Free Education Pack
The pack is designed to provide teachers and pupils (mainly in Keystage 2 but also those of secondary school age) with information and resources required to plan a visit to Snailbeach Mine. There is also material which could be used in preparation for the visit and in follow up activities. The pack contains several sections as shown below
Section 1 - General Information for use when planning a theme.
This Education Pack is provided for schools and other educational establishments to enable them to introduce the subject of lead mining into the curriculum.
Combined with a visit to Snailbeach Mine, it will provide a wealth of educational material on which to base lessons, discussions and projects. The underground experience at the mine is especially enjoyed by children where they are given helmets and lamps and taken into the workings. Although completely safe, the environment gives them an exciting experience.
They will learn what it was like for communities to live in this area up to the mid-20th Century, when underground mining ceased. It will also bring home to them how lucky they are nowadays when they learn how, 150 years ago, children of their age would be working at the mine instead of being at school. Boys as young as 9 or 10 would be working underground and their sisters would be working on the surface. Not for them the luxury of television and game boys!
Although the education pack is aimed at self-taught lessons and a visit to site, if required members of Shropshire Mines Trust may be able to come to you to give you a talk in your own classroom as well. If this is required, please discuss it when booking. Note that the Trust members are all unpaid volunteers and all fees and donations go towards preservation of the site.
Most of the material is available to be downloaded as pdf files so that you can use it more conveniently. Note, however, that some of the files are large and you must be patient when downloading if your internet connection is not particularly fast. If you have a problem concerning this, contact the Trust and we will be able to provide you with a CD containing all of the files
We would be interested in seeing a sample of material produced by the children. If you would like to email a scanned copy to the email address above we may be able to host it on our website, whether it be paintings, poems, written work, etc.
In the interests of education, all of this material is free of copyright and may be reproduced in any way you wish. We would, however, appreciate an acknowledgement for the Shropshire Mines Trust.
Booking Arrangements and Charges
- Shropshire Mines Trust had day to day control of the locked buildings at Snailbeach Mine, which include the Visitor Centre, Locomotive Shed and Blacksmith Shop. They also control underground access and provide tours into Day Level and Perkins Level.
If you wish to visit the site first before booking a visit with your pupils, you can go when the site is manned by Trust volunteers. For details of opening times, to book a school visit and for any queries you might have, see Contacts.
To book your own visit with pupils contact :-
Peter Sheldrake - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you cannot contact Peter, you could try another Trust member, who has recently retired and lives in the village :-
Nick Southwick - Email: email@example.com
A member of the Shropshire Mines Trust can meet the group at a pre-arranged time at the Snailbeach car park. The Shropshire Mines Trust charges £3 per pupil for a day visit, which includes seeing part of the underground workings.
Snailbeach Village Hall
There are limited facilities for groups in the mine buildings. The village hall may be booked by groups and it will be advisable to have this available for lunch time, particularly if the weather is inclement. There are toilets and washing facilities there, as well as a kitchen. The booking secretary is
Mrs Margaret Price
Marlyn, Lower Works, Snailbeach, Shrewsbury
The hirer must obtain a set of keys and a leaflet "How to use the hall safely" from the Booking Secretary.
Arrangements on the Day
Children will need strong shoes or trainers, and wellingtons are essential if a visit to Perkins Level is being made. Outdoor clothing is required and children need to be aware that the interior of the mine is cool even on a hot day. Lunches carried in bags and rucksacks may be left in the Visitor Centre.
- It is always the responsibility of the school to complete their own risk assessment. The teachers know the children they are bringing and understand the needs of the individuals in the group. The teacher in charge should make a preparatory visit to the site before bringing a class. The most effective way to do this would be to go on one of the open days in September or when the mine is open to the public, when members of the Shropshire Mines Trust will be on hand to offer advice.
We consider the site to be reasonably safe, and have produced our own Risk Assessments which are regularly reviewed and are available from the Booking Coordinator. Although there is a First Aid Kit in the Visitor Centre, we recommend that group leaders each carry a small kit with them when they are taking children around the site. It is also sensible for group leaders to exchange mobile phone numbers with each other, with the guide and the teacher in charge of the visit.
The following list is modified from the very thorough risk assessment made by the Shropshire Mines Trust. Their assessment also includes details which help them keep the area safe. It is regularly updated and guides will give a warning of any new hazards, eg a fallen tree blocking a path.
A brief history of lead mining in Snailbeach.
- Snailbeach Mine was once the richest mine per acre of any mine in Europe. The ‘Golden Age’ of the mine, when over 2,500 tons of lead were produced in most years, is highlighted in gold. After an initial setback in 1884, a time of lesser prosperity, a ‘Silver Age’ follows.
The long prosperous period of mine development was contemporaneous with industrial revolution and new advances were employed as they became available to continue the prosperity of the mine as it was worked to greater depth. Three significant ages of mine development are identified below, and the names of the men responsible for mine management are highlighted in red.
Section 2 - Suggested Day Visits - PDFs
Visits can be made either independently, or using the services of members of the Shropshire Mines Trust who can provide access to the Visitor Centre, Blacksmith Shop, Engine Shed and underground trips.
2A. History Day Visit
(with guided underground tour plus access to visitor centre and other buildings)
2B. Geography Day Visit
2C. Visit Extras
(other parts of the heritage site, an underground visit to Perkins Level and other sites used after the main mine closed)
2D. Supplementary Visit
(to former miners’ cottages and smallholdings on Blakemoor gate)
Section 3 - Stories about Snailbeach. PDFs
The development and life of Snailbeach Mine is described through tales of individuals who were important in the creation and working of the mine.
3A. Thomas Lovett
Founder of the company which began large scale mining in the 18th century
3B. James Ray Eddy
A mine manager from Yorkshire in the 1850s
3C. Henry Dennis
A mine manager and businessman based at Ruabon in Wales, active in the late 19th century
3D. Tale of George’s Shaft
A description of the most serious mine accident at Snailbeach Mine
3E. Tale of the Blacksmith
A description of the importance of the work of a Blacksmith in the early days of the industrial revolution
3F. Tale of the Widow Maker
Mechanised drilling in mines, which destroyed miners’ lungs
3G. Tale of the Doctor
A doctor describes the effects of lead mining on the miners
3H. Tale of the Miner
A description of why someone should choose to be a lead miner
3I. Tale of the Waggoner
Told by someone who thought the Snailbeach District Railway a bad idea
3J. Tale of the Miner’s Daughter
A young girl describes her life in the early 20th century
3K. The Tale of the Ghost
Why Snailbeach used to be called “Hell’s Mouth”
3L. The Tale of the Yapp Family
How all of the family used to work at the mine
3M. The Tale of the End
Two descendants of Thomas Lovett describe the last days of the mine
Section 4 - Information sheets for teachers and pupils. PDFs
4A. Geological Introduction
4B. Timeline of lead working at Snailbeach
4C. Background information about lead
4D. Mining up to Roman times
4E. Mining up to 1780
4F. Dangers from lead
4G. Miners at work
4H. Factories and Mines Acts in the 19th Century
4I. Separating lead ore from other minerals
4J. Employment and production statistics
4K. Mine productivity
4L. Section through Snailbeach Mine
(with questions and activities)
4M. Underground plan
(with questions and activities)
4N. Snailbeach District Railway
4O. Population of Snailbeach
4P. 1863 Parliamentary report on Snailbeach Mine
4Q. How a lead-acid car battery works
4R. 1770 inventory of Snailbeach Lead Mine
4S. Archimedes’ test for density
Section 5 - Maps and Plans. PDFs
5A. Introduction to maps and plans
5B. Snailbeach (Ordnance Survey)
5C. Snailbeach (Shropshire Mines Trust)
5D. Minsterley 1838
5E. Railway map 1970
5F. Large scale Snailbeach map 1882
5G. Snailbeach 6 inch map 1882
5H. Large scale map 1902
5I. Mine diagram showing buildings in 1865
5J. Mine diagram showing buildings in 1900
5K. Underground plan
An essential resource for viewing the extent of the mine
5L. Section through Snailbeach Mine
5M. Annotated map 1882
5N. Annotated map 1902
Section 6 - Activities for Pupils. PDFs
6A. Questions about Thomas Lovett’s tale
6B. Questions about James Ray Eddy’s tale
6C. Questions about Henry Dennis’ tale
6D. Making a miner’s hat
6E. Who would be a miner?
Information for a class debate
6F. Should we build a railway?
Information for class debates and presentations
6G. Mine plans in 1865 and 1900
See 4L Section through Snailbeach Mine
(with questions and activities)
See 4M Underground plan
(with questions and activities)
This Education Pack has been funded by the following organisations…