This page covers Gwennap Mining District, including; the mines of St Day and Chacewater then following the Carnon Valley to Devoran.
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries this area was describe as the “richest square mile to be found anywhere on the earth”. The district was made famous by some of Cornwall’s richest mines, initially mined for Tin in shallow deposits this was worked out and Copper became the major mineral of importance. The mines here were isolated from the coast so tramways were laid to ferry the ore to ports at Portreath and Devoran for shipping out to the smelters.
One of the greatest achievements was the construction of the Great County Adit which was commenced in 1748 by John Williams of Scorrier to drain Poldice Mine, eventually this reached nearly 40 miles in length draining many of the mines in the district, a great piece of Cornish engineering.
The majority of these pictures were taken in the 1990’s, things have changed a lot since then.
Harvey’s 85″ Pumping Engine House on Great Wheal Busy, this well preserved survival is west of Chacewater and retains the stack and boiler house, in the valley below are the remains of the mine’s calciner and the foundations of the processing shed. The mine worked from 1815-1924. This was taken in the mid 1990’s and it one of my favorite sites in the Gwennap Mining District.
Looking back at the engine house and workshops of Great Wheal Busy, in the foreground is the Bruton Calciner.
For more images follow this link: Great Wheal Busy
The graceful Engine House at Hawke’s Shaft of Killifreth Mine, this contained an 80″ pumping engine. The mine worked from 1859-1920, producing 4,060 tons Tin, 681 tons Copper and 360 tons of Arsenic.
Killifreth Engine house with the tall graceful chimney.
Killifreth Stamps Engine house, in the background it the arsenic stack for the mine.
For more images follow this link: Killifreth Mine
The two surviving Engine Houses of Unity Wood Mine at Magor’s Shaft. The closer house contained a 70″ pumping engine built by Harvey’s of Hayle in 1861, the smaller house was for a 20″ dual purpose engine used for winding and for powering stamps to crush the ore. The mine worked from 1815-1873 producing 22,700 tons of Copper and 1,200 tons of Tin.
An image looking towards the Winding/Stamps House on Magor’s Shaft Unity Wood Mine, nicely framed by the shadow of the Pumping House.
Consols and United Mines, these are the remains of Taylor’s Whim house, the mine Clock Tower is in the background.
The base of the Consols Clock Tower, the bottom section is of well cut stone.
A view across Consols, looking towards the Mount Wellington Tailings Dam.
The Stamps Engine House of Gwennap United, built in 1900 to re-work dumps in the area.
For more images follow this link: Consols Gallery
Part of the remains of the Poldice Mine Processing Plant.
For more images follow this link: Poldice Mine Arsenic Works
The headframe standing over the shaft of Mount Wellington Mine, one of the modern mines in the Gwennap Mining District, it closed in the 1980’s.
A second image of the headframe from inside the compound.
For more images follow this link: Mount Wellington Mine
The modern entrance to the Great County Adit, this eventually drained over 100 mines with a length of over 40 miles.
From Twelveheads the footpath crosses the Carnon River, this rather lovely bridge holds the footpath up. At sometime sluices under the arch would have controlled water flow.
The bob wall of the 80″ Engine House of Nangiles Mine, the remainder of the house was demolished in 1967. Wheal Jane used the shaft as an access point in the 1980’s. Large mine dumps are in the valley below. The mine was highly acidic due to the Sulphides present in the ores, it was said the water could burn the boots off a man in a day.
A closeup image of the bob wall.
The mine worked from 1845-1906 producing 3,000 tons of Copper and 193 tons of Tin.
One the right is Nangiles Mine, on the left is the headframe of Mount Wellington Mine.
At the base of the Carnon Valley there were the remains of a stone crushing plant, this was taken in the early 1990’s.
The site is now occupied by Bissoe Bike Hire.
The remains Point Mills Arsenic Works at Bissoe was run by the British Arsenic Company which ran the works for a century up to the outbreak of World War 2.
A view of the Wheal Jane processing plant and offices.
The twin headframes of Wheal Jane Mine which was finally closed in 1992 when the pumps were switched off.
For more images follow this link: Wheal Jane Mine
The interior of the mill at Whael Jane Mine, this worked up to 1998 when South Crofty Mine closed, a sad loss to the Gwennap Mining District.
For more images follow this link: Wheal Jane Mine Mill
The mine water treatment works at the Wheal Jane Mine site, taken in 2013.
In 1906 Falmouth Consolidated Mines were formed by the amalgamation of several smaller mines, this enterprise worked until 1916, this wall is the remains of the power house of the unsuccessful venture.
The Pumping Engine House of Wheal Grambler. the mine worked from 1843-1893 producing 12,500 tons of Copper and 97 tons of Tin.
Looking across the open shaft to the engine house.
The interior of the Wheal Grambler Engine House.
The fenced off shaft.
The lone chimney of Park-An-Chy Mine, it worked from 1910-1930 producing only small quantities of Tin and Wolfram.
The strangest mine in the Gwennap Mining District The remains of Carnon Stream Mine at the lower end of the Carnon Valley. It dates from the 1820’s and worked the rich Tin bearing gravel in the bed of the river.
A small Lime Kiln near to the Devoran Quay, this is the other end of the Portreath Tramway.
Remains of Ore Hutches alongside Devoran Quay.
Central to St Day is St Day Holy Trinity Church which was built in 1826-8. For such an important mining district it was focus for the miners and local community.
The last image on the Gwennap Mining District. In 1956 the Church was deemed dangerous due to mining subsidence, sadly it was closed. In 1985 part of the roof collapsed, as a result, the remainder of the roof was blown up. I love this building it has a magic of its own.
St Agnes Mining District