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Nenthead in the county of Cumbria is one of England's highest villages, at around 1,500 feet (457 m). It was not built until the middle of the 18th century and was one of the earliest purpose-built industrial villages in Britain. Nenthead was a major centre for lead and silver mining in the North Pennines of Britain. The first smelt mill was built at Nenthead in 1737 by George Liddle, and this was subsequently expanded by the London Lead Company. By 1882 the smelt mill was capable of smelting 8,000 bings, i.e., 64,000 long hundredweight (3,300 t), of ore per annum.
Nenthead in 1861 was a bustling village of some 2,000 people, mostly Methodist and employed by the Quaker-owned London Lead Company in the Nenthead Mines - some of the most productive in the country. The benevolent Quakers built, amongst other things, housing, a school, a reading room, public baths and a wash-house for the miners and their families. Nenthead was the first village in the UK to have electric street lighting from excess power generated by the mines.
For many mine explorers Nenthead is a mecca as many miles of accessible mines remain. It features some of the most stunning mines in the country with several horse whims and a 260 feet (79 m) engine shaft in Rampghill. The mines closed in 1961 and there is a heritage centre displaying their history.
The economy of the village relies on tourism and it is the headquarters of Wright Bros Coaches Limited a bus & coach operator. England's most popular long distance cycle route, the C2C, passes through Nenthead.
The Grade 2 listed Wesleyan Methodist chapel has not been used since 2002 but a recent Heritage Lottery Grant of £134,500 has raised hopes of it becoming a cafe and community hub. The post office and community shop occupies the building which was once a reading room for the miners.
Nenthead is around 4.4 miles (7.1 km) east of Alston, 44.3 miles (71.3 km) west of Newcastle upon Tyne, 34.4 miles (55.4 km) south east of Carlisle, 24 miles (38.6 km) east of Penrith, and 20.5 miles (33.0 km) east of Hexham.
County Council subsidies have maintained limited bus services for the village to Alston and beyond. However, in 2014 cuts to these subsidies were being discussed, threatening the existence of bus services for the village.
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Nenthead: 54.766667, -2.333333
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