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Removing lead from ore is called lead smelting. In the Peak District, this often did not take place at the mines, but in nearby valleys.

Before the 17th century, smelting furnaces (known as �boles') could only cope with larger pieces of ore. The �new� cupola furnaces, could process smaller sized ore.

Cupola lead smelters are often associated with slag mills for re-smelting and others that made �red lead�, an oxide of lead commonly used as a pigment in local colour works and also for dyeing. such as at the Cromford Colour Works.

The smelters used local coal as a fuel and they had associated stone buildings, long condensing flues with prominent chimneys and reservoir ponds.

photo of remains of local Cupola

The visible remains of this important local industry are limited. One notable exception is the Stone Edge Cupola (close to the A632/B6015 road junction), where the chimney and remains of the flues and a large pond can be seen.

There was a cupola at Lea (near John Smedley�s factory) possibly belonging to the Nightingale family.

Some local residents worked in the lead cupolas �

1861 census: Frederick Cheetham of Hayes Lane Crich � Labourer at lead cupola.

More information on cupolas at


  • Through all the days
  • and all the years,
  • with lots of laughs
  • just a few tears.
  • We wandered round
  • from place to place
  • to try to find our special place
  • and then one day
  • down a Derbyshire lane
  • we found a spot to ease our pain.
  • By a stream that talks and Foxes bark.
  • Our Shangrila, Cupola Park.
  • John Donald