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Nenthead


Nenthead was once one of the main lead and silver mining sites in the North Pennines, and a large Quaker influence in the village built facilities of schooling, housing and bathing. One of England´s highest villages, at 1,500 feet, Nenthead was built in the 18th Century.


The London Lead Company was formed by Quakers in 1704, and the directors, in common with other Quaker industrialists, recognised a moral responsibility to their workforce. They built the first purpose-built industrial village in England and laid the foundations for today's social welfare system. Complete with free lending library and compulsory schooling for all children, the village of Nenthead was born.

With a popular of nearly 2,000 in 1861, most of the residents of Nenthead were Methodist, but were employed by the Quaker-owned London Lead Company in the local mines. The Nenthead Mines were some of the most productive in the country, and in return the miners and their families were well looked after by the Quakers. Nenthead, for example, was one of the first villages in the UK to have electric street lighting which was generated by excess power from the mines. Mining was a dangerous job in the 1800s, and although life expectancy was short, the locals were grateful their children were being educated in schools built by the Quakers.

Hundreds of miles of accessible mines still remain at Nenthead, and the Heritage Centre displays their history. Here you can discover fascinating facts about the once thriving lead and zinc mining industry, and learn about the people who made it possible. Set in over 200 acres of land, the Heritage Centre is the largest visitor attraction in the North Pennines, and visitors can operate large water wheels and walk over the top of a 300 ft deep shaft. Nenthead had a huge influence on the landscape of the North Pennines.

The London Lead Company bought enormous prosperity to the area, which was viewed previously as a remote and inhospitable region of Cumbria. The Quaker-owned company opened the first free library in England, which was known as the Reading Room, and was built in 1833. This was to encourage workers in the mines to study and read, particularly technical subjects and chemistry, which developed their smelting skills.


St John the Evangelist´s Church was built in 1845 by the London Lead Company, and a water supply was provided to the village in 1850.   Falling lead prices and cheap imports forced many families overseas and many emigrated to America and Australia in the late 19th Century when the mines were sold to the Belgian Vielle Montagne Company. Zinc continued to be mined until the early 1940´s, but the mines closed down for good in 1961.

Following John Wesley´s visits to Nenthead in 1748 and 1770, Methodism was and still is a strong faith in the area. The economy of the village is now based around tourism, and England´s most famous long distance cycle route passes through the village.

A wide range of accommodation is available throughout the Lake District, and whatever you are looking for, including bed and breakfast accommodation, luxury hotels, boutique hotels, themed hotels or hostels, you can find it close to Nenthead. If you are planning to explore the Lake District, take your time to explore Windermere, Bowness, Kendal and Ulverston where you will find a fabulous range of stylish hotel accommodation and holiday cottages.

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