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The significant growth of Allendale Town and the surrounding villages was fuelled by that of the local lead-mining and smelting industries in the nineteenth century.
The remains of two flues from the former smelting mill (between Allendale and Catton) run to chimneys up on the fells high above the village.
The smelting mill is now home to the Allendale Brewery In 1869, the Hexham to Allendale railway was opened to provide improved transport, but its opening coincided with a rapid decline in the industry due to cheap imports of lead.
The last mines in the area closed in 1894 (although an attempt was made to re-open the mine at Allenheads in the 1970s).
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The local economy is predominantly based on agriculture (notably sheep farming) and tourism, although of late it has become a popular commuter town for Newcastle upon Tyne.Allendale has one of the greatest concentrations of bastles in the country and around 40 can still be seen, many as scenic ruins.Local mining for lead has occurred since Roman times, with the first smelting mill being constructed in the 1600s.The town or dale's name is referenced in Charles Jefferys' and Sidney Nelson's 1836 ballad Rose of Allendale, sung by Paddy Reilly, The Dubliners and many others, as well as in 'Lucy Gray of Allendale', a musical setting of the earliest known work by Cumbrian poet Robert Anderson.The town's New Year celebrations involve lighted tar barrels that are carried on the heads of revellers called guisers. It appears to have originated from the lighting of a silver band that were carolling at New Year.