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Nenthead

Trip Planner Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Cumbria  /  Nenthead
The small village of Nenthead in the county of Cumbria is one of England's highest villages, at around 450 m (1,500 feet). It was not built until the middle of the 18th century and was one of the earliest purpose-built industrial villages in Britain. Nenthead was a major centre for lead and silver mining in the North Pennines of Britain. The first smelt mill was built at Nenthead in 1737 by George Liddle, and this was subsequently expanded by the London Lead Company. By 1882 the smelt mill was capable of smelting 8,000 bings of ore per annum.Nenthead in 1861 was a bustling village of some 2,000 people, mostly Methodist and employed by the Quaker-owned London Lead Company in the Nenthead Mines - some of the most productive in the country. The benevolent Quakers built, amongst other things, housing, a school, a reading room, public baths and a wash-house for the miners and their families. Nenthead was the first village in the UK to have electric street lighting from excess power generated by the mines. The mines were responsible for as many good things as well as bad, life expectancy was short but the children were being educated.For many mine explorers Nenthead is a mecca as many miles of accessible mines remain. It features some of the most stunning mines in the country with several horse whims and an 80 m (260-foot) engine shaft in Rampghill. The mines closed in 1961 and there is a heritage centre displaying their history.The economy of the village is based on tourism and it is the headquarters of a bus & coach operator. England's most popular long distance cycle route, the C2C, passes through Nenthead. The Grade 2 listed Wesleyan Methodist chapel has not been used since 2002 but a recent Heritage Lottery Grant of £134,500 has raised hopes of it becoming a cafe and community hub. The post office and community shop occupies the building which was once a reading room for the miners.
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