Geoff Downs-Rose – A mining engineer with a vision
The Lead Mining Museum in Wanlockhead was the inspiration of Geoff Downs-Rose, a mining engineer and lecturer at Loughborough Technical College. Following a visit to Wanlockhead he became captivated by what he found and in 1966 purchased a holiday cottage so he would be able to explore the lead mining heritage. With his friend Bill Harvey he organised the excavation and research of exhibits to interpret the mining industry and with this they began the collection we have today.
Geoff Downs-Rose vision was to make this collection available for everybody to experience and enjoy. The first summer exhibition took place in 1972 at the Miners’ Library alongside a Glasgow University Summer School.
The Trust was formed in 1974 by the local community with the help of Geoff Downs-Rose to establish a museum so that the lead mining heritage could be preserved for future generations. A former lead miners’ cottage was converted to a museum and opened in 1976. In 1992 the former Smithy was extended to form the current visitor centre.
Wanlockhead, the highest village in Scotland, lies on the Southern Upland Way in the Lowther Hills. The area has been associated with the mining of gold, silver and lead for many centuries. Today gold panning continues in the burns around Wanlockhead and each year in May the museum welcomes the British and Scottish Gold Panning Championships.
Our vision is to extend the work of Geoff Downs-Rose, Bill Harvey and others by creating a Study Centre dedicated to their work and to all of those who endured the harsh reality of mining in Wanlockhead. The Study Centre will expand on the social and mining history of the current museum to provide a unique location open to educational groups, tourists and others so that we may promote awareness of key geological and climatic issues facing our society. The Centre will inform about the sustainable use of natural resources whether mined or harnessed from the environment.
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