Mining ceased in 1914. Up to the 1950s the enormous spoil heaps were worked for gravel, leaving a toxic lunar landscape.
The lead, zinc and cadmium in the spoil heaps, being heavy metals, posed a threat to water supplies. The dust was also a problem. Wrexham Maelor Borough Council and the Welsh Development Agency devised a scheme to make Minera Lead Mines safe.
Work started in 1988. Hidden beneath the spoil heaps was the evidence of the old lead-mining industry. As reclamation continued, so Minera's past was uncovered. The spoil heaps had protected the archaeology. Once uncovered, the remains could rapidly decay. Difficult choices had to be made.
At Taylor's shaft the excavations revealed how lead-mining technology changed in the 19th century. While at Meadow Shaft the whole journey of lead from the pit head to saleable ore can be seen by a tour round the site. The lead miners' personal belongings were also found at the Meadow Shaft site. These finds made the Meadow Shaft site ideal for historical reconstruction. In the early 1990s, the buildings and the dressing floors were rebuilt or consolidated. Replica machinery was installed based on the archaeology of the site.
Work is still ongoing. The weather, people and landslides all take their toll on the site. Wrexham County Borough Council look after Minera Lead Mines and ensure it is open for visitors to see what is left of this fascinating part of our industrial heritage.
All images © Wrexham Heritage Services