Keys to the Past

Langley and Blaghill lead smeltmills, flue and chimney (Haydon)

Chimney and flue of Langley and Blaghill lead smeltmills. Photo © Tim Gates.
Chimney and flue of Langley and Blaghill lead smeltmills. Photo © Tim Gates.

The Langley smeltmill was built in 1768 by Greenwich Hospital and expanded in the 1770s to include two refining furnaces (for extracting silver from lead ore), a reducing furnace (to convert waste lead into metallic lead) and a slag hearth (for resmelting waste slag from the ore hearths). A second smeltmill was built at Blaghill in the 1780s. Both shared the same flue system, the first section of which was built between 1801 and 1803. By 1805, each smeltmill had three ore hearths, a double refining furnace, a slag hearth and roasting and reducing furnaces. By 1817, zinc was also being smelted at Langley and, although initially successful, it could not compete with competition from Germany and these works closed in 1822. Langley Mill had expanded during this period and between 1845 and 1860 the flue system was also extended. Most of Blaghill Mill seems to have been demolished by about 1860 with some of the remaining buildings being converted into cottages. The last section of the flue system and the chimney were completed by 1882. The smeltmills finally closed in 1887 and much of the works were demolished by 1896. The entire layout of Langley Mill survives as earthworks which together with the Blaghill Mill site, represent a complex lead works of two separate smeltmills. This is a Scheduled Monument and the chimney is also a Grade II Listed Building protected by law.

Reference number:N7649
Historical period: Post Medieval (1540 to 1901)
Legal status:Listed Building
Scheduled Ancient Monument
Event(s):WATCHING BRIEF, Watching brief at Langley Smeltmill 2002; Rosalind Nichol
TRIAL TRENCH, Langley Flue 2002; North Pennines Archaeology Ltd
WATCHING BRIEF, Langley and Blaghill Lead smeltmills, Langley, Northumberland. Archaeological Watching Brief 2005; Tyne and Wear Museums
WATCHING BRIEF, Langley Flue 2010; North Pennines Archaeology Ltd

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See also:
Source of Reference
Local History of Haydon


Disclaimer -

Please note that this information has been compiled from a number of different sources. Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council can accept no responsibility for any inaccuracy contained therein. If you wish to use/copy any of the images, please ensure that you read the Copyright information provided.