The Portreath Tunnel, this is a series of photographs recently given to me by a friend. As far as we know there are no copyrights attached to these. Because these were originally sepia prints I have converted these to Black and White.
They are a set taken whilst the tunnel was being driven as part of the “Redruth Joint Drainage Scheme” during the years 1929-31. The portal still drains from the cliffs below RAF Portreath, the pumping station is situated along Penberthy Road on the outskirts of the village.
News reports from researcher Malcolm Nott: The Cornishman – 17 July 1930 REDRUTH-ILLOGAN DRAINAGE SCHEME INSPECTED. The Cornwall Surveyors Association paid their summer visit to Redruth on Thursday, when they inspected the ‘work in progress on the Redruth-Illogan joint drainage scheme.
The party was conducted around by Mr. Jaines D. Haworth (the consulting engineer of the scheme), who explained the scheme. After the morning tour the party was entertained to lunch by Mr. Haworth, at the Masonic Hall, Redruth, and later to tea at Gooden Heane Cliff.
The estimated cost of the Redruth Urban District Council’s scheme is £44,000 and the estimated cost for the rural portion is £80,000. The morning’s itinerary started from the railway station and the first visit was paid to Blowinghouse, where, under the county main road, the sewer was inspected. Another visit was paid to inspect a sewer under the Great Western Railway main line, which will be 400 feet long, which forms part of the Eastern valley sewer.
The party then proceeded to the Redruth reservoir, which was explained by Mr. T. M. King (surveyor of the Redruth Urban District Council). The party then went to the Helston road at Four Lanes, where the Atlas Diesel spades and shovels were seen at work and nearby the “Ruston” trench excavator was at work.
After lunch, the party proceeded to inspect the works at Portreath in connection with the scheme and the diversion of the Red River. There the works consisted of a conduit from the river to the face of the tunnel, with a strong steel and concrete bridge carrying the county road. The tunnel designed to deal with a flow of water equal to the second highest flow known in the Red River.
At Gooden Heane cliff the party clad themselves in oilskins and thigh boots, and descended a shaft 200 deep to inspect the tunnel. So far the tunnel has been driven distance of 1,100 feet, but when completed the total length will be 1,100 yards. The sewage will be discharged into the sea at a point three feet above the ordinary spring tides.
The Cornishman – 19 November 1931
THE PORTREATH TUNNEL. THOUSAND VISITORS INSPECT IT. About 1,000 members of the general public on Thursday availed themselves of the opportunity of inspecting the joint tunnel at Portreath, which has been constructed in connection with the Redruth and Illogan drainage scheme. The tunnel was lit throughout its length by electric light, and the visitors, who were conducted in groups of a dozen by members of the Joint Drainage Committee.
They were able to obtain a fine view of the rugged cliffs, for the mouth of the tunnel emerges just above high-water mark almost a mile north of Portreath. Numerous children from the Redruth and Portreath Council Schools, under the charge of their teachers, were among the visitors. Furthermore, the youngsters displayed considerable interest in the work. Mr. F. R. Pascoe (Mayor of Truro) also inspected the tunnel during the day.
The workmen who have been employed on the work were entertained at lunch and tea by the engineer (Mr. J. E. Haworth), as were members of the Redruth and Illogan St. John Ambulance Divisions. Who were under the charge of Supts: W. Lanvon and J. H. M.Craze respectively. Nurses from the West Cornwall Miners’ and Women’s Hospital were also present. No charge was made upon the visitors to the tunnel. A collection was taken in aid of these three organisations.
The Portreath Tunnel is 1,072 yds. in length. Subsequently driven through solid rock from end to end. The authorities concerned have been the Redruth Urban District Council and the Redruth Rural District Council. The estimated cost to these bodies respectively is £46,700 and £86,625, which figures include the joint sewer and tunnel. The contractors are Messrs. Carkeek and Sons Ltd, work commenced in July 1929. The System will be in full operation by November 30th.