Mining is an activity ingrained in the society of many countries and cultures, once a thriving industry and primary source of employment and profit in many cases. Though the circumstances, methods and practicality of this activity have changed altogether, a rich history and background still remains, ready to be chipped away at and discovered. Continue reading, and allow the experts at Honister Slate to guide you through the origins of mining in The United Kingdom.
Early mining operations were a far cry from the technical equipment-heavy procedures of today, hardly surprising since the mining of copper and tin has been ongoing since the Bronze Age. Mined in Wales during a period of time between 2200 and 850 BC, Later, these materials attracted the Romans to Britain, who consequently introduced iron tools, used to source refined lead, tin and silver. Used locally and transported by ship throughout the Roman Empire, it wasn’t until the late 18th century when deep shaft mining in the UK began to develop at a startling rate – with rapid expansion throughout the 19th century and early 20th century when the industry peaked.
The Industrial Revolution occurred from around 1750 to the mid 1800s, at which time coal exports became major business. To add context to the nation’s reliance on trading fossil fuels, in the early 20th century, Britain exported as much coal as the whole world had at the start of the current millennium. Natural gas, oil, and coal are all produced in the United Kingdom to this very day, albeit not at the scale it once was. As recently as 2013, 13 million tonnes of coal were produced in the United Kingdom, employing 4,000 workers across 30 locations. Though prominent on land, large reserves of oil and natural gas are also being tapped in the North Sea.
A Lasting Legacy
The legacy of mining in The United Kingdom lives on through exhibitions, tours and guided trips – with Honister Slate’s Lake District educational tours perhaps one of the most unique. Honister mine tours offer a unique chance to delve deep underground and understand how our 450-million-year-old volcanic green slate has been mined through the ages. Guided through the entire experience by a knowledgeable tour operator, you can even daringly ascend the mineshaft and take on one of our extreme activities…if you dare…
Whether you’re looking for an exciting family day out or an unforgettable team building experience with colleagues, we can tailor our activities to meet the needs of your group. Come rain or shine, at Honister we offer a range of interior and exterior Lake District adventures that are perfect for friend groups, families, students, teams and other organisations large or small. Any questions regarding mine tours? Simply contact us at your earliest opportunity.