'Lost' Blue John stone vein rediscovered after 68 years

Treak Cliff Cavern Blue John stone in public areas is preserved for visitors to see
Treak Cliff Cavern The rediscovered vein was found deep down in the mine
Blue John stone Blue John was first discovered in the 18th Century by miners looking for lead

A "lost" vein of rare Blue John stone has been rediscovered in a Peak District cavern after a 68-year search.

In 1945, miner John Royse reported finding an "amazing deposit" in Treak Cliff Cavern, Castleton.

However, he was taken ill and died before he was able to share the exact location with the Harrison family, who had taken over the running of the mine.

Blue John is made from fluorspar which has reacted with other chemicals to give it its unique banded streaks.

It formed millions of years ago and is used to make ornaments and jewellery. Only a small amount of the semi-precious mineral is allowed to be mined each year.

'Old miner's tale'

The deposit of the stone was uncovered deep down beneath an old piece of carpet.

Peter Harrison, who was 19 at the time of Mr Royse's discovery, said: "I was just a young lad when my family took over the running of the cavern.

"The old miner, John Royse, was not in the best of health and was retiring.

Blue John mining

Blue John stone
  • Treak Cliff Hill is the only place in the world where Blue John stone occurs naturally
  • The mineral is a unique banded form of fluorspar
  • In the 1750s, miners constructed a tunnel using only hand tools to reach the deposits
  • Treak Cliff Cavern has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest

"He told me of this fantastic deposit of Blue John he had found and asked me to help him get it out.

"We planned to return to the cavern the next day but sadly John Royse was taken ill and died.

"Over the years I have spent countless hours searching for that deposit."

The stone was discovered by Mr Harrison's grandson, John Turner.

The 21-year-old said: "It was while we were stood talking at the bottom of the ladder that leads to the upper galleries that I noticed something unusual on the floor.

"After an hour of digging through muddy deposits, I was amazed to come across an old piece of carpet supported by some wooden batons.

"I couldn't believe my eyes when we pulled away the old carpet and there was this most amazing deposit of Blue John stone."

Mr Harrison's daughter, Vicky, said: "I grew up with stories of John Royse's lost deposit.

"To be honest, I thought it might have been a bit of an old miner's tale.

"It is a sizeable deposit and we conservatively estimate that there is enough Blue John stone in this deposit to keep us busy for the next decade at least."

BBC Derby

Weather

Derby

27 °C 16 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Cooling down 11:39: Ed Barlow BBC Local Live

    Temperatures are set to reach 27C this afternoon. Whenever I'm working in Derby on a hot day I always find a stroll by the river helps. Where in the area do you go to cool down?

    River Derwent

    Let us know at derbyshire.locallive@bbc.co.uk and we'll feature your hidden gems.

     
  2.  
    Warning for anglers 11:29:

    The Environment Agency Midlands tweets: If you're out fishing in this lovely weather dont forget check, clean, dry to help prevent spread of invasive species ow.ly/zwRwZ

     
  3.  
    Lowe qualifies 11:15:

    City of Derby swimmer Danielle Lowe, competing for England at the Commonwealths, came third in her heat of the 400m Individual Medley. It means she's qualified for tonight's final, which will take place shortly after 19:00.

    Follow the Games with BBC Sport.

     
  4.  
    Start times for stars 11:13: Derby Telegraph

    The Derby Telegraph has put together a list of what time local stars are in Commonwealth Games action today.

     
  5.  
    News on the hour 10:56: Sally Swinfen Reporter, BBC Radio Derby

    In the news at 11:00:

    • A former mayor of Derby says he wouldn't be surprised if more hardline Muslims from the city travel to Syria to join the terrorist group Isis
    • It's the opening day of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where 20 gold medals will be won on day one
    • The way people register to vote in Derby is about to change
     
  6.  
    Your views 10:42:

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

     
  7.  
    Commonwealth Games watch 10:12:

    The Commonwealth Games is getting going and City of Derby swimmer Danielle Lowe goes in the heats of the 400-metre individual medley at 10:30.

    commonwealht homepage

    World squash champion Nick Matthew, born in Sheffield, starts his singles campaign at 11:00. He's facing Xavier Koenig of Mauritius in the first round.

    In the hockey, England's women play will also be in action at 11:00 in their first group match against Wales. Former Repton students Hollie Webb and Georgie Twigg are both expected to start.

    You can follow all the action with BBC Sport.

     
  8.  
    Former mayor related to Ahmed 10:07:

    The former Mayor of Derby, Fareed Hussain, has told BBC Radio Derby that he is related to Kabir Ahmed, the Derby man who is thought to be training with Isis in Syria and was recently as interviewed by the BBC's Panorama programme.

     
  9.  
    News on the hour 09:58: Sally Swinfen Reporter, BBC Radio Derby

    In the news at 10:00:

     
  10.  
    Derby on DAB 09:44:

    In case you hadn't heard, BBC Radio Derby is now available on DAB Digital Radio.

    derby radio bag

    You can still join us online and on all the usual FM frequencies.

     
  11.  
    Peaty excited 09:34:

    Swimmer Adam Peaty told BBC Radio Derby he was excited about taking on the best swimmers in the world when he finally gets into the pool.

    Peaty said he would be giving his best "for Uttoxeter, Derby and my country".

     
  12.  
    Missing gnomes 09:15: Marsha Ramroop News editor, BBC Radio Derby

    We've been on the curious case of some missing gnomes in Ilkeston this morning. Never let it be said that BBC Radio Derby avoids the big news!

    gnomes
     
  13.  
    Top headlines
  14.  
    News on the hour 08:58: Sally Swinfen Reporter, BBC Radio Derby

    In the news at 09:00:

    • Police confirm a Derby man is training with the terrorist organisation Isis in Syria
    • A Derby company says its move to a new multi-million pound technology centre is on hold because it's without a phone line
    • Call for Derby-based Rolls Royce to be more transparent on safety after a power cut led to a problem with ventilation at the firm's nuclear facility on Raynesway
     
  15.  
    Trains strike 08:44:

    East Midlands Trains tweets: #EMTupdate Industrial action Sun 27 - Thurs 31 July, majority of services between Derby and Crewe will run as normal emt.do/zwEqs

     
  16.  
    Heavy traffic on M1 northbound 08:35:

    One lane is blocked and there's heavy traffic on the M1 northbound before J28, A38 (Alfreton) because of a broken down vehicle.

    See BBC Travel News for more.

     
  17.  
    Firms demand compensation 08:26: Derby Telegraph

    Derby firms hit by delays to London Road bridge reopening have taken huge financial hits - and now they are demanding compensation.

     
  18.  
    Derby swimmer in Glasgow 08:16:

    The Commonwealth Games are upon us. If you've not seen it yet, watch East Midlands Today's report on 19-year-old City of Derby swimmer Adam Peaty who's in the hunt for Glasgow medals.

    Adam Peaty
     
  19.  
    Mickleover delays 08:08:

    There's heavy traffic on Radbourne Lane in Mickleover at the B5020 Station Road junction because of a traffic light failure in the roadworks area.

    See BBC Travel News for more information.

     
  20.  
    Sunny later 08:02:

    After a dull start to the day conditions will improve with all except the coast seeing plenty of fine sunny weather from late morning. Highs of 27C (81F).

     
  21.  
    Good morning 08:00: Ed Barlow BBC Local Live

    I'll be bringing you the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates throughout the day for Derbyshire.

    You can get in touch by emailing derby.locallive@bbc.co.uk.

     

Features

  • Shinji Mikamo's father's watchTime peace

    The story of the watch that survived Hiroshima


  • Northern League supporters at the party's annual meeting in 2011Padania?

    Eight places in Europe that also want independence


  • Elephant Diaries - BBCGoing wild

    Wildlife film-makers reveal the tricks of the trade


  • Hamas rally in the West Bank village of Yatta, 2006Hamas hopes

    Why the Palestinian group won't back down yet


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.