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Malcom Newton painting of Old Shaft area, Snailbeach mine

Background
Two hundred years ago, the English Midlands county of Shropshire contained some of the most heavily industrialised areas in the world.

Now the county is the image of a peaceful rural English shire but the importance of its past contribution to world civilisation is internationally recognised. Many industrial archaeology sites remain as witness to this past.

Snailbeach was once considered "the richest mine per acre of ground in Europe", and was one of the most famous lead mines of Britain. The Romans probably mined the lead ore Galena on this site first and they were certainly busy at nearby mines in the upland country of the Stiperstones around 120AD.

After the Romans left, there seems to have been little mining until the late 18th century when Snailbeach and other Shropshire mines enjoyed a bonanza lasting around 150 years.

A sample of Galena - Lead Sulphide
Old truck in Perkins' level

After 1900
Snailbeach was worked for lead until 1911 when the reserves of ore were almost exhausted and the lower levels below the drainage adit were allowed to flood. Lesser Shropshire lead mines had had to close 15 years earlier due to falling ore prices.

Barite was mined from the upper levels until the 1950's and some prospecting was done in the 1960's but today the prospect for Snailbeach is as a national heritage site.

Many of the buildings dating from the years of prosperity are still standing and experienced cavers can still explore the awesome cavernous workings deep underground.

I.A.Recordings have visited Snailbeach regularly since 1978 and we have produced several video programmes with the help of the SCMC, the Shropshire Caving and Mining Club.

The production "Snailbeach" is a history of the mine and uses present-day footage recorded above and below ground together with historic photographs and animated diagrams. The short production "Visiting Snailbeach" was made especially for the visitor centre at the mine.

New headframe over Old Shaft.

Montage of old Snailbeach photographs

 

 

The images on this page are taken from the videos "Snailbeach" and "Visiting Snailbeach".

Several compilations are also available or are in preparation.

Also see the to the Shrosphire Lead mines map the Shropshire Lead Mines Site Feature