Minerals of the English Midlands


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Front cover

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.

Overview map of the English Midlands

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.

Oakstone baryte from Arbor Low, Derbyshire

Malachite on native copper and cuprite, Bardon Hill Quarry, Leicestershire

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.

Baryte and calcite, Dirtlow Rake, Derbyshire

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.

Croft Quarry, Leicestershire

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.


The book had a good airing at the massive Munich Mineral Show https://munichshow.com/en/mineralworld/ – thanks to Crystal Classics Ltd, Le Regne Mineral and Lapis for taking copies to the Show.

Minerals of the English Midlands at the entrance to the Crystal Classics stand at the Munich Show 2018

Minerals of the English Midlands on the Le Regne Mineral stand at the Munich Show 2018

Minerals of the English Midlands on the Lapis stand at the Munich Show 2018

Images reproduced courtesy of Clive Cornwall.


See https://researchworcestershire.wordpress.com/  (scroll to the post dated 23 November 2018) to read about the relevance of local museum collections and the Worcestershire salt industry in particular.



The December 2018 issue of The Village carries a short piece about the book https://express.yudu.com/item/embedded_reader/3937119/The-Village-December-2018?refid=36165



You can read a selection of independent reviews of the book here:-

Geoscientist online – https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/Geoscientist/Books-Arts/Geoscientist-book-reviews-online/2019-Book-reviews-online/Starkey-Midlands-Minerals

Mineralogical Magazine – https://doi.org/10.1180/mgm.2018.168

https://britishmineralogy.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/JRS21-MEM.pdf Reproduced courtesy of The Russell Society

https://britishmineralogy.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Yorkshire-Geol-Soc-Circular-619-Review-p.18.pdf  Reproduced courtesy of the Yorkshire Geological Society

https://britishmineralogy.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Elements-14_6-Dec-2018.jpg Reproduced from Elements 14_6 courtesy of the Mineralogical Society of America

https://britishmineralogy.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/PDMHS-Newsletter-January-2019-p10.jpg Reproduced from Peak District Mines Historical Society Newsletter January 2019 courtesy of PDMHS

The following sample pages give you a look inside the book (PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO SEE A LARGE VERSION):

Derbyshire title page showing Magpie Mine, Sheldon


Phosgenite and matlockite – true Derbyshire ‘classics’

Minerals from New Cliffe Hill Quarry, Leicestershire

Fine specimens of pyrite, marcasite and calcite from Hampstead Farm Quarry, Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire

Wonderful agates from Marlbrook Quarry, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire

Decorative stones from the Midlands

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, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Sweden, USA and the UK!


Finally – I shall be doing a number of talks about the project over the coming months.

Tour dates 2018-2019

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, Gloucestershire

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

13 March 2019 Shropshire Geological Society – Shrewsbury see http://www.shropshiregeology.org.uk/SGS/SGSEvents.htm

18 March 2019 Teme Valley Geological Society – Martley Memorial Hall, Worcestershire see http://www.geo-village.eu/?page_id=657

21 March 2019 Northamptonshire Natural History Society – Northampton – see http://www.nnhs.info/nnhsdownloads.php

5 April 2018 Geologists’ Association, Burlington House, London – see https://geologistsassociation.org.uk/abstracts/#apr19

13 April 2019 The Russell Society Annual Meeting Weekend – Buckfastleigh -see http://russellsoc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/ASM-2019-Details-2.pdf

9 November 2019 East Midlands Geological Society, University of Nottingham see http://www.emgs.org.uk/lectures.htm

18 November 2019 Black Country Geological Society – Dudley – see https://bcgs.info/pub/

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.