Some miners at the Keld Heads Lead mine in 1863

Manager J. Coatsworth stated in 1863 that there were about 62 men working at Keldheads and 18 at Ashbank.

Water was a problem at both mines and at Keldheads was pumped out using water wheel. Ashbank was much wetter and the men were provided with 'a glazed jacket' to try to protect them as much as possible. They still got quite wet though. Coatsworth thought the wetness worked in their favour by settling the dust so it wasn't inhaled.

Men worked an average of 6 hour days, less when it was very wet. A changing house was provided so the men could go home in dry clothes and leave the wet ones to dry in front of a fire in the changing house ("a sort of a lodge with a fire in it at the level mouth"). A water blast was used to improve the air quality.

Men entered the sumpts by windlass. The deepest part was 17 and a half fathoms.

30-40 boys were employed at the mine to dress the ore. They were generally not employed underground before the age of 18.

There were 3 local schools at which boys generally remained until the age of 12-14. When dressing ore, they worked from 7am - 5.30pm, with 1/2 hour for lunch.

Men's wages were £3-4 per week.


names   Employment Residence
Matt Stanger Smelting at Reverbatery fr Preston Mills
Wm Stanger Smelting at Reverbatery fr Preston Mills
Thos Armstrong Smelting at Reverbatery fr Preston Mills
James Ibbetson Smelting at Reverbatery fr Marrick
John Moor Scotch Ore Hearth West Witton
Ed Binks Scotch Ore Hearth Preston
Jos Sw[in]dle Scotch Ore Hearth lodging in Preston
Wm Stephenson Scotch Ore Hearth lodging in Preston
James Fieldsend Slag hearth Preston
Robt Clarke   West Witton
Wm Ibbetson Roasting furnc Marrick
John Robson   Carperby
Robert Lobly Ore Weigher Preston
John Sedgwick Lobby work West Witton
Wm Binks attending Condenser Preston
Henry Dakin Removing fumes West Witton
Richd Thistlethwaite Removing fumes West Witton
Surface Labourers & others  
Wm Walton Labourer Bellerby
Henry Thistlethwaite   Bellerby
James Rider   Redmire
Matt Metclfe   West Witton
John Harker   West Witton
Wm Robinson Horse & Cart work Preston
Walton Richardson Millwright & joiner Preston Mills
Wm Robinson Blacksmith Preston
John Thistlethwaite Blacksmith Contract West Witton
John Pearson Mason contract Wensley
Geo Brown Dressing Ore Prston
Geo Storey &2 pts Waste dresser
John Emmett leading ore to smelt mill Preston
Thos Horn General carrier from Keld heads Leyburn for the K H Co Castle Bolton
John Cain