The Museum of Lead Mining and Village of Wanlockhead
Located in Dumfries and Galloway, the fascinating Museum of Lead Mining invites visitors to explore an old lead mine whilst gaining insight into the industry as well as the village of Wanlockhead in which it is situated. This is a truly remarkable adventure back in time, which is both educational and entertaining.
The Museum of Lead Mining’s Visitor Center stands in the center of Scotland’s highest built village, Wanlockhead. Located at 1531 ft above sea level, Wanlockhead was originally known as Smiddy. At the Visitor Center you will be able to find out all about lead ore, also known as galena, as well as what lead products are in use today. Your eyes are certain to shine with delight as you view the museum’s impressive collection of minerals. Here you will also gain insight into the people who resided in the village over the years. The well-established Visitors’ Trail will guide you to the various features of this marvelous museum.
From the Visitor’s Center you may wish to stop in at the Wanlockhead Miner’s Library which was founded in November 1756. These books benefit many young people residing in Wanlockhead, providing them with knowledge so that they could look for employment away from the mine. The library had to be closed in 1938 after the close of the mine. The Museum of Lead Mining decided to restore the building and reopen it for the public to see. An interactive computer in the library gives detailed information on the Lorimer family who lived in Wanlockhead during the 1800s.
Departing from the library you can make your way to the Lochnell mine. Your well-trained guide can provide fascinating information on how things were done and what changes were implemented over the years. Find out what minerals have been uncovered in the mine as well as mining methods. It is truly remarkable to learn how the miners worked in the mine, the risks they faced and how this affected them.
Moving on you will come to the Wanlockhead Beam Engine. This is a fine example of the beam engines which were established here to pump water, in fact, it is the only surviving example in the United Kingdom. Next on the trail is the Straitsteps Cottages. These will give you a good idea as to the lifestyle of miners during the 1700s and 1800s. From there you will come to the Meadowfoot Cemetery, a mile away from the quaint village. This graveyard was created in 1751.
If you are visiting Dumfries and Galloway, be sure to set aside 3 hours to explore the exceptional Museum of Lead Mining.