South Crofty Mine Underground 19: This is the first of two pages which looks at the people of the mine. These miners that worked underground in the heat and the danger were the life blood of Cornwall. Keeping alive a tradition that was 100’s of years old.
It was always difficult to capture images of the miners faces without getting in the way. Trying to be unobtrusive in such a confined atmosphere was almost impossible. However the fact that I did not get in the way or stopped men working meant I could get many unique images.
South Crofty Mine Underground 19.1 – This first image is of my good friend who sadly passed away in 2018. Nick Le Boutillier Senior Mine Geologist. He is barring down in a stope to retrieve rock samples. This image was taken on 400 Fathom Providence Lode in 1996.
South Crofty Mine Underground 19.2 – Without Nick’s help these pages would never have happened. He was always upset I never had pictures of his face. Sadly he never got to see this one.
South Crofty Mine Underground 19.3 – Rock sample snagged !
South Crofty Mine Underground 19.4 – An image of Dave Buzza. He was the winder driver at the top of the 1:4 incline.
South Crofty Mine Underground 19.5 – Another closer view of the winder controls. As it was a metal mine smoking was not a hazard.
South Crofty Mine Underground 19.6 – A final image of Dave Buzza.
South Crofty Mine Underground 19.7 – Underground Miner Clevie Williams having a go at repairing a wagon in the fitters bay. I remember he was on a break and asked if I wanted some action shots.
South Crofty Mine Underground 19.8- Nothing was thrown away unless it was irreparable.
South Crofty Mine Underground 19.9 – Similarly a Rocker Shovel being worked on. The equipment used in the mine was old and rarely replaced due to the lack of money.
South Crofty Mine Underground 19.10 – Hardly visible due to the fog from the drills. Two miners Clevie Williams and Dave Cunnick pose proudly in front of their Long Hole Stoping Drill.
To me this image captures the character of the men who worked at South Crofty Mine. The fog was known by the South Crofty Miners as funk, hence the phrase “Lets get funky” that was often used underground.
South Crofty Mine 19.11 – Another image of Clevie Williams having a short break on a croust seat.
South Crofty Mine 19.12 – John Usoro Mine Geologist attaching a compressed air line to the main air feed.
South Crofty Mine 19.13 – James Pettett from the Ventilation Department taking readings on the air. The readings were taken because the radon levels required constant monitoring. This was taken in the adit system near to Robinson’s Shaft Complex.
South Crofty Mine 19.14 – Some of the drives and working faces had quite a lot of water on the floor. Due to this the humidity was always high, Tim Hocking and Mike Davis pictured here.
Kenny German has kindly written a few words for the website.
Well at South Crofty my main job was raise mining. It could be very dangerous but also very rewarding, I had couple very close calls. One time I was up about 20mts, I set the platform ready for barring down. I started barring down when a massive rock came off the face and wiped out the platform I was standing on. Luckily I had anticipated what was about to happen and positioned myself on one off the L bars keeping platform in place. So there I was, over 60 feet up stranded on a single 1 inch bar. I had to reach full length to get to the chain ladder and to relative safety.
Myself and most the others who worked underground fully understood the dangers, but we loved it. We were and still are very proud to say we were Cornish Tin Miners .
South Crofty Mine 19.15 – With the high heat and humidity the South Crofty Miners (Kenny German pictured here) often worked wearing only a few clothes (1996). Probably one of the best portraits I managed in South Crofty.
South Crofty Mine 19.16 – An image of Kenny German and John Usoro, discussing the days work and the progress being made. The next few images are of the same miners, the lighting was very atmospheric and these were a joy to print.
South Crofty Mine 19.17 – Another picture of Kenny German and John Usoro. It is quite difficult after many years to remember the location. However, John Usoro seems to think this is probably No 8 lode on the 445 Fathom level.
South Crofty Mine 19.18 – Another image of Kenny German and John Usoro.
South Crofty Mine 19.19 – A final image of Kenny German and John Usoro.
South Crofty Mine 19.20 – This final image I call, “One Man and his Loco”, in one of the few posed images. This is a picture of underground miner Vitek Urbanski with his Clayton electric locomotive.
South Crofty Mine Underground 20