Ruth Mitchell

Laboratory's name marks East Cleveland heritage

A scientific centre, based deep below the North Yorkshire Moors, now has a new name to mark the area’s mining heritage. For over 15 years a team led by scientists from the University of Sheffield, has been based at the Cleveland Potash mine at Boulby, carrying out research into the presence of ‘Dark Matter’ – the unseen matter which is thought to make up 99 per cent of the universe.

The Boulby mine, Europe’s deepest mine with workings going down to 1,400 metres, was originally chosen because its depth cuts out other types of cosmic particles which could affect the sensitive equipment. Now it has been renamed the ‘Palmer Laboratory’ in memory of the local businessman Sir Charles Mark Palmer who played a key role in the development of the East Cleveland ironstone industry – forming the Grinkle Park Mining Company and then constructing the harbour at Port Mulgrave for the ships which used to transport the ore to his blast furnaces at Jarrow.

The naming ceremony below ground was performed by Mrs Ferelith Drummond, the great grand daughter of Sir Charles who was shown round the facility by Professor Neil Spooner and Doctor Sean Paling from the University of Sheffield and Professor Norman McCubbin of the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Whilst research into Dark Matter continues at the laboratory, it is intended to widen its use for other leading edge science requiring a similar environment of low background radiation.

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