Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum

Last updated

Ruston steam shovel and narrow gauge train at the Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum Threlkeld Quarry & Mining Museum - train and navvy (geograph 4585364).jpg
Ruston steam shovel and narrow gauge train at the Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum

The Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum is located in Threlkeld three miles (4.8 km) east of Keswick, in the heart of the Lake District in Cumbria. It is suited for families, school classes and enthusiasts. It includes a quarry with a unique collection of historic machinery, such as locomotives and cranes, an underground tour of a realistic mine, a comprehensive geological and mining museum and mineral panning.

Threlkeld farm village in the United Kingdom

Threlkeld is a village and civil parish in the north of the Lake District in Cumbria, England, to the east of Keswick. It lies at the southern foot of Blencathra, one of the more prominent fells in the northern Lake District, and to the north of the River Glenderamackin.

Keswick, Cumbria Town and parish in the English Lake District National Park

Keswick is an English market town and a civil parish, historically in Cumberland, and since 1974 in the Borough of Allerdale in Cumbria. Lying within the Lake District National Park, Keswick is just north of Derwentwater and is 4 miles (6.4 km) from Bassenthwaite Lake. It had a population of 4,821 at the 2011 census.

The Lake District, also known as the Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous for its lakes, forests and mountains, and its associations with William Wordsworth and other Lake Poets and also with Beatrix Potter and John Ruskin. The Lake District National Park was established in 1951 and covers an area of 2,362 square kilometres. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.



Outdoor display Threlkeld Mining museum (5673763174).jpg
Outdoor display

Threlkeld Quarry originally opened in 1870 to supply railway ballast to the Penrith-Keswick line. Later, the stone was used by the Manchester Corporation Water Works for their Thirlmere scheme, for railway ballast for the Crewe-Carlisle line, for roadstone, kerbing and for facing buildings with dressed stone. The granite quarry finally closed in 1982 and is now the site for the Threlkeld Quarry & Mining Museum which is run by a group of staff and volunteers. [1]

Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway transport company

The Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway (CK&PR) was an English railway company incorporated by Act of Parliament on 1 August 1861, to build a line connecting the town of Cockermouth with the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) West Coast Main Line at Penrith. Arrangements for the use of the stations at either end were included. Passenger and goods traffic was worked by the LNWR and mineral traffic by the North Eastern Railway, both of whom had shares in the company. The line was 31 12 miles (50.7 km) in length, and had eight intermediate stations.

Thirlmere reservoir in the United Kingdom

Thirlmere is a reservoir in the Borough of Allerdale in Cumbria and the English Lake District. The Helvellyn ridge lies to the east of Thirlmere. To the west of Thirlmere are a number of fells; for instance, Armboth Fell and Raven Crag both of which give views of the lake and of Helvellyn beyond. It runs roughly south to north and is bordered on the eastern side for much of its length by the A591 road and on the western side by a minor road. It occupies the site of a former natural lake: this had a fordable waist so narrow that it was sometimes regarded as two lakes. In the 19th century Manchester Corporation constructed a dam at the northern end, raising the water level, flooding the valley bottom, and creating a reservoir to provide the growing industrial city of Manchester with water supplies via the 96 mile-long Thirlmere Aqueduct. The reservoir and the aqueduct still provide water to the Manchester area, but under the Water Act 1973 ownership passed to the North West Water Authority; as a result of subsequent privatisation and amalgamation they are now owned and managed by United Utilities, a private water and waste water company.

West Coast Main Line Railway route in Britain

The West Coast Main Line (WCML) is one of the most important railway corridors in the United Kingdom, connecting the major cities of London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and Glasgow. It is one of the busiest mixed-traffic railway routes in Europe, carrying a mixture of intercity rail, regional rail, commuter rail and rail freight traffic. The core route of the WCML runs from London to Glasgow, with branches diverging to Northampton, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, totalling a route mileage of 700 miles (1,127 km). Services from London to North Wales and Edinburgh also run via the WCML; however the main London-Edinburgh route is the East Coast Main Line. In addition, several sections of the WCML form part of the suburban railway systems in London, Coventry, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow, with many more smaller commuter stations, as well as providing links to more rural towns.

The extensive quarry site has ample space for the display of the unique collection of vintage excavators and old quarry machinery.


Narrow gauge tipper trucks Threlkeld quarry - off the rails (geograph 4585267).jpg
Narrow gauge tipper trucks

The track of the 2 ft (610 mm) gauge quarry railway has been relaid and provides a ride into the inner quarry for visitors to view the quarry faces in safety. Several locomotives are in regular use and others are on display in the Top Shed.

Sir Tom

The steam locomotive 'Sir Tom' was built by W.G. Bagnall of Stafford in 1926 and named after Sir Tom Callender of British Insulated Callender's Cables (BICC). This 0-4-0 saddle tank narrow gauge locomotive worked at BICC in Kent until 1968. After being idle for thirty three years, it arrived at Threlkeld in 2001, and since then has been completely overhauled. Sir Tom was rebuilt and is driven by Ian Hartland. The locomotive completed the first full season of work at Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum in 2010. Sir Tom is mainly used to haul passenger trains from the middle quarry into the inner quarry. [2]

Stafford county town of Staffordshire, in the West Midlands of England

Stafford is the county town of Staffordshire, in the West Midlands of England. It lies approximately 16 miles (26 km) north of Wolverhampton, 18 miles (29 km) south of Stoke-on-Trent and 24 miles (39 km) north-west of Birmingham. The population in 2001 was 63,681 and that of the wider borough of Stafford 122,000, the third largest in the county after Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Thomas Octavius Callender Scottish electrical engineer

Sir Thomas Octavius Callender was an engineer and businessman, who promoted the electrical industry.

British Insulated Callenders Cables

British Insulated Callender's Cables (BICC) was a 20th-century British cable manufacturer and construction company, now renamed after former subsidiary Balfour Beatty.


Hunslet diesel locomotive Diesel locomotive, Threlkeld Quarry & Mining Museum (geograph 3474733).jpg
Hunslet diesel locomotive

The 0-4-0 Hunslet diesel locomotive with 50 hp was built in 1945 and used by the National Coal Board in the South Yorkshire area. It was retrieved from the underground prior to a colliery closing. I has been modified at the Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum to make it more suitable for passenger trains and is regularly used.

0-4-0 Locomotive wheel arrangement

Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 0-4-0 represents one of the simplest possible types, that with two axles and four coupled wheels, all of which are driven. The wheels on the earliest four-coupled locomotives were connected by a single gear wheel, but from 1825 the wheels were usually connected with coupling rods to form a single driven set.

Hunslet inner-city area in south Leeds, West Yorkshire, England

Hunslet is an inner-city area in south Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It is 1 mile (1.6 km) southeast of the city centre and has an industrial past.

Horsepower Unit of power

Horsepower (hp) is a unit of measurement of power, or the rate at which work is done. There are many different standards and types of horsepower. Two common definitions being used today are the mechanical horsepower, which is about 745.7 watts, and the metric horsepower, which is approximately 735.5 watts.


The Ruston 48 DL diesel locomotive from 1947 was used by the Royal Navy Armaments Depot in Broughton Nook, near Cockermouth. It was acquired, when the depot closed in 1994, and was regauged from 2 ft 6 in (760 mm) to 2 ft (610 mm) and fitted with air braking so it can operate passenger trains and it is in regular use.

Ruston (engine builder) engine company

Ruston & Hornsby was an industrial equipment manufacturer in Lincoln, England founded in 1918. The company is best known as a manufacturer of narrow and standard gauge diesel locomotives and also of steam shovels. Other products included cars, steam locomotives and a range of internal combustion engines, and later gas turbines. It is now a subsidiary of Siemens.

Underground mine

The museum now has a new underground mine which has been developed with the help and collaboration with the Cumbria Amenity Trust Mining History Society and some volunteers. A guided tour through a reconstructed lead and copper mine is one of the highlights of the museum (dependent on weather and staff availability. To be confirmed by phone). Mineral panning is optionally available.


The museum has been in operation for more than ten years, and the site continues to expand through the dedication of the staff and volunteers. The museum is open 7 days a week from Easter to October. [3]

Mining Room

The Mining Room exhibits artefacts, plans and photographs of explorations of many mines in the Lake District, which exploited ores of copper, iron, lead, zinc, tungsten, graphite, barites and fluorite. A representative display of local minerals can be seen, and there is a section on lighting, drilling and explosives.

The Quarry Room

The Quarry Room explains the relationship between the geology of the Lake District and the quarrying of local limestone, sandstone, granite and slate. Samples of rocks from all the important local formations are fixed to a large table map. Photographs and rock samples from more than fifty old and more recent quarries are displayed to illustrate the special features of each.

Open air exhibition

Related Research Articles

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is a 15 in minimum gauge heritage railway in Cumbria, England. The 7 miles (11.3 km) line runs from Ravenglass to Dalegarth Station near Boot in the valley of Eskdale, in the Lake District. At Ravenglass the line ends at Ravenglass railway station on the Cumbrian Coast Line.

Talyllyn Railway Narrow gauge railway in north Wales

The Talyllyn Railway is a narrow gauge preserved railway in Wales running for 7 14 miles (12 km) from Tywyn on the Mid-Wales coast to Nant Gwernol near the village of Abergynolwyn. The line was opened in 1865 to carry slate from the quarries at Bryn Eglwys to Tywyn, and was the first narrow gauge railway in Britain authorised by Act of Parliament to carry passengers using steam haulage. Despite severe under-investment, the line remained open, and in 1951 it became the first railway in the world to be preserved as a heritage railway by volunteers.

Rutland Railway Museum Railway museum in Oakham, Rutland

Rutland Railway Museum, now trading as Rocks by Rail: The Living Ironstone Museum, is a heritage railway on part of a former Midland Railway mineral branch line. It is situated north east of Oakham, in Rutland, England.

Bala Lake Railway railway line

The Bala Lake Railway is a narrow-gauge railway along the southern shore of Bala Lake in Gwynedd, North Wales. The line, which is 4 12 miles (7.2 km) long, is built on a section of the former standard-gauge Ruabon–Barmouth GWR route that closed in 1965. Another section of the former permanent way is used by the Llangollen Railway. The Bala Lake Railway, which runs on 2 ft -gauge preserved rolling stock, is a member of the Great Little Trains of Wales.

Steeple Grange Light Railway heritage railway at Wirksworth, Derbyshire, England

The Steeple Grange Light Railway is a heritage railway at Wirksworth in Derbyshire, UK. It uses industrial locomotives and rolling stock from disused mines, quarries, and steelworks around the country.

Steam shovel steam-powered excavation machine

A steam shovel is a large steam-powered excavating machine designed for lifting and moving material such as rock and soil. It is the earliest type of power shovel or excavator. Steam shovels played a major role in public works in the 19th and early 20th century, being key to the construction of railroads and the Panama Canal. The development of simpler, cheaper diesel-powered shovels caused steam shovels to fall out of favor in the 1930s.

Llanberis Lake Railway llanberis lake railway

The Llanberis Lake Railway is a 1 ft 11 12 in narrow gauge heritage railway that runs for 2.5 miles (4 km) along the northern shore of Llyn Padarn in north Wales in the Snowdonia National Park. The starting point is the town of Llanberis at the eastern end of the lake, with the western terminus at Pen Llyn in the Padarn Country Park. The return journey takes around 60 minutes.

The Plynlimon and Hafan Tramway was a 2 ft 3 in gauge narrow gauge railway in Cardiganshire in Mid Wales. It ran from Llanfihangel station on the Cambrian Railways via the village of Talybont and the valley of the Afon Leri into the foothills of Plynlimon Fawr. It was built to serve the lead mines at Bwlch Glas and stone quarries around Hafan and opened in 1897, closing just two years later. The line was a little over 7 miles (11 km) long and despite running a short-lived passenger service, it served no communities of more than 100 people.

British narrow-gauge railways

There were more than a thousand British narrow-gauge railways ranging from large, historically significant common carriers to small, short-lived industrial railways. Many notable events in British railway history happened on narrow-gauge railways including the first use of steam locomotives, the first public railway and the first preserved railway.

Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum

The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum is the official state railroad museum of Alabama. Dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and operation of historically significant railway equipment, the museum is located at 1919 Ninth Street, Calera, Alabama, on I-65 approximately 30 miles (48 km) south of Birmingham.

Honister Slate Mine mine in the United Kingdom

The Honister Slate Mine in Cumbria is the last working slate mine in England. Quarrying for Westmorland green slate has been taken place in the area since 1728. Apart from the mining, it is also a popular tourist attraction in the Lake District National Park.

Hallbankgate village in United Kingdom

Hallbankgate is a village in Cumbria, England, 13 miles (21 km) east of Carlisle. A former coal and lead mining village, it straddles the A689 Brampton to Alston road. Limestone is quarried here and it once had a gasworks and a forge. The village has a primary school and a pub. There are three other hamlets in the civil parish, Farlam, Kirkhouse and Tindale.

RNAD Broughton Moor

RNAD Broughton Moor is a decommissioned Royal Naval Armaments Depot located between Great Broughton and Broughton Moor in the County of Cumbria, England.

Rowrah village in Cumbria, England

Rowrah is a village in Cumbria and spans the civil parishes of Arlecdon and Frizington and Lamplugh. The majority of Rowrah is within Arlecdon and Frizington. The parish boundaries are formed from the Windergill Beck and Colliergate Beck: as such nine properties, Rowrah Hall Farm, Rowrah Hall, Ainsdale House, Rowrah Head, four properties on Pheasants Rise and Rowrah Station technically fall within Lamplugh.

Mine railway industrial railway used in mining

A mine railway, sometimes pit railway, is a railway constructed to carry materials and workers in and out of a mine. Materials transported typically include ore, coal and overburden. It is little remembered, but the mix of heavy and bulky materials which had to be hauled into and out of mines gave rise to the first several generations of railways, at first made of wood rails, but eventually adding protective iron, steam locomotion by fixed engines and the earliest commercial steam locomotives, all in and around the works around mines.

Tindale, Cumbria village in United Kingdom

Tindale or Tindale Fell is a hamlet in the parish of Farlam in the City of Carlisle district of the English county of Cumbria. It is to the south of the A689 Brampton to Alston road. It is a former mining village- both coal and lead were mined here. Limestone was quarried here.

Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum

The Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum exists to preserve and interpret the historic extractive industries in ball clay mining in the Isle of Purbeck. The museum is located adjacent to Norden station on the Swanage Railway and is open from the end of March to the end of September on weekends, some weekdays and Bank Holidays.


Coordinates: 54°36′47″N3°02′49″W / 54.6130789°N 3.0470752°W / 54.6130789; -3.0470752