Cooks Kitchen Mine 2018, Tracey and I were so fortunate to gain access to the site. Above all my thanks to Dr Keith Russ for arranging the visit.
In early 2018 Cornwall Archaeological Unit were allotted the task of excavating the site of the man engine that once served the mine. So, until then the site was covered by a huge mound of earth and debris, the only evidence of any remains were several threaded bolts sticking out of the earth. The man engine machinery was driven by a 26 inch Horizontal Engine built during 1871 by Harvey’s of Hayle. Initially the rod reached down to the 140 fathom level. Subsequently when the engine stopped working in 1891 the rod had been extended to the 270 fathom level.
These initial images are taken from outside the fenced site.
The rest of the images on the page were taken on the other side of the fence. I must stress that this is private property and should not be entered without permission. But it is hoped that sometime in the future the site maybe opened to the public.
The excavated buildings comprised of; the Horizontal Engine House, Boiler House West, Boiler House East and a possible late 19th Century Air Compressor House. The Eastern Boiler house was a later addition which contained a further two Cornish Boilers. This was probably built when the Man Engine was extended in depth in the late 1880’s in order to supply more steam power to the engine.
Unlike traditional Engine Houses where the structure of the building took the weight of the machinery this was an enclosed house. Therefore the structure was built around the massive foundations for the installed machines. Fixing bolts still remained on the loadings, which in some places reach 3.8m in height.
Flat rods would have lead from here to Dunkin’s Shaft. At the top the horizontal motion would have been transferred to vertical motion by an angle bob. The rods for the man engine in the shaft measured around 200mm square. The engine during operation ran at approximately 5 strokes a minute. The typical vertical movement in the shaft would have been about 12ft stroke, consequently a miner could descend to the 270 Fathom level in around 30 minutes.
This side of the structure was occupied by the Western Boiler House. The building was 16.5m long and 3.0m wide. At the far end are the foundations and scant remains of the chimney. In the image above one of the curved boiler supports can be seen resting against the wall.
The second Boiler House was much larger being 15.3m Long and 6.0m wide. In the image above the curved brickwork boiler mounts in particular can be clearly seen. This had certainly been built to a very high standard and has survived well.
I would have loved the chance to have been involved in the dig. It must have been a wonderful feeling of achievement as the site was gradually uncovered.
Sadly while we were there the heavens opened and the time had to be cut short.
Much of the information on this page has been sourced from: The Cornwall Archaeological Unit’s report paper titled: Cook’s Kitchen, Pool, Cornwall: “Archaeological Excavation of the Man-Engine House”. Written by Ryan Smith and Adam Sharpe.