Hill mine was first worked for lead with silver being extracted as well, the
earliest workings being via surface shafts on the Brownley Hill Vein. Records
dated 1735 from the Greenwich Hospital indicate that the mine was of no real
economic value at this time. In the middle of the 1700's the London Lead
Company took out a lease for just under 20 years. They worked the Brownley Hill
Vein in the Little Limestone and in the hazles above it, obtaining a
considerable amount of ore, but they were prevented from mining deeper by
water. To overcome the problem they drove the Brownley Hill High Level in the
sills above the Great Limestone in an attempt to reach the Little Limestone
gaining access to the bottom of old workings, however only a fraction of the
expected ore was found. The company also tried the Brownley Hill Moss Cross
Vein and Jug Vein, but due to poor ventilation they abandoned their
undertakings in this area. In all, they gave up their lease before it was
expired as the total current outlay on development brought forth very little in
At the end of 1765 a new lease was taken out by two man team
who obtained a very large amount of ore from the cross Veins as well as the
Brownley Hill Vein. The ore raised was sold to the London Lead Company. In 1795
the lease passed to the newly formed Brownley Hill Lead Company. This was a
particular lucrative time as the price of lead increased dramatically due to
the wars with France. When the price declined again the lease was sold on to
another group in 1816, which continued to work the mine under the same name of
the Brownley Hill Lead Company. The mine now was being worked for zinc as well
lead. It is during this period that the mine started to really develop. The
Bloomsberry Horse Level was driven and the previously worked veins were now
being worked from below. The horse level extended out on Guddamgill Cross Vein,
Wellgill Cross Vein, Brownley Hill North Vein, Brownley Hill Vein eventually
reaching the Brownley Hill Moss Cross and Brownley Hill High Cross Veins as
well as Jug Vein. The lead ore in the lower levels were much poorer than that
obtained in the higher horizons, however the grade of zinc ore was very good
and this contributed to the operations profitability. Production was maintained
until the middle of the 1850's.
In 1869 the mine was operating under a
different concern again, the Brownley Hill Lead Mining Company during this
period the mine was closed for a while and then reopened again with the same
workforce. In 1890 the company sold up the complete mining operation to the
Nenthead and Tynedale Lead and Zinc Company who held the lease until 1894. At
this time high grade lead ore was depleted and the Vieille Montagne Zinc
Company took over the lease in 1914 shifting operations to the extraction of
zinc ore. The mine operated until 1936. The last working of the mine was
between 1964 and 1966; when the trial Slate Sill level was driven in the Slate
Sills southeast of the Brownley Hill Moss Cross Vein.
Surface Features around the Brownley Hill mine site.
Our first trip down the mine, checking it out.
(Charlie and Mike), May 2004. .
Round Trip to
A hell of a trip taking in the extreme reaches of the mine,
with our guide Helen.
(Charlie, Helen, Mike), June 2004.
House and the Link to Nentsberry Hagg's Mine
After meaning to see
this for the last 6 months, finally we get to see the compressor house.
(Karli, Mark and Mike), 21st November 2005.
A sedate trip taking photographs and giving Karl an intro to
the mine, visiting Hagg's Level, Engine Room, BH North, and the BH Middle
(Karl and Mike), 18th May 2007.
West High Cross Vein - Revisited
Another more detailed look at the
workings on the West High Cross Vein.
(Colin, Ian, Karli, Mike and
Student Pete), 20th August 2011.
Hill Middle Vein Flats and North Middle Vein
A close look at the
North and North Middle Veins.
(Ian, Mike and Pete), 8th January
North Middle Vein / Guddhamgill Burn Cross Vein Intersection, Brownley Hill
Vein and Tatlers String
Continuing our look at the BH North Middle
Vein, a quick look up in the BH High Level, look up in BH Vein and Tatlers
(Alistair, Ian, Karli and Mike), 29th January
Brownley Hill Vein and Tatlers String
More exploration on the
Brownley Hill Vein and Tatlers String including the High Level above it,
finally the lay of the land is starting to make sense.
(Karli, Mike and
Pete), 26th February 2011.
Brownley Hill Vein Forehead and Tatlers String
To the Brownley Hill
Vein forehead, west side of Tatlers String including the High Level above it.
(Alistair, Mike and Pete), 26th March 2011.
West High Cross Vein
Our first look at the back end of Brownley Hill
and the amazing stopes.
(Alistair, Karli, Mike, Pete and Sally), 29th
Cross Vein Stopes around the Crosscut to Wellgill Cross Vein
at the more difficult to reach stopes above the crosscut from the Engine Shaft
on the way in.
(Ian, Karli, Mike, Sal and Pete), 10th March
A visit to the south east end of the mine via the High
Level round trip.
(Karli and Mike), 11th January 2014.
Hill Rigging and West High Cross Vein
Rerigging part of the access
to the High Level and exploring the south end of West High Cross
(Karli, Mike and Pete), 1st March 2014.
on the Brownley Hill Middle Vein
An introductary trip for Hannah,
visiting the flats on the southwest end of Brownley Hill Middle Vein and the
connection to Haggs.
(Hannah, Mark and Mike), 1st May
Workings on the Brownley Hill Middle Vein and The Blue Pool
years day trip for the youngens, lunch in the VM workings and a visit to the
(Hannah, Karli, Mark, Mike, Rebecca, Rosie and Sue), 1st