South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2, this is the second page of images looking at the abandoned areas.The following images are of the Tolgus Tunnel and the area immediately around it, with as much detail as I can remember. The Tolgus Tunnel was an amazing place. I so was lucky to get there three times. On one occasion almost all the images I took were too hazy for use, on the other trips I had slightly better results.
The historical notes on here were written by my late friend Dr Nick Le Boutillier.
The Tolgus group of mines were taken over by East Pool & Agar Ltd in 1918. Consequently a project was put into action to explore the ground below the copper stopes of these mines. This was in the hope of finding new tin-bearing resources which were expected in this area.
The plan was to drive a new tunnel which was named “The Great East Drive”. This was later renamed as “The Tolgus Tunnel”. The planned starting point was from the eastern end of the workings on Great Lode, at the 252 fathom Level. This was under the Tolgus Mines in order to intersect the Tin zone.
The tunnel was begun during 1920, a novel method of blasting was employed. This involved firing onto a submarine net, which was then dragged back by a winch which is still in position in the tunnel.
The tunnel was driven ENE around 1000 feet. At this point it intersected a 13 foot wide lode carrying 6.72% of Wolfram and 0.45% or 0.35% Sn of black Tin per ton. This also met a narrow E-W caunter vein on its northern margin. This Wolfram lode has been correlated with Great Lode, although that has never been definitively proven.
A further likely extension of this structure on 290fm was also named Great Lode later by South Crofty, however the developed lode was poor and the workings were abandoned. The influx of water when the lode was intersected was very large and coincided with the breakdown of the Wheal Agar electric pumps. The end of the tunnel had to be dammed to prevent the pumps being inundated, bringing a halt to the project.
Before the water problem could be solved possibly by controlled drainage via a stand-pipe, the collapse of East Pool Engine Shaft in 1921 lead to the old section of the mine being abandoned and the establishment of a new mine to the north. This was centred on Taylor’s Shaft sunk between 1922-28. The Tolgus project was restarted with the sinking of the 2000ft vertical New Tolgus Shaft sunk 1923-27. This was located on the Great South Tolgus sett, sadly the hoped for Tin values were never found and the project was abandoned.
Having walked the length of the tunnel to the end, the next few images are taken whilst walking the other way.
After East Pool Mine closed in the 1940’s this area became flooded. In the 1960’s these Old Workings were drained and incorporated into the modern mine. The next set of images are taken at the other end of the Tolgus tunnel where the winch was in place. There is a small workshop and a ventilation machine, also lots of mud, very deep mud. The pictures were taken on several visits to the area with different people, so I have sorted out the best ones.
When I was in the tunnel it was unbelievably hot. I can only imagine how it was for the miners who worked there. In the next chamber a ventilation fan had been installed to force air into the tunnel workings, who knows if it made a difference.
The tunnel was mined in an unusual way. A submarine net was spread out on the floor of the drive. The face was drilled and primed ready to blast. After blasting a winch at the head of the tunnel would draw the net back for it to be emptied.