Pony Carriage Painting
North Pennines lead ore carriage c.1810
Source: part of the collection ‘1985-2032 North Pennine lead mining scenes’ Science Museum Library.
Copyright: as above.

Eastgate Roman Altar
Original Location: probably Beaumont/WB Lead origin
Current Location: Science Museum Library, London
Theme: Industrial
Period: Post-medieval
Date: c.1810

What is it?
One of a number of unique images illustrating the local lead mining industry. This one shows the carriage of sacks of lead ore on mules or Galloway ponies between mines and smelt mills, followed by a carrier and his dog.

What is its relevance to the North Pennines?
In an age before photography, this painting provides a rare contemporary visual record of an important but often overlooked aspect of the North Pennines lead industry.

Why is it important?
The lead mining industry was of central importance to the region and its landscape and these images are a unique contemporary representation of mining, washing and dressing ore, miners’ social life and the carriage of lead and ore. The carriage is an often overlooked facet of the industry but in its heyday this provided an important source of income to hundreds of small farmers in the North Pennine dales and surrounding area. We talk about a miner-farmer landscape, but there was also a farmer-carrier landscape, and the carriers were critical to managing the extended supply lines of a vital regional industry over miles of difficult country form the 17th to the 19th centuries.

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