C B Yard MYD21517 (c) YDNPA, 2023
The vast majority of miners working in the lead mines throughout the Yorkshire Dales, lived in nearby villages and on smallholdings. They walked to and from work, often many miles in soaked clothing. Being so speculative, mining often failed to provide mining families with a full income. If they were lucky they also farmed in a small way, perhaps with a milk cow or a few sheep grazing on the moor. Knitting supplemented pay and many a miner was seen knitting while walking to work.
In Arkengarthdale, unusually, housing for miners and their families was provided on site by the company owners around 1802 at about the same time as the magnificent Octagon smelt mill was built – at the time, one of the largest buildings in the Dales, now sadly demolished. The hexagonal powder house in the field south of CB Yard gives an idea of what the mill looked like. Black powder was doled out to miners from the building, set well away from other buildings for safety reasons.
CB Yard (named for Charles Bathurst one of several men with the same name who owned the mining company) also contained a wood yard where timber, essential for the operation of the mines, was worked.