History of the Laxey Mines
Mining had existed in some form on the Isle of Man since the Iron Age, with lead and silver mined at Foxdale, Bradda Head, Glen Chass and Maughold. The Laxey Mine produced zinc, lead and copper and was sunk in 1780, making it relatively young during the Industrial Revolution.
By the mid-1850s the Great Laxey Mine was the parent of many smaller mines, including Snaefell, North Laxey and Glen Roy. It was more than 670m (2,200ft) deep and had three main shafts; the Welsh Shaft, the Dumbell’s Shaft and the Engine Shaft.
The Great Laxey Mine Railway was built in 1823, and the famous Lady Isabella Wheel was built in 1854 to pump floodwater from the lower levels. At its height the mine employed over 600 men, producing 2400 tons of lead ore and half the zinc ore output of the UK.