South Crofty Mine Bickfords Shaft. The early years of South Wheal Crofty were based around Palmer’s and Bickford’s Shafts, both of which were aquired from Tincroft Mine.
The site is opposite Pool Health Centre, there is a distinctive square brick Stack which is visible from the road. This served a steam hoist in Bickford’s Shaft, subsequently replaced in the 1950’s by an electric hoist.
There are two shafts here, Bickford’s and Palmer’s. Bickford’s was 150 fathoms deep, narrow and crooked. This was the main hoisting shaft for South Crofty, it could only take a single skip, once Robinson’s shaft was completed this became the main hoisting shaft.
Palmer’s was the main pumping shaft equipped with a 60″ engine, the depth here was 270 fathoms. On the completeion of Robinson’s Shaft in 1907 the engine was scrapped, the shaft was re-equipped for high speed hoisting with a double skip road. Palmer’s whim was installed in 1907, powered by a single Lancashire Boiler.
As the mine worked its way to the west this was eventually abandoned. The hoist remained in its building until 1973 when a fire destroyed the building. Sadly soon afterwards the engine was scrapped.
The shallower Copper deposits were worked out by the 1870’s to be replaced by Tin. Both these shafts were narrow and crooked, as the mine deepened in the search for new Tin zones it was decided a new vertical pumping and haulage shaft was required for the mine to expand and grow. The sinking of Robinson’s Shaft commenced in 1901, the engine house building started two years later.