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 these 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 mines output before and after the merger was a total of 290,118 tons Copper, 43,134 tons of Tin.
Basset Mines.1: Looking across the heart of the Great Flat Lode district and Marriott’s Shaft of South Wheal Frances Mine.
Basset Mines.2: The impressive remains at Marriott’s Shaft South Wheal Frances section of Wheal Basset, 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 have been recently consolidated.
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.
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.
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 the Basset’s offers it is breath taking views of amazing buildings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Basset Mines.10: A final image of the great Engine House, the capped shaft is directly in front of the building.
Basset Mines.11: An impressive image looking down the brick lined Marriot’s Shaft, timber compartments can still be seen further down.
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.
Basset Mines.13: The first view of Pascoe’s Shaft Whim Engine House, the Boiler House remains are quite substantial.
Basset Mines.14: 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.
Basset Mines.15: A final image of Pascoe’s Shaft Whim at Basset Mines, it was built in 1879 the Boiler House held two boilers.
Basset Mines.16: A view of Pascoe’s Shaft Pumping Engine House through the Boiler House wall.
Basset Mines.17: The Pumping Engine House on Pascoe’s Shaft South Wheal Frances section Basset Mines. 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.
Basset Mines.18: A view of both Engine Houses, the closer is the pumping engine.
Basset Mines.19: A closer image showing the unusual slit windows in the finely built Pumping Engine House.
Basset Mines.20: The remains of Thomas’s 60″ Pumping Engine House of West Basset Mine built in 1854, this is the oldest surviving Engine House on the Great Flat Lode.
Basset Mines.21: A close image of the Bob Wall showing the 1854 date stone.
Basset Mines.22: An image of Wheal Basset Stamps, the engine house contained two 30″ rotary beam engines which drove 96 heads of stamps to crush the ore.
Basset Mines.23: The stamps would have been in front of the engine house at right angles, one of the mounting blocks is in the foreground.
Basset Mines.24: A second image of the Basset Stamps printed in a more dramatic fashion.
Basset Mines.25: An image of the fine wall at the Vanner House (Processing House) at Wheal Basset Stamps.
Basset Mines.26: The same building looking the other way, certainly one of the best prints on this page.
Basset Mines.27: An image looking down the centre of the Vanner House.
Basset Mines.28: Looking through the arched entrance into the Vanner House, before any remedial preservation was carried out.
Basset Mines.29: A nicely framed image of the Vanner House looking through the arched entrance, the arch has received some repairs replacing the damaged bricks.
Basset Mines.30: The top of one of the mounting blocks for the stamps, the bolts remain in situ.
Basset Mines.31: A slightly elevated view of the mounts, in total there were 96 heads of Stamps erected here the noise must have been amazing.
Basset Mines.32: Taken with a telephoto lens this image is looking towards West Basset Stamps, in the background is the monument on Carn Brea.
Basset Mines.33: Moving closer to West Basset Stamps, the Engine houses on the left belong to Lyle’s Shaft of Wheal Basset.
Basset Mines.34: Lyle’s 80″ Pumping Engine House of Wheal Basset, in the background is the Whim House, taken before the preservation work had been carried out.
Basset Mines.35: An image of the pair of Engine Houses, the Whim House is arranged at right angle to the Pumping House, these were erected in the 1880’s.
Basset.Mines.36: This small Engine House that supplied water to the Dressing Floors.
Basset.Mines.37: Lyle’s 80″ Engine House, in the foreground is the small Pumping Engine House from the previous image.
Basset.Mines.38: The Whim House at Lyle’s Shaft, erected in 1880 this contained a 27″ Winding Engine. The shaft reached a final depth of 230 Fathoms.
Basset.Mines.39: This is the second processing area of the Basset Group is West Basset Stamps, this image was taken before the site was cleared and consolidated. On the left of the image are the Calciner remains with the chimney behind, in the centre is the impressive Vanner House, on the skyline is the engine house that drove the 80 heads of Cornish Stamps, in the foreground are the remains of Buddles which were used to concentrate the Tin from the crushed ore. On the left of the image is a Calciner.
Basset.Mines.40: A second image of the impressive Vanner House remains, this was built in 1906.
Basset.Mines.41: Almost like a medieval castle the ruins of the Vanner House still stand proud.
Basset.Mines.42: A detailed image showing the well preserved walls, in the background is the Stamps Engine, this drove a total of 80 heads of Stamps, 32 on one side and 48 on the other.
Basset.Mines.43: A closer image of the Stamps Engine House at West Basset, the Engine was a 40″ cylinder built in Camborne in 1875.
Basset.Mines.44: The overgrown area in front of the walls is filled with buddles for slime treatment, a total of 16 are hidden in the undergrowth.
Basset.Mines.45: This image shows the flywheel slot in front of the Engine House, the loadings for the stamps would extend on both sides.
Basset.Mines.46: This was taken whilst walking up the lane to Carn Brea, looking back towards West Basset Stamps. The chimney on the right belongs to the Arsenic Calciner, on the left is the Stamps Engine Chimney, in the centre can just make out one of the Engine Houses at Wheal Uny.
Basset.Mines.47: Still on the way up to Carn Brea, this image is looking back at Wheal Basset Stamps. Lyle’s Engine House can be seen in the bottom right hand corner of the image.
These are some of the most impressive set of surviving remains in Cornwall and one of my favorites. I hope I have done this amazing site justice.
Basset and Grylls Mine