campylite

British Classic Mineral Specimens

About Us

The idea of this website came to me over a period of weeks. The knowledge and experience to do it - many years. I spent my early collecting years in the north of England during the 1970's, and was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in many of the now defunct classic British localities - the Caldbeck Fells, Weardale, Alston Moor, Cornwall to name but a few.

I spent my early collecting years in the north of England during the 1970's – halcyon days for a collector in the north of England, and the Barstow phenomenon. I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in many of the now defunct classic British localities - the Caldbeck Fells, Weardale, Alston Moor, Cornwall to name but a few. Fond memories of going underground in Weardale with the miners - in Allenheads, Redburn, Blackdene, and Cammock Eals...

I almost lived in Drygill. I had dozens of trays full of campylite and plumbogummite sitting in rooms all over the house. I still do. Campylite was such a fun part of my life, that it's become the name of the site. The Alston Moor was my other home - Smallclough, Brownley Hill, Gudhamgill, Rampgill, Nentsberry Haggs - all evocative names for those who collect northern English material. In the Yorkshire Dales, we collected at Wetgroves in the 1970's and still have many of those pieces of barite - and Brandy Bottle - I'll never forget the feeling when about 50 kilos of cerussite crystals pour out of a hole and flatten you! I have a soft spot for Florence Ullcoats mine too - in West Cumberland - last of the great iron mines... have a look at the Florence pages on the site - we often work there, helping with preservation and maintenance, and have nice pieces for anyone wanting haematite or kidney ore.. Such a pity it is now flooded and unlikely to re-open.

I spent most of my working life in the mining industry - running gold mines in Australia, and starting my mining and exploration software company which eventually had offices in almost every country in the world. I spent three years living with the Cossacks in the remote Altai Mountains, on the northwestern frontier of China and Mongolia, when we mined gems and dug gold out of the rivers. I returned to England a couple of years ago, and now have a beautiful base from which to operate - a little building survey company, and a self-contained apartment in my house, which overseas visitors can use as a base whilst collecting and visiting dealers over here.

My 'Collecting History' page is really a blog - a look back at my life, and how lucky I've been. It'll take a lot of writing, but enjoy what's there... I'll keep adding to it as time allows.

I hope that by browsing these pages, you'll get a feel for British material, and what it really is worth. We want you to use this as a reference for all things Northern English!  Please keep visiting the site - it will grow over time.

Finally - some of acknowledgements. A few special people who shaped my collecting and professional life, encouraging me from a very early age to stick with the mining game: Dick Barstow was my mentor - he taught me just about everything I know about collecting, Ike Wilson, Peter Embrey, John Fuller, Ralph Sutcliffe, Carl Francis, Mitch Gunnell, Julius Weber, Andy Dietz, George Godas, Dick Hauk and many others, quite a few unfortunately no longer with us..