Report - - Harrybecca Lead/Fluorspar mine, Hassop, Derbyshire, April-June 2021 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Harrybecca Lead/Fluorspar mine, Hassop, Derbyshire, April-June 2021


28DL Regular User
Regular User
1. The History
Harrybecca and Evans Gin Mines are located on Hassop Common, due north of the Derbyshire village of Hassop. They form a complex series of vein stopes with a number of entrances and deep open-cuts that were originally worked for lead, and then, at a later date, re-worked for fluorspar. The earliest use of the mine is unknown but shallow workings date back to the early 18th century. In the second half of the 18th century, the mine was part of the Brightside Mine title. Brightside Mine, as a consolidated holding that included Harrybecca, fell out of use shortly after the end of the Napoleonic wars and on an OS map dated 1879, it shows the mine complex labelled as "disused".

To the west of the area are a number of lead-mining stopes (an excavation in a mine from which ore is extracted) that were partially reworked for fluorspar in the 20th century, in the 1940s and 50s, when the mine was known locally as Bacon’s Mine. Named after the then owner, George Edward Bacon of Youlgreave, he also worked White Coe mine, under the collective title of “Hassop Mines” . The mine was equipped with two compressors, and a log-washer was also erected on the site. Worked on a limited basis using pick and shovel, it was described as a "Fluorspar and Barytes mine suppling calcite spar for pebble-dashing, rockery spar, furnace stone and building stone and gritstone". At the lower, eastern end can be found two underground tramway levels associated with the later 20th century workings. The lower of the two tramways opens out onto a retained platform, with a collapsed timber-framed corrugated-iron shed below and a chute to a loading point at the base of the slope. Higher up, the upper tramway level traversed an open stope on a now largely collapsed timber platform before coming to the surface at the top of another cute, which took the ore down to the dressing area.

The mine retains a number of surface features including shafts, ruined buildings including a ‘coe’ (a Derbyshire term for a small stone-built shed where miners kept their tools and a change of clothing), concrete platforms and the remains of a large walled enclosure. Certain sections of the two mines were not modified by the fluorspar workings and, as a consequence, retain evidence of old mining techniques, including that of 'firesetting', which can still be identified with careful observation.

Aerial picture of the mine taken in 1962:

Key: A – Bacon’s access track, B – Chute for loading processed minerals to loading point, C – Dressing floor outside lower entrance, D – Opencut and entrance to upper level, E – Opencut of the southern stope of the Harrybecca vein, F – Opencut of the east end of the northern stope on Evans Gin vein, G – Opencut/upper entrance at the west end of the northern stope on Evans Gin vein, H – ruins of lead mining buildings at White Coe mine.

Inspection of the underground workings in a 1993 survey confirmed that mine contained features of geological and archaeological importance. A 15m deep climbing shaft retains the collapsed remains of a fixed iron ladder, thought to have been put in during fluorspar prospecting in the 1940s. It leads to a complex of small passages in several narrow interconnecting east/west veins. Here can be found an example of the “pillar and stall” working method, not seen in any other lead mine in Britain.

An old tub from fluorspar mining days, circa 1952:

2. The Explore
On Hassop Common, it’s a lovely neck of the woods and great stroll over to the mine. It’s well worth several hours of your time and there’s plenty over-ground too. You can spend an hour or so just hunting through the many waste tips looking for fossils. With the bottom level tramway adit badly collapsed, the easiest way into the mine complex is via the top western entrance. Even then, that isn’t that easy due to the steep gradient.

These pictures were taken over several visits. There’s also other mines in the vicinity and you could quite easily spend a day in the lovely corner of Derbyshire.

3. The Pictures
On the way up to the mine:

Chute to get the processed minerals to the loading point. An old lorry-back was adapted as an ore-chute by the Bacons in the 20th Century fluorspar mine:

One of the mine's many stopes:

Retaining wall near the end of the southern open-cut/tramway exit:

Loose spoil heap of deads, running down the hill from the tramway exit.

And an old sleeper:

Dressing area:

Adit for the lower tramway entrance:

And looking back out:

Inside the adit:

When roof supports support no more:

Minerals inside the adit:

And up to the easiest way into the mine, through the top end of the northern open-cut, which slopes steeply down and is soon underground:

There’s some lovely mineral formations in here:

And rock formations:

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Love that mate. A right nice mixture of stuff there as well. You spend more underground than above it lately ha ha

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