Museum of Lead Mining

Dumfries & Galloway | Wanlockhead | Museum | ★★★

[Guided tours of Lochnell Mine are part of the museum experience]

The Museum of Lead Mining can be found at Wanlockhead, a remote village high in the Lowther Hills. It therefore takes a little effort to reach, but this is one of the best museums in southern Scotland. There are 5 parts to the site. Start in the middle of the village at the museum's visitor centre, incorporating a fair-sized museum (1) outlining the region's mining heritage. Lead, gold, silver and zinc (and more) are all found locally, with numerous mines operating between about 1700 and the mid-1900s. Just uphill you can look around the Miners' Library (2). Established in 1756, this is Europe's second oldest subscription library, pipped to the post by Leadhills Miners Library (open summer weekends) a couple of miles away. At the heart of the museum experience is a guided tour of Lochnell Mine (3). After donning helmets you're lead (geddit?) for a few hundred metres into the depths of Wanlock Dodd - probably a lot safer than it used to be! Re-emerging from the underworld, the tour continues to a row of miners' cottages (4), restored to represent living conditions for miners from 1750, 1850 and 1910 respectively. Finally, a well-preserved beam engine (5) can be found just downhill from the cottages - this is cared for by Historic Environment Scotland and is free to visit. This ingenious water pumping device dates from 1870 and was used to drain water from mines. Powered by gravity and the water itself, it's the only surviving example in Britain which is still completely intact.

[Beam Engine]

Location & info

📌 Museum of Lead Mining ★★★★
Visitor centre is on Toll Brae, Wanlockhead village centre, G.R.: NS 873129 ///depths.runways.diggers. Other parts of the site are up to a 5-min walk away on steep paths and roads.
Open daily, mid April to late September | £12.50 adult / £7.90 child for ticket covering all the sites

📌 Wanlockhead Beam Engine
Just off Church Street, west side of Wanlockhead, G.R.: NS 870131 ///genius.stir.swordfish
Always open | Free



[Mining display]

[Miners' Library - Europe's second oldest subscription library]

[Miners' Library]

[Mining landscape]

[Lochnell Mine]

[Lochnell Mine]

[Miners' cottages (Straitsteps)]

[Miners' cottages]

[Miners' cottages]

[Museum displays]

[Museum displays]

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