South Crofty Mine Bickfords Shaft

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.

Cornish Mine Images
A view of Bickford’s and Palmer’s shaft taken in 1900. Reproduced here from Cornish Memory. Part of the Mac Walters Collection.

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.

South Crofty Mine Bickfords Shaft
South Crofty Mine Bickfords Shaft 1 – The distinctive square stack. On the right is the base of Palmer’s Whim.
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.
South Crofty Mine Bickfords Shaft
South Crofty Mine Bickfords Shaft 2 – This boiler house contained a single Lanacshire Boiler. It measured 28ft long and 7ft 6″ wide. The mounting blocks are still in place.
South Crofty Mine Bickfords Shaft
South Crofty Mine Bickfords Shaft 3 – A closer image of the mounting blocks for the boiler.
South Crofty Mine Bickfords Shaft
South Crofty Mine Bickfords Shaft 4 – Each of the blocks would be either side of the boiler supporting the weight. Also air could freely circulate around.
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.
Cornish Mine Images
South Crofty Mine Bickfords Shaft 5 – Remains of buildings at Bickford’s Shaft.
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.
Cornish Mine Images
Cornish Mine Images 6 – This is a turn pulley that allowed hoisting from Palmer’s Shaft.
Cornish Mine Images
Cornish Mine Images 7 – Another closer image of the pully arrangement.
Cornish Mine Images
Cornish Mine Images 8 – Finally another image of the brick built square stack.
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.

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