Blue John Cavern

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Blue John Cavern
Blue John Veins in the Blue John Cavern.jpg
Blue John seams in the cavern
LocationCastleton, Derbyshire
Coordinates53°20′44″N 1°48′13″W / 53.3456°N 1.8035°W / 53.3456; -1.8035Coordinates: 53°20′44″N 1°48′13″W / 53.3456°N 1.8035°W / 53.3456; -1.8035
GeologyBlue John

The Blue John Cavern is one of the four show caves in Castleton, Derbyshire, England.[1]


Entrance to the Blue John cavern

The cavern takes its name from the semi-precious mineral Blue John, which is still mined in small amounts outside the tourist season and made locally into jewellery. The deposit itself is about 250 million years old.

The miners who work the remaining seams are also the guides for underground public tours. The eight working seams are known as Twelve Vein, Old Dining Room, Bull Beef, New Dining Room, Five Vein, Organ Room, New Cavern and Landscape.

In 1865, Blue John Cavern was the site of the first use of magnesium to light a photograph underground. It was taken by Manchester photographer Alfred Brothers.[2]

Blue John[edit]

In the UK Blue John, or "Derbyshire Spar", is found only in Blue John Cavern and the nearby Treak Cliff Cavern. It is a type of banded fluorite. The most common explanation for the name is that it derives from the French bleu-jaune, meaning 'blue-yellow', but other derivations have been suggested.[3]

In popular media[edit]

In the late 1950s the cavern was photographed in 3D by Stanley Long of VistaScreen, for sale at the souvenir booth and through mail order.[4]

The cavern was featured on the 2005 TV programme Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of the Midlands.

In the 2010 series of How it's Made, the cave and jewellery production of Blue John was featured.

Blue John Cavern is also visited by a couple in the 2013 film Sightseers.


  1. ^ "Blue John Cavern". Peak Hideaways. Retrieved 22 Jan 2017.
  2. ^ Chris Howes (1989-12-23). "Art of Darkness". New Scientist. Retrieved 5 Jul 2014.
  3. ^ George, Ken (2009). An Gerlyver Meur: Cornish-English, English-Cornish Dictionary. Cornish Language Board. ISBN 1-902917-84-7.
  4. ^ Ference, Ian (2018-11-23). "Series: Blue John Caverns". Brooklyn Stereography. Retrieved 2019-08-16.

External links[edit]