Practical Days

Normally held around April each year, these are informal meetings looking at various topics relevant to those active in industrial archaeology. In the past these events were known as ‘Affiliated Societies Weekends’ and ‘Ironbridge Weekends’.

The next AIA Practical Weekend is 7th – 8th April 2018

The AIA Council has decided to give Ironbridge a rest for the Practical Day in 2018 and instead to organise a whole weekend devoted to the study of mining landscapes based in Matlock Bath in Derbyshire, an aspect of industrial archaeology about which we have not done very much lately.

We are very fortunate to have secured the services of John Barnatt, just retired from his role as Senior Archaeologist with the Peak District National Park and former winner of Britain’s premier archaeology award, the Silver Trowel Award, for his work on the remains of the lead industry.

The weekend will include a visit to the splendid Peak District Mining Museum in Matlock Bath and its adjacent Temple Mine; the surface remains of Magpie Mine, run by the Peak District Mines Historical Society; and an exploration of other mining landscapes in the area, with an underground visit to one of the local caverns which were exploited for minerals including the famous Blue John.


Saturday 7th April:

10:00 Visit to Peak District Mining Museum, the Pavilion, Matlock Bath, introduced by Dr Lynn Willies, former Chairman of the Peak District Mines Historical Society. This will be followed by a short visit into Temple Mine opposite – no climbing involved.

Delegates find own lunch.

14:30 Share cars for visit to Magpie Mine (surface only), led by members of the Peak District Mines Historical Society, including their chairman Mike Luff, together with John Barnatt. This site has the best preserved surface remains of mining and lead dressing in the Peak District.

18:30 Group meal at The Fishpond, Matlock Bath, opposite the Pavilion.

20:00 Illustrated Lecture by John Barnatt on mining in the Peak District in the Pavilion, Matlock Bath.

Sunday 8th April:

10:00 Assemble at cable car station, Matlock Bath, for trip up to Masson Cavern, Heights of Abraham, and underground visit led by John Barnatt. Normal tourist route with additional information, no climbing involved.

Lunch available in the café on the Heights of Abraham.

Optional afternoon visit: Mandale Mine, Over Haddon. Half an hour’s journey north of Matlock Bath. John has recently surveyed this and it would make a good finale to the weekend

The visits will require quite a lot of walking, good footwear and outdoor clothing.


The total cost of the weekend, including a group evening meal on the Saturday, is £60 to include all entrance fees, guiding etc.

Transport / parking / accommodation

The meeting point on Saturday morning is the Grand Pavilion in Matlock Bath. This is accessible by public transport. There is also pay and display parking a short walk from the venue. Please note that the venue car park is short stay only (2 hours). For more information please visit the Grand Pavilion website. On Sunday the event will start at the Cable Car Station in Matlock Bath.


Delegates are asked to find their own accommodation, of which there is plenty in Matlock and Matlock Bath.

Download: Accommodation List Within 2 Miles Of Matlock Bath


Booking is via Eventbrite:

Booking closes on 19th March 2018

Any queries should be addressed to Prof. Marilyn Palmer at

Some past meetings were:

2017 – The Iron industry

This one-day workshop provided introductory practical training and a broad understanding of the processes used and the buildings utilised in the historic iron industry around Ironbridge

2016 – Speaking up for Industrial Archaeology – the challenges and practicalities of speaking up for industrial archaeology at a local scale

The workshop explored why it is more important now than ever that local groups speak up for industrial archaeology, and what groups and societies can practically do to support and protect industrial archaeology in their local area.

There were practical sessions, and a feedback and discussion session which looked at issues such as the challenges of speaking up for industrial archaeology and what support currently exists for groups who want to help to protect and raise awareness of industrial archaeology in their local area.

Read how the day played out on Twitter

Following from the workshop, Rob Lennox from the Council for British Archaeology  (CBA) has produced a resources sheet of useful advocacy resources/web links for community groups who want to speak up for industrial heritage in their local areas.

Download the resource sheet ( pdf 366kb )

2014 – Lime in Historic Landscapes and Buildings

2007 – Characteristics and Forms of Road Transport

2006 – The Brewing Industry

2005 – Railway Structures

2000 – What should we do with our records?