Botallack Mine, this is one of the best known and dramatic mines in Cornwall. It worked from 1815-1914 producing 22,465 tons Copper, 14,888 tons Tin and 1,525 tons of Arsenic. The two engine houses on this section “The Crowns” were renovated in 1984 by the Carn Brea Mining Society. The upper winding house served the Boscawen Diagonal Shaft. Work started here in 1858 to gain access to the undersea rich sections of the mine far out underneath the Atlantic sea bed. In April 1863 this was the site of an accident when the chain attached to the gig used for hauling men broke on its way to the surface, eight men and a boy lost their lives.
On July 24th, 1865 the Prince and Princess of Wales (later Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) visited the mine and went underground here, undeterred by the fatal accident they traveled the same route as the miner’s on that fateful day in 1863..
In 1874 the Crowns area was abandoned when the ores were worked out. The lower engine house contained a 36″ Pumping engine which worked from 1835-1895 draining this section of the mine.
An archive image of the Crowns section of Botallack Mine soon after it was abandoned.
Image used here by permission: Mac Waters as featured on www.cornishmemory.com
The owners kept the mine working a further 20 years until 1895. The mine was finally closed when the undersea Wheal Cock section was flooded when a dam underground failed, that and the low price of Tin was the end of the old mine.
The first dramatic view of the Crown’s Engine Houses.
The story of the mine still went on, in 1905 a new company reopened Botallack Mine, the Tin price had risen and things were promising. A new vertical shaft “Allen’s Shaft” was sunk, new surface plant and processing was installed onsite. Regrettably after disappointing results, problems with ore processing and a huge amount of expenditure the mine once again closed on March 14th 1914.
In the 1980’s Geevor Mine conducted exploration in the area with a view to reopening the submarine levels, Allen’s Shaft was refurbished with a new steel headframe installed, sadly the Tin price crash of the 1980’s put a stop to this.
The Crown’s Engine Houses taken from the hill, the closer is Pearce’s Engine House built in the 1850’s. This wound from the diagonal Boscawen Shaft which was the access to the undersea levels, the further is the Pumping Engine House.
A second view of the Winder House at Botallack Mine, the Boiler House was on the flat area to the left of the image.
A low angle image of the Crowns Engine Houses.
This image is taken from near the Wheal Button Shaft below is the entrance top the incline Boscawen Shaft. When in use there was a wooden gantry reaching from the higher house to the mouth of the shaft.
The Crowns Engine Houses from below.
In storms the sea easily reaches these buildings, it must have been terrifying for the miners descending the shaft.
An “arty” image of Botallack Mine looking out to sea across the Pumping Engine House, this was built in the 1830’s and housed a 30″ engine.
An image looking out of the flooded Boscawen Diagonal Shaft towards the whim (winding) house at Botallack Mine, the wooden gantry would have stretched from here to the house.
Turning around, this is looking down the shaft to the water, this inclines at thirty two and a half degrees for a distance of 2,500 feet reaching a vertical depth of 250 fathoms below the adit.
The remains of the Botallack Power House, dating from the early 20th Century re-working it supplied power to electric submersible pumps and dressing floors where the ore was processed.
A view of the Crowns Engine Houses framed by the ruins of the Calcincer.
A view of the Calciner Labyrinth at Botallack Mine, here the Arsenic was collected form the condensing chambers.
A view of the Calciner Labyrinth at Botallack, it leads to the chimney in the background
Slightly inland is the headframe on Botallack Mine Allen’s shaft erected by Geevor Mine in the 1980’s.
For more images follow this link: Allen’s Shaft Botallack
One of my favorite images on this page, the buildings around Allen’s Shaft.
A final view of the headframe, in the foreground are the mine yard walls from the 1906 re-working.
These are the foundations for the winder at Wheal Cock, the headframe here was high as the shaft was further down the cliff, in high winds it was said to sway in an alarming fashion.
The same foundations from the seaward side showing part of the extensive spoil heaps.
Looking across the loadings out to sea on a perfect summers day.
The Wheal Cock Section of Botallack Mine was the focus of much of the early 20th Century re-working. This is a view of the extensive timbering in the Wheal Cock Engine Shaft.
This is an image looking up the shaft to the grate on the surface, the area here is unsafe and should not be approached without the correct equipment.
Allen’s Shaft Botallack