Dolcoath Mine was commonly known as “The Queen of Cornish Mines”. Dolcoath Mine was one of the richest and deepest in Cornwall. The mine was working as early as the 1730’s as a Copper producer, the mine deepened and started to discover huge tin deposits which were mined on a massive scale, the mine closed in 1920 having produced 350,000 tons Copper and 80,000 tons of Tin.
It is sad that such a great mine has so little left on the surface to see, with the addition of a new road through the Wheal Harriet site, there is even less now.
The paperwork is from Josiah Thomas who was the Dolcoath Mine Captain from 1867 to 1895. He first introduced compressed air drilling machines to the mine in 1876, along with Californian Stamps in 1892. He was appointed managing director of the mine in 1895 and died in October 1901. For more images follow this Link: Mining Documents
In 1895 a new shaft on the sett called Williams Shaft was started and completed in 1912, the shaft is 17ft in diameter and is 3300ft deep, thus making it the deepest in Cornwall. When the mine closed there was almost 70 miles of underground passage.
A Dolcoath Mine certificate dating from 1911.
An attempted re-opening on the northern section of the mine occurred in 1923, a new shaft was sunk at Roskear to 2000ft. The attempt failed, but had the shaft been further deepened they would have intersected the South Crofty Roskear lodes. If this had happened and Crofty had not brought the land things might have been very different, the irony of Cornish Mining.
The surviving mine buildings have recently been stabilised (late 1990’s), most of my images were taken in the mid 90’s before the work was carried out.
Harriett’s Engine House on Dolcoath Mine, built in 1860. It contained a 60″ Pumping Engine built by the Perran Foundry, this was re-cylindered in 1865 to 65″. This image is taken from the Boiler House side.
A second image of Harriett’s Shaft Pumping Engine House, taken in the mid 1990’s.
A side on view of Harriet’s Shaft Engine House.
The open Harriett’s Shaft, this was capped soon after the image was taken (1996). This shaft when Dolcoath Mine closed was 470 Fathoms deep below the adit level.
The Dolcoath Mine Dry, this is where the miners changed into their underground clothes, it is now a Youth Centre.
The Dry from a slightly different angle, this was built in 1888 when working it was heated by steam from Harriet’s Engine Boiler House.
At Harriet’s Shaft the original winder has been returned to its loadings. For more images follow this Link: Dolcoath Mine Winder
The Engine House at New East Shaft.
This house contained a rotative beam engine that hoisted from New East Shaft, there was a secondary beam that pumped water from adit level to supply the processing floors. The house was disused in 1894 when it was replaced by a steam winder.
In 1913 it was converted to an electricity substation which was housed in the building on the right of the image.
A close up of the wall, showing the fine brickwork and traces of plaster.
From inside the building, the Engine House windows have been bricked over at some time.
The well preserved Compressor House along with it’s chimney, the building dates from 1883.
The Dolcoath Mine Compressor House, this is the front of the building showing the ornate brickwork around the windows and door.
In 1895 a new shaft on the sett called Williams Shaft was started and completed in 1912, the shaft is 17ft in diameter and is 3300ft deep, thus making it the deepest in Cornwall. This image taken in 1912 reproduced here from: www.gracesguide.co.uk
The shaft here was sunk between 1895 and 1912, its vertical to 3000ft where it meets the Dolcoath Main Lode. At the bottom of the shaft is a chamber which contained a battery of electric pumps. The winding arrangement here was unique, the winder could not be placed far enough from the shaft as it would cross a nearby road. Therefore a winding engine made by Holman Brothers was installed that was mounted on rails and could literally move along the walls of the house. This enabled the winder driver to keep a straight approach to the headgear over the shaft, the maximum the engine moved was 16ft.
The Winding Engine House on Williams Shaft as it was in mid 1990’s. (Before stabilisation) In the foreground are the legs of a gantry which enabled water to be pumped from here to the research establishment at Nancekuke during the 1950’s.
A general view of the site, it was cleared and renovated in the early 2000’s.
The gable end of the William’s Shaft Winder House.
The bottom of Williams shaft taken in 1912, difficult to believe this was 3000ft underground. This image taken in 1912 reproduced here from: www.gracesguide.co.uk
The finely finished internal wall of the Winding House.
At the time the photo was taken the building was in danger of collapsing. Thankfully it has received some remedial attention.
The holes in the wall were to support the moving floor on which the winder was mounted.
The unique winding engine at Williams Shaft. Image used here by permission: Mac Waters as featured on www.cornishmemory.com
Taken from the foundations of the compressor house at Williams Shaft, in the distance the headframe over New Cooks Kitchen Shaft at South Crofty Mine.
The 60″ Pumping Engine House at Stray Park Mine, this became part of Dolcoath in 1870.
Never a profitable Mine, it was one of those that always showed more promises than results, it was sold to Dolcoath Mine for just under £2,000. The site has now been cleared and stabilised.
The next few general images were taken around the Dolcoath Mine site, taken in the early 1990’s the area is now heavily overgrown, a sad ending to such a great mine.
A view towards the Engine House at New East Shaft. in the background is the headframe of South Crofty Mine. In the foreground is the stump of a chimney and a base of an engine house.
A view from the edge of the Dolcoath Mine sett, looking towards the Engine Houses of Cook’s Kitchen Mine and the headframe of South Crofty on the left.
Looking across the stump of a second Engine House on the site, in the background is the Compressor House.
Looking across the bridge over the railway into the Dolcoath Mine site, the building in the background is the Compressor House, the concrete foundations to the right of the image are where the compressors were mounted.
Dolcoath Mine Winder