Discoveries of iron ore in the 1840s and early 1850s in the Cleveland Hills in North Yorkshire, south of the River Tees led to the development of the area into one of Britain’s principal iron-producing regions. The museum at Skinningrove originated with a collection made by a local journalist Tom Leonard (1922-1983) who was concerned with the rapid loss of the landscape of mining and ironmaking that had characterised the area for more than a century. The museum was established in 1983. The main seam of ironstone in the region was identified at Skinningrove in 1847, some 6.5 million tonnes of stone were extracted in the area over 111 years, and much of the steel in the Sydney Harbour Bridges is stamped with the name of the Skinningrove steelworks. The museum occupies the site of the Loftus ironstone mine which closed in 1958. The highlight of a visit is a tour of a drift mine.