Chronicle of the Isle of Man Photographic Society: The theme is mining |

The Isle of Man Photographic Society meeting this week was a hands-on workshop with a model and full studio lighting set up.

The theme of the evening was mining” and thanks to Isle of Man Photographic Society President Tony Curtis and fellow miner James Aitchison for volunteering their time for what turned out to be a great evening and a great learning opportunity.

In their spare time, Tony and James are members of the Laxey Miners research group, who undertake research into the mining network here on the Isle of Man.

Their job, sometimes on behalf of the Isle of Man Government, is to inspect, repair and ensure mine entrances are sealed and safe. At present they are busy helping with the restoration of the Laxey wheel.

Mining on the Isle of Man was once a major industry with ore deposits of zinc, copper and lead found primarily at Laxey and Foxdale, but with mines found at various other locations on the island.

Mining in the Foxdale district didn’t really take off until the early 1800s, but later in that century the mine employed 250 men underground.

An average of 3,500 tons of ore would be extracted annually. The central mine operated successfully until its closure in 1911.

The Great Laxey and most successful of the mines operated for over 150 years until it closed in 1932.

The mine had a total workforce of over five hundred men in the 1850s and in the 1870s production peaked producing 2,500 tons of lead and silver, 9,000 tons of zinc and an average of 500 tons of copper per year.

Mining resumed briefly in the 1950s when a company reworked the Snaefell mine by reforesting the entrance under the mountain, but it was never productively mined.

However, 2,500 tonnes of lead concentrate were produced from the reprocessing of waste dumps using flotation ponds.

Further information can be found by visiting the website

The workshop, while small in number, provided the perfect environment for one-on-one coaching, advice and support from some of the most experienced members of the company, while taking the time to ensure everyone had the opportunity to practice and improve studio photography skills.

The next meeting will take place on Wednesday February 16 and will be an evening with Andrew Barton.

All welcome, non-members with a small entry fee, all meetings are on Wednesday evenings at St John Ambulance Headquarters on Glencrutchery Road, from 7pm, full program details on our website

The society gratefully acknowledges the continued support of the Canada Council.

Jonathan Carey

add a comment

Michael E. Marquez