Humanities Visit to Killhope Lead Mining Museum - October 2012
Year 8 were taken to Killhope Lead Mine as part of the Humanities studies. The purpose of the visit was to learn about life during the 19th century and the processes involved in the production of lead - a popular metal which was widely used in the 19th century before it was discovered that the metal was in fact poisonous. However, the lead ore which was once mined at Killhope is safe - it was the smelting process afterwards which turned the ore into lead metal.
On Friday 5th October, our class went to Killhope Lead Mining Village, Durham. The visit was part of a humanities project to learn about what life would have been like in the 19th century. When we arrived we were met by our guides and split into two groups. We then set off to learn about the mine and what life would have been like. We first went into the Lodging Shop to learn what the sleeping conditions would have been like; they were not good! TB, Black Spit and Foot Rot were a few of the health issues described - common for the miners! We also had a trip down the mine to see the working conditions would have been like. I found out that the miners often worked in groups, some working with their relatives, known as 'bargains'. I was suprised to learn that the candles they used were made of 'tallow candles' made from animal fat. After lunch we headed down to the Washing Floor to learn what the young boys would have done. We had a go ourselves at the many activities and were lucky enough to discover plenty of Galena - Lead Ore - which we were able to keep. The Washing Floor was used to seperate the Galena from the rock in order to prepare t for smelting. Overall it was an exciting day and we learnt a lot from it. Written by Ben Dickenson Year 8
I thought our visit to Killhope was very interesting. My favourite activity was searching for Galena on the Washing Floor. We found lots of Galena using the different outdoor apparatus and the conditions were cold and wet! I would of hated to work there! Inside the mine intself, it was very cramped and compact but suprsiningly it was not too cold. In the mine our Killhope guide, told us stories of times past about the mine and the people that worked there. One story told was about a man who was trapped and had to eat his Tallow candle in order
to stay alive! We also had a visit to the Lodging Shop. It was warm because there was peat buring on an open fire but it would have been unpleasant to sleep there, especially becase there were rats, one was on the roof! Written by Jak Tuck Year 8