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The English Midlands, as defined for the purposes of this book, extend from the Welsh border in the west, northwards to the boundary of Derbyshire and Yorkshire, across to the eastern margin of Northamptonshire and southwards, roughly to the line of the M4 motorway. Included, are the counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Rutland, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire, a total area of some 30,000 square kilometres (11,600 square miles). It is an area of diverse geology, varied landscape and steeped in industrial history.
The bulk of the book is a descriptive account of the minerals to be found in the above counties. This is followed by a review of historical collectors and collections, together with the activities of mineral dealers. A concluding chapter briefly mentions the various decorative stones associated with the area – Blue John, Alabaster, Ashford Black Marble etc.
Mining and quarrying have been of pivotal importance to the economy of the English Midlands. As a consequence of this, the area has produced a wide range of interesting mineral specimens. Examples of these are to be found in local and regional museum collections, and especially at the Natural History Museum in London. However, such was the importance of Britain in the development of mineralogy as a science that specimens from the English Midlands are to be seen in collections all over the world.
The Derbyshire lead mining industry will, be well-known to many readers, and more recently, baryte and fluorite, minerals formerly considered as waste products, became economically important, in the production of drilling mud, and as a flux for steelmaking, respectively. Many small-scale opencast operations enjoyed a brief resurgence during the latter years of the twentieth century, but today only Milldam Mine, under Hucklow Edge remains in production. Elsewhere, the gypsum mines in Staffordshire and Leicestershire and Winsford Rock Salt Mine in Cheshire continue to keep the mining tradition alive in the Midlands.
There are many excellent publications which document the industrial heritage and mining history of the Midlands, but few of these include any significant mention of the wealth of fine mineral specimens which have resulted from centuries of extraction. We are fortunate indeed that thanks to the efforts of miners, mineral dealers and collectors over the past few hundred years, many interesting and beautiful specimens have been preserved for us to enjoy today.
The author has been privileged to have obtained unprecedented access to both private and public collections, resulting in the inclusion of numerous previously unpublished photographs of mines, quarries, mineral specimens and artefacts made from them. The book will appeal to all those interested in the geology and industrial history of the area, visitors to the Peak District National Park, mineral collectors and museum curators.
The book has been professionally typeset and is a high quality publication on 150 gsm silk paper. Running to 432 pages (276 x 218 mm) and with more than 900 images, almost all of which are in full colour, it is a substantial volume. An extensive list of 1000 references complements the text and a comprehensive index is provided.
Price: Softback £35 plus postage and packing; Hardback £50 plus postage and packing. You can order a copy online and pay securely using PayPal on this website. Please click on the Book Orders – Minerals of the English Midlands tab. You will receive a personal acknowledgment and a confirmation email notifying you when your book has been despatched.
If you would like the book signed, or inscribed with some special greeting, I’ll be happy to oblige. Please just ensure that you include the instructions when you order it via PayPal.
If you are attending the Sussex Mineral Show in Haywards Heath on 17th November you will be able to pick up a copy and save the postage. See https://www.smls.online/show for further information.
The following sample pages give you a look inside the book (PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO SEE A LARGE VERSION):
Click the link to download a promotional flyer for the book Minerals of the English Midlands low res flyer for web
Thank you for your interest in Minerals of the English Midlands – I hope that you will choose to purchase a copy and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Copies have already been shipped to Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, USA and the UK!
Finally – I shall be doing a number of talks about the project over the coming months.
Confirmed dates are:-
17 October 2018 Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society – Leicester – see https://www.charnia.org.uk/styled-15/
21 October The Russell Society Maisemore Event – please get in touch with me via the Contact page for further details
2 November 2018 Sussex Mineral and Lapidary Society – Haywards Heath – see https://www.smls.online/
8 February 2019 Cheltenham Mineral and Geological Society – see http://cmgs.yolasite.com/events.php
14 February Oxford Geology Group – Oxford – see https://www.ogg.rocks/ogg-lectures
21 March 2019 Northamptonshire Natural History Society – Northampton – see http://www.nnhs.info/nnhsdownloads.php
13 April 2019 The Russell Society Annual Meeting Weekend – Buckfastleigh -see http://russellsoc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/ASM-2019-Details-2.pdf
Other dates and venues still to be confirmed. If you would like me to come and do a talk to your group, please get in touch.