Middleton and Upper Teesdale is a beautiful area whose main industry since Neolithic times has been farming. In the past this was mainly pastoral farming and today is the breeding of sheep and cattle.

In the Victorian period the main industry was lead mining. Many small farms were created in this time and the farmers were also lead miners. The mineralisation of the carboniferous rocks led to the presence of lead, zinc and fluorspar. Iron and lead have been mined here since the Middle Ages but the great upsurge occurred in the 18th century when the London Lead Company expanded its operations into Teesdale. A new estate was created in Middleton for the lead miners in the 1820s and the headquarters of the company were eventually moved to Middleton House in 1880.