East Pool and Agar Mine, today the site is managed by the National Trust. The preserved 90-Inch Pumping Engine is the centrepiece of the site. The images on this page were taken during the early 2000’s.
After a period of negotiations East Pool finally purchased Wheal Agar and associated equipment for £4,000. So East Pool and Agar Mine was created during March 1897. The new mine continued for nearly 50 years finally closing in 1945.
However, the neighbouring South Crofty Mine kept the huge engine going to prevent their tunnels from flooding. This continued to work until electric pumps took over in September 1954.
In total the mines worked from 1835-1945. East Pool produced 88,3000 tons Copper, 38,490 tons Tin, 31,722 tons Arsenic also 2,820 tons of Wolfram. Wheal Agar also produced 3.033 tons of Copper.
The year 1921 brought a chain of disasters for the mine. Old workings around Mitchell’s and Engine shaft which were the primary shafts collapsed. This caused massive slumps underground along with significant flooding. So both shafts had to be adandoned.
To prevent the mine from closing for good a new mining complex was proposed some 250m away to the north. This was to be called Taylor’s Shaft, so named after M.T.Taylor who was the mine superintendent.
The shaft is vertical made up from three compartments. The internal measurements are 20ft by 9ft, the final depth reached was 1,700ft. Shaft sinking commenced in 1922, the Engine House construction was completed during 1924.
Beside the Engine House was the Boiler House, this contained five boilers which supplied steam to the pumping engine. Also, steam was supplied to a horizontal winding engine which hauled men and materials up and down the shaft.
Other features around the site are the extensive foundations for a rock crusher and ore bins. Also other buildings still survive including: The Compressor House, Winder House, Capstan House and an electrical Substaion.
Seperate to the engine and boiler house is the 110ft tall chimney. The unique feature of this stack are the vertical letter “EPAL” near the top, spelled out using white bricks. This stood for “East Pool and Agar Ltd”, “EPAL” was also the brand name for the Arsenic the mine produced.
The installation of the massive 90-Inch pumping engine was completed during 1924. Consequently this was the last time a Cornish Pump was installed in a mine in Cornwall.
The secondhand engine was purchased from Carn Brea mine where it had lain unused since 1914. Know as Harvey’s Engine, it was designed by a local engineer Nicholas Trestrail. Built by Harvey and Co in 1892.
So, by 1925 the new Taylor’s Shaft complex was complete.
This remained the primary winding and pumping shaft until the mine finally closed in 1945. During the second world war the mine had recieved a government subsidy to ensure supplies of Tin and Wolfram were uninterupted.
With the end of the war the subsidy was withdrawn and the mine soon closed. With the closure of East Pool and Agar in 1945, South Crofty continued to run the engine to keep their own working dry. It finally worked until 28th September 1954, when electric pumps took over the task.
The shaft continued to be used by South Crofty for ventilation. At the head of the shaft is a small concrete building which contained an updraught fan.
At the top of the shaft is a rare sight indeed. It is a complete Balance Box. This was made in 1911 by the Charlestown Foundry in St Austell. Unusually it is constructed form steel plate, the normal was cast iron. This was here (along with others down the shaft) because of the need to balance the weight of the pump rods in the shaft.
The remaining images on the page are taken inside the 90-Inch Engine House. The engine weighs in at around 100 tons, it was built in 1892 by Harvey’s of Hayle. Insatallation of the engine was completed during 1924.
The next images are of the Middle Chamber of the Engine House. This is the home to the top of the huge cylinder, also the valve chest which controlled the engine speed.
The final set of images are taken in the Bob Loft. This is the home to the great beam of the engine. It alone weighs in at 52.5 tons.
The Engine Houses of these mines are a great place to visit. I enjoyed myself wandering around, also I would recommend it to anyone for a good day out.
Thanks to Max Chitty and Michael Hockley for some of the information on the page. For more information follow this link: National Trust Engines