The Threlkeld Quarry & Mining Museum

The Threlkeld Quarry & Mining Museum sits in the foothills of the Cumbrian mountains just outside Keswick. The museum is run by volunteers and has accumulated a large number of vintage excavators and other mining and quarrying paraphernalia.

Although I knew of the Museum's existence for many years it was only recently that I made an effort to visit.

The first time I went the sun was shining in a clear blue sky. As a photographer this excited me. The colours of the flaking paint and rusting excavators was exaggerated in the hard light. Deep shadows gave the machinery strength. A strength that matched their previous hard-working life.

They lay still now, waiting to be moved to another area on the site to be restored by the volunteers.

I fully expected everything to be the same on my second visit. This was not the case. Seemingly rusted down heavy machinery had moved around. Some had been designated to be restored whilst others had somehow moved places. One of the largest excavators (nicknamed King Kong) remained in place. I'm not sure how it could be moved or where it would be placed. Perhaps it's just biding its time. Waiting patiently to be restored.

I ventured further on site on my third visit. This time I wandered round the enclosed museum and workshops on an upper level. I narrow gauge train shunted people the short distance with views of the quarry and restoration area.

Milling around in one of the sheds I was impressed by the amount of machinery and restoration projects on the go. It seemed impossible to me that anything could be moved around without moving everything out first. It was dark in the sheds but enough light seeped through dusty windows and open doors to allow for a moody atmosphere. Tripod and longer exposures were needed but, for me, it was an amazing place to see and photograph.

Created By
Dayve Ward

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