Consols & United Mines

The Consols & United Mines stretched from Twelveheads to Carharrack leaving a vast “blasted” landscape of shafts and dumps. It was not until the 1980’s that it was considered a safe place to walk. Because of hidden shafts and dangers there was always a high risk of a bad fall.

The majority of the images on this page were taken during the 1990’s. Since the much of the site has been levelled and the buildings stabilised.

Mining here dates back at least 400 years when Wheal Virgin was producing Copper during the early 1700’s.By 1780 there were at least 20 mines in the area. Underground many of the workings were interconnected, this was causing problems with underground water. At this time there were already seven Newcomen engines working to drain the mine water into the county adit.
Consols & United Mines
Consols & United Mines 1 – The Clock Tower is a unique survival, the bell rang to signal the end of a shift.
Consols & United Mines
Consols & United Mines 2 – Another image of the clock tower from the other side.
Consols & United Mines
Consols & United Mines 3 – The base of the clock tower showing the finely cut stones around the arch. After Consols closed the clock mechanism was moved to St Day.
Great Consolidated mines was formed in 1780 when many of the neighbouring mines merged together. These included; Wheal Virgin, East and West Wheal Virgin, Wheal Maid, Wheal Girl, Wheal Fortune and Cuzvey.
The merger brought significant investment and the ageing Newcomen engines were replaced by five Boulton and Watt’s. These newer engines would save a small fortune on coal, also they were much more efficient pumping units.
Consols & United Mines
Consols & United Mines 4 – The remains of Taylor’s Whim house, the Clock Tower is in the background.
Consols & United Mines
Consols & United Mines 5 – Another image of the remains of Taylor’s Whim Engine House and the associated shaft.
During the latter part of the 18th Century the price of copper dropped dramatically. This was due to Parys Mountain in Anglesey which was producing a vast amount of ore at a fraction of the cost of deep Cornish MInes. The mine was closed in 1808 and did not reopen untill 1819, by this time the price of copper had recovered as the Parys Mountain deposits had been exhausted.
Mining entrepreneur John Taylor was responsible for the mines reopening with a considerable sum of money from London Shareholders. The mine fast became vastly profitable and outstripped Dolcoath Mine profits on some occasions.
Consols & United Mines
Consols & United Mines 6 – Looking across the open shaft towards the Whim House. The house here was the home to a 24″ Whim engine. The shaft was 230 Fathoms deep.
As the mine got deeper the water ingress was an ever growing proble, by the time the mine closed there were over 20 engines at work. In the deep levels the temperatures were extreme with air temperature of over 100 F not being uncommon.
Consols & United Mines
Consols & United Mines 7 – A line of Granite Setts mark the line of the Redruth and Chasewater railway in the Wheal Maid Valley.
In 1824 the mine was joined to the Redruth and Chasewater Railway. This allowed ore to be transported to Devoran in a much more efficient way. On the return the coal was brought in to feed the hungry engines.
Consols & United Mines
Consols & United Mines 8 – The ruined Engine House of Taylor’s Shaft Consols. Named after John Taylor, the house was built in 1827 for a 70″ pumping engine. During 1833 the engine was recylindered to 85″ to increase the pumping capability. The shaft here is 230 Fathoms deep.
Consols & United Mines
Consols & United Mines 9 – A closer look at the remains of Taylor’s Engine House.
Consols & United Mines
Consols & United Mines 10 – An elevated view of Taylor’s Engine house, the fenced shaft infront can be seen.
Consols & United Mines
Consols & United Mines 11 – The interior of Taylor’s Pumping Engine House showing the fine stonework.
In 1839 John Taylor was refused renewal for his lease. Consequently the mine had the “eyes picked out”, this is where the mine is stripped of all the known reserves. Production then steadily declined over the following years.
Consols & United Mines
Consols & United Mines 12 – The scant remains of the Whim Engine House on Davey’s Shaft Consols. There are the remains of the foundations of the Pumping Engine house to the right of the camera.
This was the showpiece of Consols mine which contained an 80″ engine. But the house was demolished when Wheal Jane were investigating the valley. The shaft here was one of the deepest on Consols, 300 Fathoms deep.
Consols & United Mines
Consols & United Mines 13 –  Looking back at Davey’s Whim, in the background is Taylor’s Shaft. This images shows the remains of the huge spoil heaps that have since been removed. Also the top of the Clock Tower can just be seen.
Consols & United Mines
Consols & United Mines 14 – A slightly different angle. In the foreground are pipes remaining from when Mount Wellington used the valley.
Consols & United Mines
Cornish Mine Images 15 – Looking from the other side of the Whim House. In the background is the extensive tailings dam of Mount Wellington Mine.
For more images of Mount Wellington follow this Link: Mount Wellington Mine.
Consols & United Mines
Cornish Mine Images 16 – Another wider view of the surrounding countryside.
In Consols & United Mines merged in 1857 to form Clifford Amalgamated Mines. Sadly by this time the great days of Cornish copper mining were number. The price dropped again due to much cheaper production around the world.
Cornish Mine Images
Cornish Mine Images 17 – Part of Consols, the Pumping Engine House of Cusvey Mine on Shear’s Shaft. Built during 1826 which makes it ones of the oldest in Cornwall, the engine here had a cylinder size of 70″.
Cornish Mine Images
Cornish Mine Images 18 – This image is taken looking through the plug doorway in the Bob Wall, the chimney in the background is slightly curved.
In 1870 the mines finally closed having made little profit since the merger. The total output of Copper was nearly a million tons. This sold for around £6,000,000, but the worth in the present day would be uncalculateable. There was a total of 18 Engine Houses and over 80 miles of underground passage.
Cornish Mine Images
Cornish Mine Images 19 – These are the remains of the Bob Wall of Garland’s Engine House on United Mines. Built originally for an 85″ pumping engine.
Cornish Mine Images
Cornish Mine Images 20 – A closer look at Garland’s Engine House.
Cornish Mine Images
Cornish Mine Images 21 – Eldon’s 34″ Pumping Engine House of United Mines. The engine here pumped water to cool the big pumping engines that were working hard to keep the mines dry.
During the early 1900’s a company tried to rework some of the mine dumps for Tin. But this was sadly unsuccessful and closed in 1909. Since then Mount wellington used the Valley for their Tailings Dam. When actively mining the area Moutn Wellington did cut some of the Consols lodes. But these were hot, wet and difficult to work.
Cornish Mine Images
Cornish Mine Images 22 – The Stamps Engine House of Gwennap United, subsequently built in 1900 to re-work dumps in the area.
Cornish Mine Images
Cornish Mine Images 23 – A slightly elevated look at the Stamps Engine House, it is one of the best remains on the sett.
Cornish Mine Images
Cornish Mine Images 24 – This was taken standing on the Stamps loadings looking back at the Bob Wall.
The valley today is quiet. There has been significant clearing of mine waste, alos many of the shafts have been capped. All quiet now but for the noise of car racing on a track over the hill.
Cornish Mine Images
Cornish Mine Images 25 – Finally this image is of a well preserved powder house. Most probably the best survival in Cornwall. Located on the Wheal Clifford section of United Mines.

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