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Greenside Mine Glenridding

Across the lake from this spot you can see the village of Glenridding and, at the head of the valley, the Greenside Lead Mine.

The Greenside Lead Mine was one of the biggest in the UK and a major employer in the Ullswater Valley for over 200 years. The earliest date of working is unknown, but it re-opened in 1825 and ran continuously until its final closure in January 1962.

It supplied both sides during the American Civil War: 500 ingots of lead, from Greenside were found on the Prince Albert which was sunk off the South Carolina coast after trying to run through the Union blockade.

In 1893 it became the first metal mine in the UK to have an electric underground locomotive and winding engine supplied by a hydro-electric power station near Red Tarn under the slopes of Helvellyn.

During the Second World War it became the significant producer of Lead for the war effort.

Throughout its life the mine directly employed hundreds of people. Many workers came from all over the country, some walking many miles from far away villages with a week’s supply of food and travelling back at the weekend to see their families.

The company made Glenridding, building 52 cottages in the village and others around the parish. It built a school at Seldom Seen, which closed in 1913, and contributed to Patterdale School which is still there today.

There were accidents and disasters, the most famous being when the dam at Keppel Cove burst in 1927 after a night of exceptional rainfall. Four female staff in the Glenridding hotel were rescued by the boot boy from being swept away.

Greenside always embraced new technologies, some developed by the mine workers, ensuring it stayed open while others closed. It is hard to comprehend the impact closure had on the community, where before, virtually every house was locally occupied and there were nearly 100 children at the primary school. It is a totally different picture today.

The village of Glenridding still holds the stories of the miners, their families and their way of life.  For more information about Greenside Mine go to The Mine Explorer website

By Warren Allison, local historian


View to Greenside - Photo Credit © Cecilia Fry Ullswater Way