A leading North East geo-environmental organisation has been appointed to a specialist project by government organisation Historic England at a protected site in Northumberland.
Roberts Environmental Ltd has been selected to provide risk management to protect future restoration works at, what are thought to be, the best-preserved example of the remaining historic Smelt Mill Flues in the country.
The Allen Smelt Mill Flues in Allendale included water-powered mills used to smelt lead or other metals. The site is now categorised as a Scheduled Monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and is protected by law.
The project, which is centred around protecting human health, will see the growth of new services into new sectors of the industry for the firm following its recent relocation and expansion.
Jeff Roberts, managing director at Roberts Environmental, said: “The Allen Smelt Mill Flues site is one of the most protected in England and gives an insight into the culture and history of the region. We are incredibly proud to be involved in this conservation project with Historic England.
“The value of the restoration and ensuring safe practice given the dangerous historic nature of the site supports our values as a company. It is incredibly important to protect the heritage of the British mining and to ensure that its industrial legacy is preserved whilst creating a safe environment for visitors.
“This appointment perfectly displays our versatility as a firm and our ability to grow and adapt to industry needs. We recently relocated our central operations to expand our service offering to clients, ensuring we are in a strong position to satisfy increasing demand.”
During the 18th century the smelt mill was leased from Sir William Blackett by Lancelot Algood who used it to smelt ore from his Alston Moor mines. From 1786 the mill was owned by the Beaumont Company which, during the 19th century, carried out improvements to the smelt mill.
The monument includes the remains of part of an ore hearth smelt mill and a reverberatory smelt mill, as well as the extensive system of flues and spans across six separate areas of protection.
Dr Tom Gledhill, Heritage at Risk projects officer said; “The complex of flues associated with the 19th century Allen Lead Smelt Mill is not only considered to be one of the best preserved in England, it also played a key role in the adoption of long horizontal flues for collecting lead fume which would otherwise have been lost to the atmosphere.
“Historic England welcomes the completion of the contamination report by Roberts Environmental Ltd, which is a vital first step towards the conservation of this important Scheduled Monument”