Botallack Mine: Certainly, this is one of the best known and dramatically placed mines in Cornwall. It worked from 1815-1914 producing a total of; 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 a tragic accident when the chain attached to the gig used for hauling men broke on its way to the surface. As a result, eight men and a boy sadly lost their lives.
For more information on the area follow this link: The Tin Coast
An archive image of the Crowns section, taken soon after it was abandoned.
Image used here by permission: Mac Waters as featured on www.cornishmemory.com
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 because 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.
Botallack Mine 2 – The first dramatic view of the Crown Engine Houses.
The owners kept the mine working a further 20 years until 1895. Closure finally came for the great mine 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.
Botallack Mine 3 – 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.
The story of the mine still went on, in 1905 a new company reopened the sett. 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.
Botallack Mine 4 – A second view of the Winder House at Botallack Mine. The Boiler House was on the flat area to the left of the image.
Botallack Mine 5 – A low angle image of the Crowns Engine Houses.
Botallack Mine 6 – 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.
Botallack Mine 7 – The Crowns Engine Houses taken after climbing down the rocks below.
Botallack Mine 8 – In storms the sea easily reaches these buildings. It must have been terrifying for the miners descending the gantry into the shaft.
Botallack Mine 9 – An “arty” image looking out to sea across the Pumping Engine House. This was built in the 1830’s and housed a 30″ engine.
Botallack Mine 10 – An image looking out of the flooded Boscawen Diagonal Shaft towards the whim (winding) house. The wooden gantry would have stretched from here to the house.
Botallack Mine 11 – Turning around, this is looking down the shaft to the water and into the mine. 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.
This is a dangerous climb up to the Botallack Mine Boscawen Shaft. It should not be attempted without the proper equipment.
Botallack Mine 12 – These are the remains of the New Botallack Power House. This dates from the early 20th Century re-working. The generators housed here supplied power to electric submersible pumps and dressing floors where the ore was processed.
Botallack Mine 13 – Looking down to the Crowns Engine Houses framed by the ruins of the Calcincer.
Botallack Mine 14 – Another image of the Calciner Labyrinth, here the Arsenic was collected form the condensing chambers.
Botallack Mine 15 – A closer look at the Calciner Chambers, eventually, it leads to the chimney in the background.
The last chapter of the mine was in the 1980’s. Geevor Mine conducted exploration in the area with a view to reopening the submarine levels of Botallack Mine. Allen’s Shaft was refurbished with a new steel headframe being installed. Sadly, the Tin price crash of the 1980’s put a stop to this and the project was abandoned.
Botallack Mine 16 – Slightly inland is the steel head gear on Allen’s shaft. This was erected by Geevor Mine in the 1980’s. The building with the sloping roof housed the winder for the shaft.
Botallack Mines 17 – One of my favorite images on this page, the buildings around Allen’s Shaft. This is on private land so it should not be entered without permission.
For more images follow this link: Allen’s Shaft
Botallack Mine 18 – These are the foundations for the winder at Wheal Cock. The headframe here was high as the shaft was further down the cliff. Because of this in high winds it was said to sway in an alarming fashion.
Botallack Mine 19 – The same foundations from the seaward side showing part of the extensive spoil heaps which dominate this part of the cliffs.
Botallack Mine 20 – Looking across the loadings for the winder. The sea is calm on a perfect summers day in Cornwall.
Botallack Mine 21 – This is the Wheal Cock Section of the mine. It was the focus of much of the early 20th Century re-working. The timbering in the engine shaft is quite extensive.
Botallack Mine 22 – This is an image looking up the shaft to the grate on the surface. Because the area here is unsafe it should not be approached without the correct safety equipment.
Botallack Mine 23: A final image of the Calciner Labyrinth, Allen’s Shaft headgear is in the background. On this occasion the clouds were so wonderful.
This is a wonderful piece of coastline that is steeped in history. It is hard walking in places however there are car parks locally. So, it is well worth a look, find a quiet corner and soak up the history.