Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum

Loftus Mine - Tom Leonard Mining Museum - Land of Iron

Useful Information

Location: Mill Ln, Skinningrove, Saltburn-by-the-Sea TS13 4AP.
Take the A174 trunk road from Middlesborough towards Whitby. After passing through Saltburn look for the brown tourist sign. The Museum is on the left-hand side of the road.
(54.563398, -0.899995)
Open: Closed for renovation.
Fee: Closed for renovation.
Classification: MineIron Mine Ironstone.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=321 km.
Guided tours: D=90 min, V=6,000/a[2007].
Address: Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum, Deepdale, Skinningrove, Loftus, Saltburn, Cleveland TS13 4AP, Tel: +44-1287-642877, Fax: +44-1287-642977. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1847 Skinningrove mine opened.
1850 beginning of the great iron rush.
1865 Loftus Mine opened.
1958 Loftus Mine closed.
1981 Tom Leonard died.
1983 Tom Leonard Mining Museum opened to the public.
renamed Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum.
2022 closed for renovation, temporary exhibition at St Helen's Church in Carlin How.



The Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum is located at the site of the former Loftus Mine, which was the biggest of 83 ironstone mines in the area. The first who had the idea to create a museum on this site was Tom Leonard, former Evening Gazette journalist. When he died he left memorabilia which were the base of the museum when it was opened two years later. It was named Tom Leonard Mining Museum in his honor, but was later renamed Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum to allow the access of grant aid. There are now underground tours visiting the Skinningrove mine.

Cleveland is an area in the north-east of England, its name means literally cliff-land. East Cleveland is the northern end of a chain of cliffs called the North Yorkshire Heritage Coast. Beneath the highly industrialized Tees estuary there are more lowlands used as farmland. Interesting for us is the extremely hilly South Cleveland, an escarpment called the North York Moors. The distinctive hill called Roseberry Topping overlooking Newton-under-Roseberry is one of the best known symbols of Cleveland. It is the result of intensive mining activities, which gave the originally roughly conical hill a much steeper face.

In 2022 the museum is closed for major renovations. In this year a temporary exhibition is open at St Helen’s parish church Carlin How. It is called Mining Exhibition at St Helens Church. The extended and renovated museum will be reopened in 2023 and this exhibition discontinued.

The Museum is built on the site of the old Loftus Mine, which was worked for ironstone between 1865 and 1958. It is entirely managed and staffed by voluntary labour, but receives help and advice from Cleveland Potash Ltd and other local firms. Curatorial advice is given by the Redcar and Cleveland Museums Service.

The museum contains artefacts and photographs showing the history of the ironstone industry in Cleveland. The visitor enters the mine via an original drift from which about 1000 wagon of iron ore a day emerged. The visitor gets the complete experience of being underground and is even allowed to fire an "explosive" charge.

The museum is named after Tom Leonard, a local journalist, who collected many photographs and artefacts of the local ironstone industry. When he died in 1981 his family and friends established the museum in his memory.

The museum offers free car parking, museum shop for gifts and books, a picnic area and toilets. Many areas have disabled access - contact the museum to discuss arrangements.

Text by Tony Oldham (2001). With kind permission.