11th International Mining History Congress
will be held at
Jaen (Andalucia), Spain
6th to 11th September 2016
Full details on the Congress website
Linares and La Carolina was probably one of the most significant lead
producers in western Europe in the 19th century
and contains the largest collection of Cornish type engine houses
outside the United Kingdom.
There will be a full programme of presentations and daily field trips to
some of the most significant mine sites in the area.
11th International Mining History Congress
will be held at
6th to 11th September 2016
In the latter half of the 19th Century, the Linares - La Carolina metal mining fields in
Spain were one of the world's major producers of lead. It is with pleasure that the
Colectivo Proyecto Arrayanes in conjunction with the Linares town council, and
others have arranged for the 11th International Mining History Congress to take place
there, from the 6th to 11th September 2016.
In 1875 the Reverend Hugh James Rose, Chaplain to the English, French and German
Mining Companies of Linares described the ambience of the area.
‘From morning until night you hear nothing, see nothing but lead: lead at the railway
station, lead-smoke (from the smelting works) in the air, lead on the donkeys’ backs:
plomo en gahipagos, plomo en plancha, plomo primero o segundo (lead in pigs, in
sheets, lead of the first or second quality). Lead and money, varied by money and
lead, it is depressing alike to soul and body; and, gentle reader, remember there is a
proverb among us, “Andar con pies de plomo” (to proceed with leaden feet); and a
disease among us which is called “being leaded,” and makes a man’s eye dull and his
Linares has changed since then. The lead industry has long ceased, but it has left a
rich and extensive cultural heritage that can be seen today in the surrounding
countryside, and will be visited during the Congress.
The location of the Linares - La Carolina mining district
The Linares - La Carolina mining district is located in the north of the Province of
Jaén, in the Autonomous Region of Andalucía.
Linares lies about 265 kilometers south of the Spanish Capital, Madrid. The mining
fields extends for about 40 kilometres south of Despeñaperros (in the Sierra Morena
mountain range) and about 30 kilometres from west to east. The A4 Motorway that
runs south of Madrid lies just to the west of Linares (See map on page 2).
The town of La Carolina and the surrounding area, including the little mining village
of Centenillo, also contains a wealth of mining culture. It lies 18 kilometres to the
north of Linares and on the A4 motorway. Bailén is now a centre for ceramic
manufacturing. Smaller towns in the area include Guarromán and Baños de la Encina.
The latter is dominated by a Moorish castle, and it is where specimens of Linarite, a
rare mineral formed by the oxidation of Galena and Chalcopyrite, with a very intense
blue color, named after Linares, can occasionally be found on the mine dumps.
The rich mining culture of the area is reflected by the number of heritage, archaeology
and mining history groups, as well as interested individuals, who visit the area. The
cultural importance of the area has been recognized since the 1970s but the area
received wider acclaim in 1999 when the European partners of the MINET Project (a
group dedicated to pulling together areas with a European mining heritage) visited the
district. The visit resulted in an article in a Cornish newspaper that described the huge
importance of what the group had seen. Mining remains abound, including the largest
grouping of Cornish type engine houses to be found anywhere in the world outside
Cornwall and Devon in the United Kingdom.
This appreciation of the mining heritage confirmed local views, based on work carried
out from 1991, when the Arrayanes Project was launched. This is a heritage of
international historical, technological, cultural and economic importance with an
exceptional concentration of remains, some unmatched elsewhere and representing of
an intense "Industrial Revolution". Linares is now included on the UNESCO Mining
Historical Heritage Tentative List for Spain. (
A brief history of the area
Four thousand years of mining history have shaped a unique landscape. It is a
testament to how humans have interrelated with their environment since the Bronze
Age. It started with the Argarica Culture that came from the south-west looking for
copper. They established several large settlements beside the rivers that flow
southward from the Sierra Morena. The settlement of Peñalosa, recently studied by
archaeologists from the University of Granada, was the focal point of a systematic
colonization of the area. There will possibly be an opportunity to visit this relatively
inaccessible site during the Congress. The Colectivo Proyecto Arrayanes has
identified several mines exploited for copper in that period.
The Bronze Age settlement of Peñalosa dominates a hilltop.
The Sierra Morena forms the backdrop.
Later, Romans and Carthaginians sought the cooperation of the Iberian people to
exploit their rich copper and lead deposits. The Romans established several mines
near Linares (including Arrayanes and La Cruz) and in the Sierra Morena (El
Centenillo and Salas de Galiarda), where mining and metallurgical activity assumed
great importance as is testified by associated defensive fortifications.
A Roman bas-relief thought to depict miners. Discovered near Linares in 1875.
The Romans applied cutting edge technology to the mines; well preserved Roman
waterwheels and Archimedes screws were discovered at El Centenillo in 1911.
The Iberian town of Cástulo, near Linares, was the capital of the mining district
during the Roman period. Registries dating from 1563, referring to mining
concessions in the area, point to continued mineral exploitation in the Middle Ages
and the period of Moorish domination. In 1749, the Spanish Crown took an interest in
the district, choosing to work the Arrayanes Mine. Mining assumed a new and
important impetus which attracted many technicians and specialized workers from the
Almaden mercury mines, 130 kilometres to the north-west.
The Heritage of the Industrial and Mining activity
The mining and smelting activities around Linares - La Carolina, particularly during
the 19th century, produced a great variety of mining structures that changed the
appearance of the region and left their mark in the towns and villages; they created a
distinctive mining landscape. The ore dressing floors, significant features in
themselves, gave rise to huge accumulations of waste, and in the 20th century tailings
and dams. The introduction of steam power in the mid-19th century resulted in the
widespread removal of trees and bushes for fuel and provoked frequent conflicts in
addition to those arising from the contamination. Life in the cities and villages, and
indeed the entire social structure of the region changed quickly as it adapted to the
newly industrialized society. This resulted in the emergence of a new social order,
particularly the rise of a new middle-class comprising engineers and specialized
workers from other areas and countries. The population of the Linares expanded
rapidly. At one time there were so many British mine workers in Linares, a British
Vice-Consol was established in the town and survived until 1948. One of the duties of
the Vice-Consul was to maintain the small English Cemetery on the edge of the town.
The cemetery, in it's tranquil setting still survives, and will be visited during the
The first Cornish pumping engine was installed in Pozo Ancho Mine in 1849 by the
Linares Lead Mining Association. The technology proved to be such a success that a
great proportion of the area's mines were equipped with these leviathans of the
industrial world.. John Taylor and Son's took over the management of the Association
in 1852 and established other companies in the area. The Linares Lead Mining
Company, together with its sister companies, Fortuna and Alamillos, paid up to three
relatively sizeable dividends per annum. So much so that they were sometimes
referred to as 'three drops of comfort'. The Linares Lead Mining Company has the
distinction of paying its 100th dividend in 1898. Probably an achievement never
accomplished by any other 19th century lead mining company.
Pozo Ancho mine: Winding engine house (left) and pumping engine house (right)
The Colectivo Proyecto Arrayanes have catalogued 34 Cornish type engine houses in
the district. Their robustness has allowed them to continue to stand out as distinct
reference points in the landscape and as symbols of industrial architecture. They are
now recognized as the second largest concentration of pumping engine houses in the
world. An extensive network of paths, roads and railways connect the remains
throughout the area and across the territory of eight municipalities.
Boiler houses were less sturdy than the pumping engine houses and there are fewer
preserved examples. One exception are the boiler houses erected by the Sopwith
Company. Thomas Sopwith junior, came from the north of England to Linares in
1864 to manage the La Tortilla mine to the west of the town. Later he also worked the
La Gitana mine. Many of the engine and boiler houses still survive, such as that at
Pozo Santa Annie at La Tortilla Mines.
At other mines, for example Pozo San Andres, only the stone foundations for the three
boilers remain. Some 84 remains of this type of building have been catalogued, but
only about 12 are in good condition.
At least three direct action engines ("Bull Engines") were installed in the district. One
example was built with red bricks and round windows over a set of underground
tunnels and rooms. The French style house of San Andres is one of only three of
"Bull" type that we think still exist in the world It is very well integrated into a
landscape that is also of great ecological value.
The San Andres mine 'Bull' engine house.
A significant example of winding technology is the iron headgear of Mina Antoñita.
The plaque on one of the girders indicates that it was manufactured at the Penryn
Foundry, Cornwall, probably between 1853 and 1887. In 1883, there were 88 winding
engines working in the area..
The Colectivo have catalogued about 234 winding engine houses, usually well
preserved, many of which wound using flat rope. In addition, there are 20 iron
headgears and 27 stone headgears, all of them very well preserved. Several of the
iron headgears associated with 20th century mining have been removed and now take
pride of place on several traffic roundabouts at the entrances to Linares.
We do not know of any other place in the world with similar number of headgears
constructed from stone and, thus, we consider them as a defining element of the
mining heritage of Linares.
The iron headgear of Mina Antoñita, manufactured at the Penryn Foundry, Cornwall.
There is another excellent example of a beam winding engine house at Pozo Briones
close the La Esmeralda Mine. It is very similar to the engine house that contains the
restored engine at Levant Mine, Cornwall (Rowe, C. 1998), and was probably
installed in the 1840s making it perhaps the first engine of the steam era in the area.
In the dressing works, the ore was crushed and the galena separated from the waste
before transport to the smelting works. Six important lead-smelters (La Cruz, Arroyo
Hidalgo, La Esperanza, La Tortilla, La Fortuna and San Luis) were working at the
same time in Linares and three more in La Carolina. In these, the galena was smelted
to give metallic lead (Anonimo. 1877). The La Tortilla smelter, founded by Thomas
Sopwith in 1874, became in 1885 the most modern and complete in Europe (Vernon
2013). La Cruz Foundry was created in 1830 by the Marquis of Remisa and, later was
bought by the Neufville family of Paris. It was the last foundry to be closed in the
district in 1986 and remains well preserved (Guía de Linares y su provincia, Jaén,
1880., 1993). Currently, there are four shot towers preserved in good condition, two in
Linares (La Cruz an La Tortilla), and two in La Carolina town. One of the shot towers
at La Cruz is unique as it has been partly constructed within a mine shaft.
Steam power was gradually replaced by electricity. The power stations generated
electricity from water-power, or from steam engines. One of the most important
power stations in Linares was that of the Mengemor Company.
There was also a local company known as "Linarense de Electricidad". The Central
Hydroelectric Power Station of El Arquillo was opened in 1921 on the Guadalimar
river (Compañía Sevilana de Electricidad., 1994). Apart from this supplemented
water-powered generators with steam turbines, at several mines such as El Guindo,
steam-powered generators were installed. Elsewhere in the district many structures
show signs of the equipment being converted from steam to electricity power.
Lead mining ceased at Linares in the 1990s. The town supported a motor
manufacturing industry, but this has and finished and is now a major centre for the
olive industry, and the production of olive oil.
The Colectivo Proyecto Arrayanes
thank you for visiting the Congress Internet site
and hope that we can welcome you to
11th International Mining History Congress,
6th to 11th September 2016
A Short Biography.
Carrera, G., Delgado A. & Zafra, P. (2007) Revista Andaluza de Patrimonio Histórico, No 61.
(Bienes, paisajes e itinerarios), available at:
Colectivo Proyecto Arrayanes. (2006) Distrito Minero Linares – La Carolina. Documento de
propuesta para la denominación como Patrimonio de la Humanidad.
Contreras F. & Dueñas J. (2010) La minería y la metalurgia en el Alto Guadalquivir: desde
sus orígenes hasta nuestros días. Instituto de Estudios Giennenses, Jaén, p. 422.
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Field trip guide to Linares (Jaén, Spain). In: History of research in mineral resources.
Publicación del Instituto
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Oficial de Ingenieros Técnicos de Minas de Linares (Jaén, Granada y Málaga)
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Minera Metalúrgica y de Ingeniería, Vol. XL lám 10, p. 355358,p. 363-366.
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Minera Metalúrgica y de Ingeniería, Vol. XLI, p. 1114, p. 1921.
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Metallica, 13, Sociedad Española para la Defensa del Patrimonio Geológico y
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Linares, Spain. British Mining nr. 95
Robert W. Vernon - August 2015