Saving Groverake

The last mining headframe in County Durham

The headframe at Groverake Mine has become an iconic landmark in County Durham, as you can see from the gallery photos below, but in 2016, it was a very different story – the headframe was at serious threat of demolition! 

The Friends of Groverake and The Friends of Killhope joined forces to save it.

The Campaign

The threat of demolition which hung over the last remaining headframe in County Durham for more than a year has been lifted.  

The Friends of Groverake formed to secure the future of this much loved landmark and working hard with interested parties to reach a positive outcome. The Friends, working with the Friends of Killhope, set up an appeal in a bid to take over the headframe and money poured in from all over the country and from as far afield as Ireland and the United States. The Friends rapidly reached their target of £20,000.  

But then the landowner agreed to take on the headframe rather than it being demolished in accordance with the original planning permission, now that the mining lease has come to an end. Margaret Manchester, chair of the Friends of Killhope, says, ‘We are all delighted with the landowner’s positive response. This is an excellent outcome for a historic structure which is dear to the hearts of local people. My father worked at the mine and I know how happy he will be at this news. We would like to say a massive “thank you” to all those members of the local community and the wider public who supported us and our appeal. Without such huge public interest we would probably have lost this vital part of our heritage for ever. All those who gave money will now receive a full refund and we wish the landowner all the best for the future of Groverake. We have offered him any help he might need in the coming months and years.’ 


Standing tall, a skeleton of our industrial heritage high in the Durham Dales, this headgear is an iconic monument to our past. 

Our ancestors mined the area for centuries, so not only do our towns and villages owe their existence to mining, but so do we. It is where we are from, it is who we are.

As the last head gear in the County, it has immense importance, not just an impressive landmark but as a reminder of our history, not merely to us but to our children, grandchildren and the generations to follow. Alec Manchester

 When a place loses its heritage, it loses its soul. John Grundy

Thanks to the Friends of Groverake and The Friends of Killhope, the future of the Groverake mine headframe near Rookhope is safe.