The place-name 'Leadgate' is first attested in 1590 and, contrary to folklore story of Miners having to pay a toll to go through a Gate to access the Lead mines, derives from the Old English 'hlidgeat', which means 'swing-gate'.
In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Leadgate
LEADGATE, a village and a chapelry in Lanchester parish, Durham. The village stands near Watling Street, 1 mile NE of Carrhouse r. station and 2½ ESE of Shotley-Bridge at the boundary with Northumberland; and has a post office ‡ under Gateshead. —The chapelry was constituted in 1863. Pop., 3, 413. The inhabitants are employed chiefly in coal mining and iron working. The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of Durham. Value, £300. Patron, alternately the Crown and the Bishop. The church is in the French pointed style, of the 13th century. There are chapels for Wesleyans and Roman Catholics.
25 Years Later n 1894-5, The Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Leadgate like this:
Leadgate, a village and an ecclesiastical parish within the ancient parish of Lanchester, Durham. The village stands on the great North Road, on Watling Street, and is about 2 ½ miles from Consett station on the N.E.R., and 2 ¼ ESE of Shotley Bridge, the boundary line between Durham and Northumberland. In 1895 the N.E.R. constructed a line of railway, with a station at Leadgate, which begins at Consett station and crosses Annfield Plain, joining the Team Valley line at Birtley. There is a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.) The ecclesiastical parish was constituted in 1863, and includes the village and township of Iveston, the hamlet of Crookhall, and part of the townships of Greencroft and Medomsley. Population, 4724. It is governed by a local board, is well supplied with water, and its elevated position makes it very bracing and healthy. The inhabitants are employed chiefly in coal-mining and iron or steel working. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Durham; gross value, £285 with residence. Patrons, the Crown, and Bishop of Durham alternately. The church is a stone edifice in the Early English style, and was erected in 1867. There are Wesleyan, Primitive Methodist, and Roman Catholic chapels.
Leadgate Station was opened in 1896 by North Eastern Railways, it was positioned on the North side of St Ives Road. The Station was in operation up to 1964 but was closed to passengers in 1955.
Eden Colliery 1850-1980
The Colliery was sunk c1844 but was fully operational from 1850, Mining was the main industry around Leadgate and up until the final closure in 1980. At its height, the Colliery employed 951 men in 1950 (746 below ground & 205 above). Numbers declined steadily from that peak and at the time of closure in 1980 had a workforce of 194.