South Crofty Mine Old Workings Gallery will cover some of the older parts of South Crofty I visited. I was lucky enough to be taken to several areas that were off limits. On some of my trips with time so short I hardly had the chance to get the cameras out as we were moving so fast.
A great shame, I would have loved the chance to wander and explore but as usual I was with people who had to work for a living so I could not hold them up.
On a trip to the old East Pool Section of South Crofty this is Nick Le Boutillier about to negotiate one of the old watertight doors on the 260 Fathom Level New North Lode. I like the arrangement of the water valves, I suppose if you were feeling brave you would open the big one. Those maybe not so brave would have a go at the little one.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings, Nick Le Boutillier walking past a Cousin Jack Ore Chute along the 260 Fathom level Wet Lode of East Pool Mine, along the wall were the old services pipes for water and compressed air.
A slightly drier section of the same drive, above the passage would have been the production stopes, the ore would have been emptied into wagons and pushed to an ore pass for transport to the surface.
An abandoned work and storage area in the 260 Fathom Wet Lode East Pool Section of South Crofty Mine.
The Bridge over the stope (built in 1978, by Albert Rowe and Freddie Wills, to replace an earlier bridge). New North Lode 260 Fathom South Crofty Mine (East Pool section).
The bridge over the stope on New North Lode at Agar 252 Fathom level, many bridges like this could be found in South Crofty Mine Old Workings.
Nick Le Boutillier and Dave Cox standing in front of the sealed entrance to the Tolgus Tunnel, entrance was only opened when necessary due to high Radon Levels. It was re-entered by South Crofty Miners in the 1960’s.
The Tolgus group of mines were taken over by East Pool & Agar Ltd in 1918 and a project was put into action to explore the ground below the copper stopes of these mines to find new tin-bearing resources which were expected in this area.
The start of the Tolgus Tunnel, this was underwater for many years. The water level can be seen on the walls. It was very hot in here with high levels of Radon, I was advised not to hang around too long in here.
The plan was to drive a tunnel (The Great East Drive, later renamed The Tolgus Tunnel)from the eastern end of the workings on Great Lode, at the 252fm level, under the Tolgus Mines to intersect the tin zone. The tunnel was begun in 1920 and used a novel blasting method, firing onto a submarine net, which was then dragged back by the winch which is still in position in the tunnel. The tunnel was driven ENE around 1000 feet before intersecting a 13 foot wide lode carrying 148lb (6.72%) of wolfram and 10lb (0.45% or 0.35% Sn) of black tin per ton, which also met a narrow E-W caunter vein on its northern margin. This wolfram lode has been correlated with Great Lode, though that has never been definitively proven.
Ventilation piping stretches into the distance.
A further likely extension of this structure on 290fm was also named Great Lode later by South Crofty, however the developed lode was poor and the workings were abandoned. The influx of water when the lode was intersected was very large and coincided with the breakdown of the Wheal Agar electric pumps. The end of the tunnel had to be dammed to prevent the pumps being inundated, bringing a halt to the project.
Extensive Timbering in the Tunnel has held up well over the years.
Before the water problem could be solved possibly by controlled drainage via a stand-pipe the collapse of East Pool Engine Shaft in 1921 lead to the old section of the mine being abandoned and the establishment of a new mine to the north , centred on Taylor’s Shaft (sunk 1922-28). The Tolgus project was restarted with the sinking of the 2000’ vertical New Tolgus Shaft (sunk 1923-27) on the Great South Tolgus sett, but the hoped-for tin values were never found and the project was abandoned.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings: this image was taken with the camera on “B” setting. Whilst I walked down the passage firing off a flashgun at regular intervals. Old ventilation piping and a locomotive are on the left of the picture.
The end of the Tolgus Tunnel and the dam, behind this there was a huge column of water. The stains down the face of the dam were made by the water seeping through at very high pressure. It was a bit worrying standing in front of it. James Pettett is the poor bugger holding the flashgun, well it was a bit too close for me.
Nick Le Boutillier, Senior Mine Geologist standing in deep mud by the ventilation fan in the Tolgus Tunnel Section of South Crofty Mine. After East Pool Mine closed in the 1940’s this area became flooded. In the 1960’s these Old Workings were drained and incorporated into the modern mine.
The winding wheel of an old winch caked in mud in the Tolgus Tunnel Section.
A second image of the same winch.
The Tolgus Tunnel area was an amazing place, I was lucky to get there 3 times, on one occasion all the images I took were too hazy for use, on the other trips I had slightly better results. Follow the link below to see more.
South Crofty Old Workings Gallery 2