Mine works in Northern England – Industrial heritage becomes geotourism

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Commendium is often requested to assist with mine works filming and conservation projects but rarely both at the same time. We were invited by veteran geologist Andy Freem and his wife Antonia, to scan elements of the Nenthead Mines, near Alston in Cumbria to provide complementary material a film he was producing. The film opens with aerial video captured by our professional drone operator. It shows the whole mine workings above ground. This video was processed into a  3D model using Pix4D. Underground, we scanned, using 3D laser scanning (LiDAR) methods, two sections of the Smallcleugh Mine, which is part of the overall Nenthead mine complex.

The purpose of the film is to record and inform with a view to encouraging its conservation. The first scanning target was a Whimsey Chamber, where a horse was brought underground to walk around in circles to provide power to lift and lower items down the adjacent shaft. It is quite remarkable how much of this feature remains. The 3D models illustrate it in fine detail but also inform the viewer as to its construction in ways that pure video cannot do.

The second scan illustrates some ‘flats’. These are areas where miners hacked and blasted out lead ore from valuable veins. It illustrates the incredible, stonework to create arches and build stacks to support the roof as ore is extracted. This was all largely done by hand.

Nenthead Mine Works Film

The film can be viewed on YouTube and offers a rich and fascinating illustration of the mine. The whole area around Nenthead still has many former mine works and invokes a timeless picture of life in Victorian England. Whilst this mine is easily and freely visited, if you are not experienced in the underground activities we would recommend hiring a guide or going on a guided tour.

If you would like further information on this project, please contact us on 0330 119 0000 or contact us via the website