Great Wheal Busy was formerly known as Chacewater Mine. So, records state Tin was mined here from the 17th Century onwards. One of the most important periods for the mine was during the years 1815 to 1870. Firstly Copper was produced but from the mid 1850’s Tin was the main production. During 1856 Harvey’s Engine House was erected to hold an 85″ Pumping Engine.
The mine steadily expanded to take in neighbouring setts, subsequently it was renamed to Great Wheal Busy United. After ten years of working the original engine was sold off when the company moved most of its operations to the eastern part of the mine.
In 1872 the house was once again in use hosting a 90″ engine. This was set to work to drain the old workings to allow re-investigation and development. However, this was a short lived attempt. Because of the Tin price crash of 1873 the mine was forced to close after much investment in the older sections. However, mining was still carried out on a small scale during the last years of the 19th Century for Arsenic from the levels above adit.
The recorded production figures from 1815-1924 are: 104,700 tons Copper, 1,758 tons tin, 26,650 tons Mispickel and 735 tons of Arsenic.
The final chapter of the mine occurred in 1907 when an Anglo-Belgium company re-opened the sett for Arsenic production. A new secondhand 85″ engine was erected in the house, processing floors and an Arsenic Calciner and Flue were erected. The mine finally closed in 1924 because of a fall in demand.
The majority of these images were taken in the mid 1990’s. It has become of of my favourite places to walk around. The building have been very well preserved but sadly the forge is in a bad state.
The remaining images on this page were taken in 2016. Recently printed in the darkroom they really show how the site has changed over the years.