Objects | Art/Craft/Design


Egglestone Spar Box, 1800s

Killhope, The North of England Lead Mining Museum, Durham


1800 – 1899

The Egglestone Spar Box is a fantastic example of a Victorian folk craft object.

This spar box represents a street scene, with views travelling to infinity. The top part of the cabinet contains beautiful specimens of North Pennine minerals as well as a stuffed bird!

Spar boxes are mainly found in Weardale, in County Durham, especially at the end of the 19th century when there was a boom in this unusual craft.

The miners and people of Weardale would trade and swap minerals to create these boxes. Spar boxes were created to be ‘miniature worlds of wonder’.

The Egglestone Spar box is so named because it was kept in a private house owned by William Morley Egglestone. It was well known in the Upper Weardale community of St John's Chapel, although we don’t know when, why, or who built it; making it even more intriguing. One story is that it would be taken to local country shows by horse and cart and people were charged 3d or 6d to view it.  Originally it was designed to be lit by candles but since has been altered to be lit by electric lighting.

Maker unknown

On display at Killhope Museum

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