The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project grew from local concern about the state of the Dukesfield Arches. Working together, the parishes of Slaley and Hexhamshire with the Friends of the North Pennines raised the funds to repair the arches and this has now been done. The Dukesfield Arches look magnificent again.
But the Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers project is about much more than the Arches. Dukesfield was a huge lead smelting mill for about one hundred and fifty years, finally closing in the 1830’s. Here was a buzzing hive of activity with lead ore pouring down from the North Pennines carried on the backs of pack ponies to be turned into lead by the skilled men who sweated at the lead hearths or furnaces. From here a further stream of ponies and carts carried the pieces of shiny lead down to the River Tyne at Blaydon. What was life like for all these workers and their families? Who were they, where did they live and what did they do?
The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project found some of these long hidden stories, and carried out a whole range of activities which engaged a lot of people up and down the length of the old lead road, and linking them together again. The main funding for this project came from the Heritage Lottery Fund.