Peter Crosthwaite was born at Dale Head, Thirlmere,
1735. He returned to Keswick, 1779, after being a
naval commander. He set up a museum in the town, in what
is now Museum Square near the Market Place, in 1780.
Exploring the mountains around Skiddaw, he discovered that certain slates were musical. His memorandum book, 11 June 1785:-
June 11th, 1785 found my first 6 musical stones at the Tip end or North end of long tongue.
These six were said to be in perfect tune. It took another 6 months to find ten more stones, which had to be tuned a little by chipping bits off
The 16 stones were arranged as a lithophone which Peter Crosthwaite played, while his daughter and an old woman played on drum, chinese gong, and a barrel organ, to attract customers to his museum