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Victorian Tourist Attractions

Mining and Quarrying

During the 1800s, mining was a big industry in Matlock Bath and the surrounding areas. Many local people were involved in mining or quarrying. Lead, or Galena, was most commonly sought after, but spars such as calcite and fluorspar were also mined and limestone was quarried. (Think about where you have seen these names already!)


Black and white photograph of a group of men, the first two rows are seated, with a row of men standing behind.  Many are wearing bowler hats and three piece suits.
Rakehead Miners, late 1800s

We have very few photos of miners from Matlock Bath, but we do have some of people who worked close by and were doing the same job.


A photograph of a miner standing outside a mine, 1800s.  He is wearing a soft cap and has a beard
A Miner, 1800s

Discussion Points

  • What can you see that might identify these men as miners?
  • Which men do you think are the rich mine owners and who are the poorer workers? How can you tell?
  • Many of the miners are wearing bradder hats. These resemble the metal helmets of WWI but were made from hardened felt instead. Do you think they would provide much protection underground?
  • Do you see any women in the photos? Why do you think this is?