The Basset Mines: This mining group came about after an amalgamation of three neighbouring companies; South Wheal Frances, West Wheal Basset and Wheal Basset.
All of these mines had worked as Copper producers during the 18th and 19th centuries. During the 1820’s -30’s most of the shallow Copper workings had been exhausted, steam power was employed more to keep the mines dry as the miners dug deeper. With more depth the mines reached the rich Tin deposit known as the “Great Flat Lode” named thus due to the shallow dip of the Lode making it almost flat. Tin production gradually increased during the latter half of the century. By the 1880’s Copper annual output had been overtaken by Tin.
The merger of the mines took place in 1896 after several boundary disputes, where miners had accidentally crossed into their neighbours sett. The company remained until 1918 when the falling Tin price forced closure. The group’s output before and after the merger was a total of 290,118 tons Copper, 43,134 tons of Tin.
The Basset Mines.1: The first image on this page is looking across the heart of the Great Flat Lode district and Marriott’s Shaft of South Wheal Frances Mine.
The Basset Mines.2: The impressive remains at Marriott’s Shaft South Wheal Frances section, built in 1897.
The extensive remains here are centered around the 80″ Engine House. The shaft is brick lined with a 14ft diameter and reached a depth of 340 Fathoms. The buildings here include: Ore Sorter, Miner’s Dry, Winding Engine, Boiler, Compressor and Pumping Engine Houses. All the structures have been recently consolidated.
The Basset Mines.3: Looking back at the site from the opposite side, the base of the Ore Hopper is first in the image, followed by the Compressor House.
The Basset Mines.4: A closer image of the complex. The Winder House is on the left and the Boiler House is on the right which contained six Lancashire Boilers. The Winder was built in 1900 by Holman Brothers.
The Basset Mines.5: One of my favourite images of the site that I took last year 2016. This is looking at the 80″ Pumping Engine House from inside the Miner’s Dry. If there is one thing this area offers it is breath taking views of amazing buildings.
The Basset Mines.6: A view of the Engine House framed by the wall of the Winder House. This housed a horizontal winding engine made by Holman Bros of Camborne. It could wind at an impressive rate of 2,000 feet per minute.
The Basset Mines.7: The almost church like Marriott’s Pumping Engine House, the shaft is in front of the camera close to the house. The building to the left is the compressor house which supplied air to the underground rock drills.
The Basset Mines.8: Most Engine houses were built to impress, the adventurers seeing how grand the buildings and efficient the operation were almost conned into investing more money. These buildings although ruined still take my breath away.
The Basset Mines.9: Different from most other Engine Houses this building has no Bob Wall, the beam was actually beneath the floor. The Engine could pump up to 1,600 gallons of water per minute.
The Basset Mines.10: A final image of the great Engine House, the capped shaft is directly in front of the building.
The Basset Mines.11: An impressive image looking down the brick lined Marriot’s Shaft, timber compartments can still be seen further down.
The Basset Mines.12: The remains of the Ore Hopper at Marriott’s Shaft, this would have had a timber structure build around it. On the top there was a grizzler to stop large rocks from entering, these would have been further reduced in size in a crusher mounted close by. Once sorted the ore was taken along a tramway by a steam locomotive to the mine’s dressing floors for processing.
I do find it difficult to stop going back to these ruined remains. It’s so special, the light changes constantly and the ruins are stunning. The next few images of Marriott’s Shaft were taken in 2016 in the late afternoon, the sun was on the rear walls, so I made the most of it.
The Basset Mines.13: The great Engine House from the rear of the building. It is just as awe inspiring from this side, what a sight to see when it was operational.
The Basset Mines.14: This image is taken further back looking at the buildings. On the extreme left is the Boiler House, Engine House in the centre and the Compressor House is on the right.
The Basset Mines.15: This is the rear wall of the Boiler House. It contained a total of six Lancashire Boilers which powered the whole complex.
The Basset Mines.16: The Compressor House, the square holes at the base of the walls are bolt tunnels. When the machinery was being fixed in place a man had to be underneath tightening up the bolts.
The Basset Mines.17: Another more angled view of the Compressor House with the Engine House just behind.
The Basset Mines.18: A final view of the Marriott’s Complex. The Compressor House framed by the ruins of another building.
Now, walk down the site to see Pascoe’s Shaft formally part of South Frances Mine.
The Basset Mines.19: The first view of Pascoe’s Shaft Whim Engine House, the Boiler House remains are quite substantial.
The Basset Mines.20: The 30″ Whim Engine House at Pascoe’s Shaft from the boiler house side, the line of the roof can be seen on the engine house wall.
The Basset Mines.21: A final image of Pascoe’s Shaft Whim. It was built in 1879 the Boiler House held two boilers.
The Basset Mines.22: A view of Pascoe’s Shaft Pumping Engine House through the Boiler House wall.
The Basset Mines.23: The Pumping Engine House on Pascoe’s Shaft South Wheal Frances section. This contained an 80″ pumping engine built in 1881, it worked here until the mines closure in 1918 when it was drawing water from a depth of 340 fathoms.
The Basset Mines.24: Another lovely image of both the Engine Houses. The pumping engine is closest to the camera.
The Basset Mines.25: A closer image showing the unusual slit windows in the finely built Pumping Engine House.
The Basset Mines.26: These are the remains of Thomas’s 60″ Pumping Engine House. This was built in 1854 probably making it the oldest surviving Engine House on the Great Flat Lode.
The Basset Mines.27: A final close image of the Bob Wall showing the 1854 date stone. The quality of the stone work is quite impressive.
The rest of the group are covered on the next page. Finally, there is a dedicated walking route around the Great Flat Lode, follow this link for more information:
Great Flat Lode
West Basset Stamps