South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface: The sinking of Roskear Shaft was begun by the Dolcoath Company in 1923, after the closure of Dolcoath Mine in 1921, this was planned to be the focus of the New Dolcoath Mine. The circular, brick-lined, shaft was sunk by shaft sinkers from South Wales and eventually reached 2000 feet deep by late 1926. Levels at 1700, 1900 and 2000 feet intersected a number of lodes and some limited stoping was done on the Roskear Complex for wolfram and tin. Though some of the lodes showed promise the company ran out of capital and attempts to raise more failed. Operations ceased in December 1929 and the company went into receivership in April 1930.
South Crofty acquired all the Dolcoath assets in 1936. Unbeknown to the Dolcoath miners, had they sunk the shaft a further 200 feet they would have discovered the Roskear and Dolcoath lodes that were such a major resource for South Crofty. The Roskear section was really developed from 1979 onwards after a major exploration drilling programme, and became perhaps the most important ore zone in the mine up to its closure in 1998. Many of the lodes found in the 1920’s with depth became very rich. Had they been developed it is likely that Dolcoath would have persisted into the 1990’s and bought out South Crofty rather than the other way around – such is mining!
Once the Dolcoath and Roskear lodes began to be exploited Roskear Shaft became a major (updraught) ventilation shaft with large fans at the collar. Many local people remember the plume of warm moist air that rose above the shaft in Winter, visible for miles. In the early 1990’s the shaft was deepened to the 400fm level and was refurbished with a new winder house, and a secondhand winder purchased from Wheal Jane with the intention to become the mines secondary egress after the condemnation of Robinson’s Shaft in 1994.
Robinson’s Shaft was finally decommissioned in 1996, the changeover was completed on the 17th June that year.
(Notes courtesy of Dr Nick Le Boutillier)
These images were taken in 1997 when I was lucky enough to have a tour of the facility.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.1 – This is the newly erected headframe (1996) which stood over the shaft at a height of 14m. The building on the right of the image was the fan house.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.2 – This is the electrical switch gear for the fan room.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.3 – This is the housing for the huge fans which helped to ventilate South Crofty Mine, this was an upcast shaft which worked with the Taylors Shaft of East Pool MIne.
Thanks go to Keith Russ for the information on Mine Ventilation.
During the last working years of the mine, Roskear was upcast as was Taylors – Only Cooks and Robinsons Shafts were downcast.
The Ventilation Department had several tasks;The velocity and quantity of air were measured at fixed points throughout the mine. A vane anemometer was used to measure the flow, the temperature both dry and wet bulb were also measured too.
Again the radon was measured at fixed locations at regular intervals maybe once a month, it was usual for the ventilation dept, to measure both airflow and radon at the same time.
Much effort was spent in tracing the flow of air round the mine, especially in connection with old workings which were a source of radon, and leakage of air.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.4 – The fans from the other side.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.5 – The drivers cabin for the Mary Anne Winder, the shaft signalling sheet is on the wall in the background..
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.6 – A wider image of the cabin. The winder and the depth indicator can be seen through the window. The winder was an electric, hydraulic single drum arrangement. Built by M B Wild in the early 1980’s for Wheal Jane Mine.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.7 – This is the Mary Anne Winder and associated power supply, the braking arms can be seen on the winder drum.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.8 – A closer view of the winder, the depth indicator is this side of the drum. The drum has a diameter of 1.2m holding 18mm winding rope, the maximum winding speed is 1.5m per second.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.9 – The Mary Anne winder from the front, the drivers cabin is on the left of the image.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.10 – And the same again from further back, this image now shows the depth gauge for the second small electric winder on the site.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface..11 – A side view of the second winder, this was used for material transportation in the shaft.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.12 – The second winder from the other side, the electric motor and the braking arrangement can be clearly seen.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.13 – Looking across the drum of the second winder from the drivers position, the Mary Anne winder is directly in front.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.14 – A close up of the second winder showing the drive mechanism and the breaking arms.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.15 – A group of South Crofty miners about to be dropped down Roskear Shaft. This was used primarily for access to the mines adit system.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.16 – I never had the chance to drop this shaft, I would have loved too.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Surface.17 – The shaft lander watching as the miners prepare to go down, the cage could only move once the gate had been securely shut and locked.
Present day 2016, there is very little left now of the Roskear Shaft Surface facility, the winders and headframe have all been removed. The winder house has gone, all that remains are the concrete foundations and the closed shaft. The area is extremely dangerous and should not be entered.
South Crofty Mine Roskear Shaft Underground