The Wendron Mining District is one the oldest in Cornwall, recorded Tin production dates prior to the 1500’s. Before this point in time, the rich deposits of Tin that lay close to the surface had been eroded by the weather and deposited in the river and stream beds. This hidden treasure had been exploited since the middle ages by the Tin Streamers.
One thing led to another, the Tin Streamers learnt where the valuable gravel had come from, then exploited to lodes with shallow surface workings, processing techniques had improved thus increasing the recovery. By the 1780’s shallow and deep mines were scattered all over the area.
The Wendron Mining District has a list of over 600 mines, at the height of the production the area had over 9,000 inhabitants. The mines here were never rich but the quantity and the amount of people employed meant the mineral output outstripped the great mines of the Camborne and Redruth areas.
The boom lasted to the 1880’s when cheaper foreign Tin producers meant that most of the mines in Cornwall became uneconomic.
The countryside is now quiet, yet it retains it’s mining history with the remaining engine houses that can be seen, the Poldark Mine is a testament to the history of the Wendron Mining District and well worth a visit.
The front entrance to Poldark Mine, in the background is the Greensplat Cornish Pumping Engine.
One of the many very interesting industrial relics at Poldark Mine.
The converted Engine House of Tregurtha Downs Mine is a perfect example of how to make an Engine House a home. The mine worked from 1860-1902 producing 1,295 tons of Tin, the Engine that worked here was moved to Robinson’s Shaft South Crofty Mine.
A side on view of the impressive engine house.
The Engine House of Prosper United Mine, it worked from 1830-1873 producing 22,500 tons of Copper, 830 tons of Tin and 1,100 Tons of Arsenic.
A second image of the Engine House at Prosper United Mine.
At the time the image was taken the house was up for sale. It has since been purchased and converted into a home, lucky people.
The graceful engine house of Nancegollan Mine, it worked from 1853-1870 producing only 6 tons of Tin.
A second image of Nancegollan Mine.
The 60″ Engine House on Leeds Shaft of Great Work Mine, working from 1810-1885 it produced 6,256 tons of Tin and 1,020 tons of Copper, when the image was taken the shaft was still open.
A second image of the Engine House showing the strapping around the walls.
A final image of the engine house taken looking across the open shaft.
Part of the elevated tramway leading from “Old Men’s Shaft” of Basset and Grylls Mine to the processing mill, last re-worked during the 1930’s. Initially worked from 1852-1915 it produced 4,650 tons of Tin.
For more images follow the link: Basset & Grylls Mine Gallery
The 50″ Pumping Engine House on Roger’s shaft of East Wheal Lovell, it worked from 1859-1891 producing 2,405 tons of Tin.
Trumpet Consols, this is the 48″ Pumping Engine House on the Wheal Ann section. The stack was struck by lightening several years ago.
A second images of the engine house, the shaft here was 160 fathoms (960ft) below adit. Unusually the engine that worked here had a wooden beam, possibly one of the last of its kind in Cornwall.
Also part of Trumpet Consols this is the Whim Engine House on Dream Lode, the mines here worked from 1854-1880 producing 4,510 tons of Tin and 20 tons of Copper.
This is the converted 24″ Stamp Engine House of Wheal Enys. The mine worked from 1853-1859 producing 259 tons of Tin.
This image taken in 1996 is of a wooden frame for a set of Californian Stamps close to the workings of Wheal Fortune. It carried a 5 head set of stamps operated in the early years of the C20th to recover Tin from local burrows.
An image of the large open works of Great Wheal Fortune, these was known as the Conqueror Pits, from here the miners drove levels following promising lodes of Tin.
One of the open levels branching out from the base of the Conqueror Pit.
At Rinsey Cliff along the coast from Trewavas stands the graceful 30″ Pumping Engine House of Wheal Prosper. The mine worked from 1860-1866 producing a total of 7 tons of Tin, like so many hopefully named mines this failed to make the owners rich. The site was restored by the National Trust in the 1970’s, the shaft was 462ft deep. As with most seaward mines the workings here were very dry and the engine only needed to make two strokes every three minutes. Of the second engine house which contained a stamps and whim there are no remains.
A second image of the Wheal Prosper Engine House.
Trewavas Head Mine along the coast from Porthleven. In my opinion this is probably the most dramatic settings for a mine in the Wendron Mining District and Cornwall.
A second image of Trewavas Head Mine showing both the engine houses on a stormy day.
For more images follow this link: Trewavas Mine Gallery
This image is of the foundations for the 1907 steam plant at Wheal Vor Borlase’s Shaft. With fifteen engines at work in 1843 there is so very little left of this once great mine. During its boom years between 1812 and 1848 Tin Oxide production peaked at 220 tons per month.
A second image of the mounting plinths.
Wheal Metal Ivey’s 85″ Pumping Engine House, output for this mine between 1858-1901 was 3,700 tons of Tin.
Wheal Metal and Flow, the remains of the 30″ dual purpose pumping and stamp engine on Watson’s Shaft. The mine worked primarily on Tin recovery from the local dumps. Water from the shaft was used in the processing, the engine stopped work in 1901 after 540 tons of Tin had been recovered.
The ornate stack beloning to Watson’s Engine House of Wheal Metal and Flow.
A view of the front plug doorway at Wheal Metal and Flow Watson’s Shaft.
The interior of the well preserved Engine House, Wheal Metal and Flow.
St Ives Mining District