Cornish Mines Underground 2: This set of photographs were taken in a “modern” Cornish Mine that closed in the 1980’s. The only accessible workings here were on the Adit level, these were unstable and dangerous with areas of bad air. It is always very interesting exploring recent workings, these were very easy as there was no rope work involved. It is very close to the surface in some areas and the roof has become dangerous in places.
There is now no access to this site, it has been gated, it is on private land and access is restricted. The images here were taken in and around 2004-2005, and reprinted in the darkroom in 2017.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.1-This first image is taken at the No1 Level Shaft Station, this is looking down the circular concrete lined shaft to the water below.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.2- A zoomed in image looking down the shaft, the cage guides are still in place, to the right long dead wires still feed down into the water.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.3- This is taken looking up the shaft to the surface, the cage guides stretch into the darkness.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.4- Once again looking up the shaft, on this image the emergency ladder can be seen in the centre of the image, this still leads into the dark water below.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.5- The complete No1 Level Shaft Station, almost as if the miners had left recently, quiet only for the dripping of water. There are not many places in Cornwall you can see an adit shaft station these days.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.6- The shaft gates were still in good condition and opened easily, the electric call buttons for communication with the winder driver were still attached to the gate posts.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.7- This is Dave standing in front of the gates with a second slave flash, the emergency ladder is just beside him.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.8- This was the main adit level which discharged the water from the mine.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.9- In 1977 it was estimated that around 1,500 million gallons of water was pumped out of the workings, this equates to an hourly average of approx 171,000 gallons. (I hope my facts are correct)
Cornish Mines Underground 2.10- A huge collection of pipes heading back to the shaft station, the wall was in place to stop any water flowing back into the workings.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.11- The water would have flowed from the mine and down the adit to the outside. The ground above was very unstable hence all the bracing and reinforcement.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.12- The main Adit passage, with the camera set on”B” and mounted on a tripod. I walked the length of the passage in darkness shooting the flashgun at regular intervals. A few wasted efforts but I think the final result was well worth it. At the far end the passage had completely collapsed, this is my favorite image on this page, the print took me quite a while to get right in the darkroom.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.13- Not quite as good as the previous but still worth a look, the roof had really started to decay in this part of the mine.
The rest of the images on this page were taken in the workings around adit level but away from the shaft.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.14- Dave making his way through a section which was very unstable, this had been heavily braced with wood and metal, but after 30 years in the damp atmosphere this had started to fail. In a few years time this area will be inaccessible.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.15- This is one of the larger drives heading away from the shaft, once again the camera is on a tripod and I have walked the passage with a flashgun. A line on the wall indicates this at some point was flooded.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.16- At the end of the drive is a dam. This was here in case the main adit flooded to prevent water ingress into the workings, deep mud this side indicated the area had flooded in the past. Drainage pipes can be seen in the floor on the right of the image.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.17- In some of the older sections the ground is very unstable, some of it actually rather nasty, the air in this section could be very nasty.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.18- Some of the ground here was so soft it was amazing the level was still open.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.19- A very heavily timbered section, the water level in here can vary very much.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.20- Graffiti from 1978, may have been left by a surveyor as the mine was actually open then, Dave is down the passage holding a second flash.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.21- Dave again lighting up the passage for the camera, hooks for air and water can be seen in the wall on the left.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.22- One of the open stopes had a section of dry stone walling, in front were the remains of an old fashioned wagon, all but the metalwork had rotted away.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.23- Above the dry stone wall the stope headed up into the roof. This was at quite a shallow depth, some of these must have gone close to the surface. At the back of the stope near the roof the air was quite bad.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.24- The stopes were quite extensive, they had been mined using a “pillar and stall” method, which leaves pillars of rock in place to support the roof. Surveying marks are on the lower wall to Dave’s right.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.25- This is an image of me approaching one of the square working bays, this was taken with the camera on a tripod and me stumbling round in the dark with a flashgun in my hand.
Cornish Mines Underground 2.26- The final image on this page, once the miners had worked out this bay, the pillar would have left behind so mining could continue beyond.
I must say again, NEVER enter old Mine Workings without the correct training, experience and equipment, the fact that the images are on the following pages DOES NOT infer access or permission. There are many groups in Cornwall active in underground exploration. Please check on the internet and go underground in safety with experienced explorers, never take risks, never just pop in for a look.
Cornish Mine Gallery Underground 3