Rookhope Arch, Co Durham: ‘A forgotten doorway to another world’

Has a system designed to remove poisonous gases ever looked so graceful as the one at Rookhope?

Like a forgotten doorway to another world, this small ruin has become an icon for the village of Rookhope. At Lintzgarth, just up the valley, the Rookhope Arch is one of few remnants of a two-mile flue that ran horizontally over the ground rising into the high moors, carrying poisonous gases from the village’s lead-smelting works.

In the early 1800s, all the major smelt mills of the North Pennines had such contraptions, releasing their fumes into the air above the fells.

There are better survivors at Ramshaw and Allendale, but Rookhope’s solitary arch — part of a six-arch viaduct for the chimney — has a charm of its own.

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