The Mining Museums
The Cobalt Mines have a long, rich industrial history beginning in 1773 and stretching until 1893. Several of the buildings from this time have been restored in the Mining Yard and tell the story of the mining operations and the people involved in the work.
The Canteen, Mine Manager’s Residence and Sorting House are all buildings whose names bear witness to the mining work which went on here during the 18th and 19th centuries. With the help of old photographs by Karl Gercke from the 1860s, we were able to recreate the building landscape, using original materials wherever possible. Historical displays are now housed in the mining museums, which stand on the original foundation walls.
The Canteen was the field kitchen, where the mine workers were served their meals. At the centre of it all is the Mine Manager’s Residence. As its name indicates, this was where the Mine Manager was based. With views in every direction, he was able to see everything that was going on around the mining yard. We have dedicated this building to a display about Mine Manager Karl Friedrich Böbert. He was probably the person who had biggest single impact on the Cobalt Mines while they were open, revolutionising operations here during his stint as Mine Manager from 1827-1840.
The Sorting House had two functions, and we show both of these. The ground floor was used purely for sorting, and was where the rock was separated into cobalt-rich ore and rejected waste. The first floor was used as a school in the evenings, and was where the boys who worked as sorters during the day received an education.
The displays in these three buildings tell the story of the Cobalt Mines. Not only the technical mining history, but also the social conditions, the stories of certain prominent individuals, and the geology of the region, as well as the use of cobalt through the ages, right through to the present day.
Entry to the mining museums is free.