|Location:||Take the A 595 trunk road from Whitehaven to Egremont. South of Egremont, take the minor road to Wilton and after 200 meters turn left.|
|Address:||Florence Mine Heritage Centre, Egremont, Cumbria CA22 2NA, Tel: +44-1946-820683.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|2000 b.p.||first iron mining by the Romans and the early Britons.|
|1830s||the mining in the area developed.|
|JAN-1914||first cut at Florence Mine.|
|1940s||second shaft sunk.|
|1950s||connected to the Ullcoats system presently worked.|
The Heritage Centre is on the site of the last working iron (haematite) mine in Europe. Florence Mine was named after the wife of the Chairman of the Millom and Askam Mining Company. Shaft sinking started 1914 and by 1923, the mine was producing 400 tons of high-grade haematite per week.
The Heritage Centre describes how the haematite miners lived and worked. Artefacts in the museum include the clothes they wore, the shovels they used and the clay pipes they smoked. There is also a reconstruction of a drift mine.
The Heritage Centre has facilities for the disabled, a coffee shop and a souvenir shop, where a wide selection of geological samples from all round the world, books about the mine and jewellery made from haematite are on sale.
Visitors on the underground tours are advised to wear old clothing and suitable footwear.
The main sponsors of the Florence Mine Heritage Centre are Nirex. This organisation is working to develop safe and environmentally responsible solutions for the management of radioactive waste.
Text by Tony Oldham (2001). With kind permission.
In 2007 a dispute between the Florence Mine Heritage Centre and the owner, Gilbert Finlinson culminated. The owner plans to store nuclear waste in the mine, which would mean the end of its use as a show mine. As a result the Heritage Center told him, they would stop to pay for pumping the mine. Without pumping the water levels will rise more than one metre per day and it will take only two weeks to stop the underground working operations. As a result Mr. Finlinson told the members of the Heritage Center that they were not allowed in his building. West Cumbria Mines Research Group have now moved out of Florence Mine, together with their property, and the Heritage Centre no longer exists.