This page covers Gwennap Mining District, including; the mines of St Day and Chacewater. Finally following the Carnon Valley to Devoran.
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries this area was described as the “richest square mile to be found anywhere on the earth”. The district was made famous by some of Cornwall’s richest mines. Initially mined for Tin in shallow deposits this was worked out, subsequently Copper became the major mineral of importance. The mines here were isolated from the coast so tramways were laid to ferry the ore to ports at Portreath and Devoran for shipping out to the smelters.
One of the greatest achievements was the construction of the Great County Adit which was commenced in 1748 by John Williams of Scorrier to drain Poldice Mine. Eventually this reached nearly 40 miles in length draining many of the mines in the district, a great piece of Cornish engineering.
The majority of these pictures of the Gwennap Mining District were taken during 1990’s, things have changed a lot since then.
Gwennap Mining District 1: Firstly am image of Harvey’s 85″ Pumping Engine House on Great Wheal Busy, this well preserved survival is west of Chacewater and retains the stack and boiler house. In the valley below are the remains of the mine’s calciner and the foundations of the processing shed. The mine worked from 1815-1924. This was taken in the mid 1990’s, certainly it is one of my favorite sites in the area.
Gwennap Mining District 2: Looking back at the engine house and workshops of Great Wheal Busy, in the foreground is the Bruton Calciner.
For more images follow this link: Great Wheal Busy
Gwennap Mining District 3: The graceful Engine House at Hawke’s Shaft of Killifreth Mine, this contained an 80″ pumping engine. The mine worked from 1859-1920, producing 4,060 tons Tin, 681 tons Copper and 360 tons of Arsenic.
Gwennap Mining District 4: Killifreth Engine house with the tall graceful chimney that so many people recognise.
Gwennap Mining District 5: Killifreth Stamps Engine house, in the background is the arsenic stack for the mine.
For more images follow this link: Killifreth Mine
Gwennap Mining District 6: The two surviving Engine Houses of Unity Wood Mine at Magor’s Shaft. The closer house contained a 70″ pumping engine built by Harvey’s of Hayle in 1861, the smaller house was for a 20″ dual purpose engine used for winding and for powering stamps to crush the ore. The mine worked from 1815-1873 producing 22,700 tons of Copper and 1,200 tons of Tin.
Gwennap Mining District 7: An image looking towards the Winding/Stamps House on Magor’s Shaft Unity Wood Mine, nicely framed by the shadow of the Pumping House.
Gwennap Mining District 8: Consols and United Mines, these are the remains of Taylor’s Whim house, the mine Clock Tower is in the background.
Gwennap Mining District 9: The base of the Consols Clock Tower, the bottom section is of well cut stone.
Gwennap Mining District 10: A view across Consols, looking towards the Mount Wellington Tailings Dam, certainly a moonscape of mining.
Gwennap Mining District 11: The Stamps Engine House of Gwennap United, built in 1900 to re-work dumps in the area.
For more images follow this link: Consols Gallery
Gwennap Mining District 12: Part of the remains of the Poldice Mine Processing Plant.
Gwennap Mining District 13: The headframe standing over the shaft of Mount Wellington Mine, one of the modern mines in the District, it closed in the 1980’s.
Gwennap Mining District 14: A second image of the headframe from inside the compound. So sad the headframe required removal in the early 2000’s.
Gwennap Mining District 15: The modern entrance to the Great County Adit, this was rebuilt during the 1980’s. Eventually draining over 100 mines with a length of over 40 miles.
Gwennap Mining District 16: So, from Twelveheads the footpath crosses the Carnon River, this rather lovely bridge holds the footpath up. At sometime sluices under the arch would have controlled water flow.
Gwennap Mining District 17: The bob wall of the 80″ Engine House of Nangiles Mine, the remainder of the house was sadly demolished in 1967. During the 1980’s Wheal Jane used the shaft as an access point. There are huge mine dumps are in the valley below. The mine was highly acidic due to the Sulphides present in the ores, it was said the water could burn the boots off a man in a day.
Gwennap Mining District 18: A closeup image of the bob wall.
Gwennap Mining District 19: The mine worked from 1845-1906 during that time producing 3,000 tons of Copper and 193 tons of Tin.
Gwennap Mining District 20: On the right of the image is Nangiles Mine, on the left is the headframe of Mount Wellington Mine.
Cornish Mine Images 21: At the base of the Carnon Valley there were the remains of a stone crushing plant. This was taken in the early 1990’s.
Cornish Mine Images 22: The site is now occupied by Bissoe Bike Hire.
Cornish Mine Images 23: The remains Point Mills Arsenic Works at Bissoe. It was run by the British Arsenic Company which ran the works for a century up to the outbreak of World War 2.
Cornish Mine Images 24: A view of the Wheal Jane processing plant and offices. The South Crofty ore was processed here until 1998 when the mine closed.
Cornish Mine Images 25: A second image showing the twin headframes of Wheal Jane Mine which was finally closed in 1992 when the pumps were subsequently switched off.
For more images follow this link: Wheal Jane Mine
Cornish Mine Images 26: The interior of the mill at Wheal Jane Mine, this worked up to 1998 when South Crofty Mine closed. Such a sad loss to the District and to Cornish History.
Cornish Mine Images 27: The mine water treatment works at the Wheal Jane Mine site, taken in 2013.
Cornish Mine Images 28: In 1906 Falmouth Consolidated Mines were formed by the amalgamation of several smaller mines. This enterprise worked until 1916, this wall is the remains of the power house of the unsuccessful venture.
Cornish Mine Images 29: The Pumping Engine House of Wheal Grambler. The mine worked from 1843-1893 producing 12,500 tons of Copper and 97 tons of Tin.
Cornish Mine Images 30: Looking across the open shaft to the Engine House.
Cornish Mine Images 31: The interior of the Wheal Grambler Engine House.
Cornish Mine Images 32: The fenced off shaft in front of the Engine House.
Cornish Mine Images 33: The lone chimney of Park-An-Chy Mine. It worked from 1910-1930 producing only small quantities of Tin and Wolfram.
Cornish Mine Images 34: Certainly the strangest mine in the District. These are the remains of Carnon Stream Mine at the lower end of the Carnon Valley. It dates from the 1820’s and worked the rich Tin bearing gravel in the bed of the river.
Cornish Mine Images 35: A small Lime Kiln near to the Devoran Quay. This is the other end of the Portreath Tramway.
Cornish Mine Images 36: Remains of Ore Hutches alongside Devoran Quay.
Cornish Mine Images 37: Central to St Day is St Day Holy Trinity Church, built during the years 1826-8. For such an important mining district it was focus for the miners and local community.
For more information follow this link: St Day Church
Cornish Mine Images 38: Finally, in 1956 the Church was deemed dangerous due to mining subsidence, sadly it was closed. In 1985 part of the roof collapsed. As a result, the remainder of the roof was blown up. I certainly love this building it has a magic of its own.
St Agnes Mining District