This image can be used commercially
Reopening Ball Eye Mine, Via Gellia, early 1940s
From collection of F H Brindley
Brindley, F H (Sheffield and District News Pictures, 973 Abbeydale Road)
Ball Eye Mine
About this image
The photographer's original caption for this view reads:
'Photo & Matter passed today by CENSOR.
SEARCHING FOR A LOST FORTUNE IN SILVER under MATLOCKS HOT SPRINGS
In 1770 a Dr Short of Sheffield, published a book on the "BRITISH HOT SPRINGS". In it he gave away the secret of the source of the MATLOCK hot waters. He states that the source of the Matlock hot springs is in the COBLEE MINE, on Ball Eye, where the miners lost the richest deposits of silver veins ever mined in Britain, when the miners tapped the hot waters underground in this mine.
Photo taken today shows the ancient mine being re-opened again in an effort to find the missing fortune in silver, in the heart of BALL EYE hill.'
While silver is often found with lead, in the Peak District it was only ever discovered in such tiny quantities that it cost more to extract than the metal was worth. There is a record in 1811 mentioning that it used to be extracted from Ball Eye Mine but by then this had long ago ceased 'on account of the great waste of lead and the expense of the processes for separating the silver.'
It is known that in the early 1940s, a Mr Priestley (at onetime working in partnership with a Mr Maddocks) owned and worked the mine on an occasional basis but apparently never fully explored it. It seems likely that this photo depicts Mr Priestley's operation.
The tall brick building right of centre is not thought to be part of Ball Eye Mine but forms part of Dunsley Mill in the valley bottom, at this date used for barytes crushing.