Tolgus Tin Works

Tolgus Tin Works is situated in the Portreath Valley on the B3300. The plant dates from the 1860’s, it worked until the late 1980’s when the low price of Tin forced its closure. The purpose of the plant was to recover Tin from ore supplied by small local mines and to rework locally sourced dump material, also the slimes which was the processed waste from other mines dumped into the stream which flows past the works. The stream also supplied power for the huge range of diverse machinery based on the site.  The plant contains the only surviving set of Cornish Stamps in Europe. Powered by water this machine would crush the ore bearing rocks into a fine powder which would release the ore held within, the many shaking tables would then remove the Tin from the material.
I spent a day on site in May 2012, the plant is a photographers paradise with textures and patterns everywhere. I have tried to be different, looking for photographs where others might walk past, I had time to study the machinery and choose my angles carefully.
My thanks go to Graham Williams for the chance he gave me to see this amazing place. It’s open to the public and well worth a visit. For more information follow the link: Tolgus Tin

Tolgus Tin Works

A “mish mash” of corrugated iron makes an interesting image.

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The range of roofing materials used makes the site look like a shanty town.

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The roof of the Stamps building.

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The patterns and textures made for good Black and White photography, it was helpful that the sun was out.

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This image is of the Slimes Treatment Area.

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The drive wheels for the Cornish Stamps attached to the water wheel on the left of the image.

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This image shows the drive wheels attached to the cam which when rotating caused the stamp heads to rise and fall.

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A detailed image of the cam.

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The Cornish Stamps in all their glory, installed in 1865. A difficult thing to photograph due to the limited space, on this occasion I used a 17mm lens, a small amount of “flash dropout” at the edges but a good image overall.

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Circles were the shape of the day, interesting and fun to photograph.

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An image of one of the drive motors on the Holmans Shaking Table.

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A different image of the motor showing the vibrating spring which would make the table shake, this motion would cause the heavier Tin material to separate out from the waste.

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One of the motors attached to a “James” shaking table.

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One of the shaking tables in the mill.

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More shaking tables showing the mounts for the motors that drive them.

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An image of two Ball Mills in the plant, these replaced the Cornish Stamps for breaking down the Tin bearing material, in the roof were mounted wheels and pulleys.

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A detailed image of one of the wheels in the roof space.

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A wider image of the Ball Mill, in the foreground is a box of ball bearings which would be inside grinding the material down.

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One of the drive motors for the Ball Mill.

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More circles, one of my favourites of the day the mounting wheel for the Ball Mill.

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This piece of machinery caught my eye.

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A well balanced image of a drive wheel in the plant.

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Old cog wheels make an interesting image, nice textures.

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The Round Frame, designed for catching very fine particles of Tin, recently renovated by Graham who did a great job of returning it to working condition.

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The drive wheel for the Round Frame.

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I like this image, possibly a bit dark but I think it adds to the atmosphere.

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A final image of the Round Frame to complete this page, taken with a 17mm lens on a single flash.

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