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Home > Mines, Quarries & Sites > Pibble Lead Mine

Pibble Lead Mine (United Kingdom)


The mine lies on the north-west slopes of Pibble Hill and about 3½ miles east of Creetown. The core of the mine has been designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is also classified as Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) owing to its regional geological importance. It has the only Cornish pumping engine house in Scotland.

The vein, which may well be a continuation of that worked at Blackcraig and Cairnsmore mines, (the earlier workers thought that this was the case), strikes about 20o north of west and was proved along a strike length of more than a mile. It occurs in greywackes of Silurian age, interbedded with black shales, and averages about 4 feet in width. The vein filling is mostly quartz and barite in which ribs and lenses of galena, sphalerite and chalcopyrite occur. In the higher parts of the mine secondary minerals such as linarite, pyromorphite, cerussite, hemimorphite and malachite occur.

The workings here appear to be on a fairly considerable scale and the mine was worked for lead and copper ores from 1760 and between, 1849 and 1855, by the Creetown Copper and Lead Mining Company, who operated from the same London address as the Kirkcudbrightshire Mining Company of Cairnsmore mine at that time. In 1856 36 men, 9 boys and 3 women were employed at Pibble.

The adit level was driven south-east along the vein at an elevation of about 500 feet above OD, while the highest shaft collar lies at about 975 feet above OD. This shaft was sunk to the 25-fathom level, below adit, so that the workings reached a depth of 456 feet from surface at this point. Pumping was carried out by a steam engine which was erected at the shaft in 1853.

The lead ore at this mine was found to contain about 40 ozs. silver per ton , while the copper ore assayed at 107 ozs. per ton. (These figures are taken from the Manager's reports, made at the time of working.)

The figures of output which have been seen are far from being complete, but between 1850 and 1855, 214½ tons of copper ore concentrate and 29 tons of lead ore concentrate are recorded, as well as a cwt of Silver

The principal features of this mine are the ruins of a Cornish Engine House, waste tips, a waterwheel pit, reservoir, mine shafts and adit portals. The only open workings are high up the mountain. A level containing considerable water leads in 44 yards to a side branch which soon closes in a forehead. Onward another 46 yards brings one to the foot of a shaft which connects with the surface. A careful squeeze between rubble and the roof leads to a large stope also connected with the surface by means of a small level rather higher up the mountain.

The Cornish Engine House, marked N 21 on the plan, was built for a Cornish steam-pumping engine. The engine is reputed to have been made in 1852 by the St Austell foundry in Cornwall. The engine house originally measured 15 m high, 9 m in length and 6 m wide with walls c0.8m thick. It is constructed of Creetown granite quoins (corner stones). The `bob' wall has collapsed into the pumping shaft. The main features of the Cornish Engine House that still survive are: Three sides of the Cornish engine house; lower sections of the boiler house walls; footings for the flue leading from the boiler house; chimney stack base adjoining the flue; balance bob box housing fabric; pumping shaft where water was extracted.

The engine house stood complete in 1952 but since then the bob wall (front side facing north) has collapsed into the pumping shaft. Stone robbing and the weather has taken its toll on the building.

Photos of Pibble Lead Mine

Historic Photographs Of Pibble
Historic Photographs Of Pibble (17 photos)
Last updated February 3rd 2011 by bigdavevw
Photographs Of Pibble
Photographs Of Pibble (0 photos)
Last updated June 10th 2007 by rhychydwr

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Major Mining Region

Pibble Lead Mine belongs to the South West Scotland region.

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