Lead had been mined at Nenthead before the 1700s, but the first boom came with the London Lead Company in the 1750’s.
Their Quaker heritage meant a high standard of welfare for the time, with the company building shops, schools, a clock tower, a post office and cottages for the miners.
The London Lead Company gave up their leases in 1882 and were followed by a short unsuccessful spell under the control of the Nenthead and Tynedale Lead and Zinc Company until 1896.
Major modernization occurred around the turn of the 20th century when the Vielle Montagne Zinc Company of Belgium began to rework the old lead mines for zinc, with the company remaining in the area until around 1950.
Some minor attempts were made to carry on, but the glory days were over and the network of passages from over 250 years of mining activity are now a major attraction of mine and cave enthusiasts.