK 28847 54562 (50m by 70m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR3530
  • EDR3545

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Record last edited

Nov 10 2023 10:46AM

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