Review of ‘Lead In The Veins’, by the parishioners of Great Hucklow

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

by the parishioners of Great Hucklow
Produced by Hucklow Publishing
ISBN 978-0-9563473-0-5 (2009)

A tremendous labour of care has gone into producing this attractive book. Compiled, written and designed by parishioners of Great Hucklow, it owes its existence to the input and enthusiasm of people who saw the importance of recording an essential part of their local heritage before much of it passed from living memory.

Hence the Heritage Lottery Fund grant awarded to the Great Hucklow Community Spirit Committee. The result of their many years of research is Lead in the Veins, a valuable and accomplished work of record, along with an illustrated Lead Rake Trail leaflet, interpretation boards and an accessible archive of material including an entire collection of some 3,000 documents.

Original documents have proved a revelation, from a 1747 miner's dictionary to collections of family papers. Flesh is put on the bones of long dead lead miners, a potentially rebellious breed with the odd turncoat, duty-fiddler, quarrelsome claimant and untrustworthy business partner. Hard to imagine the scene at peaceful little Grindlow in 1738 when the Riot Act was read - twice. En passant, alongside descriptions of mining-related illnesses and accidents, we learn that an artificial limb maker was living in Hazlebadge in the mid-19th century.

Lead in the Veins has benefited from the assistance of mining enthusiasts and from archaeological work in the field, indeed it is not uncommon for forgotten shafts still to be discovered hereabouts, with workings occasionally dated by finds of coins and tools. The daily grind of an ex-fluorspar miner brings us into modern times, though even he was nearly caught out by the dreaded slickensides. A final chapter is devoted to The Flora of the Hucklow Lead Rakes, illustrated with many of the 100+ colour images to be found throughout the book.

Review by Julie Bunting

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