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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Lake District mining museum forced to close down

A museum about Cumbria’s mining heritage has been forced to close because no-one will take it on.

Ian Tyler launched Keswick Mining Museum 25 years ago with his wife Jean.

He plans to retire, and a two-year search to find a museum, local authority or university to take over the collection has proven fruitless.

Now the thousands of exhibits have been split up and sold to private collectors.

Mr Tyler, who lives near Carlisle, said: “Tourism in this county has lost an incredible asset.

“It is probably the finest mining museum in the country.

“It’s the story of the land, the story of Cumbrian mountains and what they gave us – our roads, our ports and our railways.”

Mr Tyler developed an interest in Cumbria’s mining past through walking the Lake District fells more than four decades ago.

He added: “I got heavily into underground exploration and started to build up a massive archive of mining information.”

With only two books then available for people interested in mining, Mr and Mrs Tyler began writing the first of 12 books on the subject.

The couple launched the museum at Priests Mill, Caldbeck, then moved to Otley Road in Keswick when the collection outgrew its original premises.

In summer 2007 Mr and Mrs Tyler decided to retire, but soon afterwards Mrs Tyler was diagnosed with a brain tumour and died six months later.

Mr Tyler kept the museum on as he came to terms with his loss but now the time has come to finally hang up his museum keys for good.

Mr Tyler aims to close by October 1, but could shut earlier as the displays in the museum begin to be collected.


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