Cumbria Crack

Honister Slate Mine transforms ‘tin shed’ into newly expanded shop

Honister Slate Mine transforms tin shed into newly expanded shop[A]s part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, Honister Slate Mine has transformed what was formerly a ‘tin shed’ into a revamped shop selling everything from handcrafted kitchenware, signage and bespoke jewellery to one-off creations made by a newly-recruited on-site sculptor.

With slate production at Honister now at all all-time high, England’s last surviving slate mine has been working with Eden Construction over the past two months to expand and completely re-style its shopping area for the main 2017 holiday season.

The new retail area has now been unveiled, complete with new lighting, heating and display areas for visitors to see finished products alongside the mountainside workshop used to create them.

Every item produced at Honister uses slate extracted from the iconic Lake District mountain Fleetwith Pike and is handcrafted using the ancient skills and techniques of crafting slate using a hammer and chisel, which are now very rarely seen in the UK.

Latest additions to a range of around 50 different items handcrafted from Honister green slate include delicate jewellery such as necklaces, pendants and charm bracelets.

The mine has also started working with sculptor Terry Hawkins, who is making one-off arty creations both to sell and to display in and around the mine.

Jan Wilkinson, Co-owner from Honister Slate Mine, says, “Many people just don’t realise a lot of so-called ‘Lakeland slate’ isn’t from the Lake District at all, it’s manufactured in a completely different place or even shipped in from China. This is the real stuff!”

She adds, “There is a long tradition of producing genuine, original slate products at Honister and we’re proud to now have sculptor Terry Hawkins working on site too, to make unique slate sculptures inspired by the rugged Lakeland landscape.”