A MUSEUM detailing the history of Craven's mining industry has closed down.

Trustees of the Yorkshire Dales Mining Museum, on School Lane, Earby, felt it was no longer sustainable.

The museum's future had been bleak ever since it lost a £2,500 grant from Pendle Council a couple of years ago.

A sponsor gave a donation last year to allow the museum to remain open for one more year, but trustee Margaret Brown said it needed to make £200 per week to remain open.

"It's a sad day," said Earby resident and museum founder Peter Dawson. "It was the biggest lead mining museum in the country and it had a fine collection.

"It had one of the biggest collections of mine wagons and the most complete water wheel and double roller ore crusher in the country."

The Kettlewell Providence Mine water wheel and ore crusher was rescued from the scrap man in September 1971 and is a prominent feature in the museum's well-looked after gardens. It is only piece of the museum still on site.

"All of the artefacts have gone to a museum in Hawes, apart from the water wheel," said the museum's former treasurer, Rosemary Carroll. "There were mining wagons, miner's tools and old mining ledgers. It was one of the oldest collections in the north."

"It's sad really, a lot of work went into this museum," said Morris Horsfield, who founded the museum with Mr Dawson and two other members of Earby Pothole Club.

"The museum came to Earby because of the pothole group. We brought things out of the mines."

Mr Dawson added: "We used to explore the old lead mines and we saved what we could from them. Lead mining was quite an important industry at one time. It covered a lot of the Dales."

The museum building - which was once a grammar school - is owned by the Robert Windle Foundation Trust and the trustees are hoping to reopen it in some capacity in the next few months.

After completing refurbishment work, the trustees will hold an open day for the community and all those interested in preserving the future of the 16th century building.

Mr Horsfield added: "Everybody looks on this building as belonging to Earby."