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.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.1 – Nick Le Boutillier and Dave Cox standing in front of the sealed entrance to the Tolgus Tunnel. This was only opened when necessary due to high Radon Levels.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.2 – The first view of the famed Tolgus Tunnel. These first two images were taken with the camera on a tripod and “B” setting. Meanwhile I walked down the passage firing off a flashgun at regular intervals. Old ventilation piping and a locomotive are on the left of the picture.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.3 – Walking down here in the pitch black was an interesting experience. I fell flat on my face several times. This area had been underwater for many years. The water level can be seen on the walls. It was very hot in here with high levels of Radon. I was advised not to hang around for too long.
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.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.4 – Due to instability in the roof much of the passage was timbered over.
The tunnel was begun in 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.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.5 – Old ventilation tubes snake down the passage.
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.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.6 – James Pettett is ahead of me holding a slave flashgun.
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.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.7 – The end of the Tolgus Tunnel and the dam, behind this there was a column of water 1600ft high.
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.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.8 – Another image of the dam, the stains down the face were made by the water seeping through at very high pressure. It was a bit worrying standing in front of it, James Pettett is the poor bugger holding the flashgun, well it was a bit too close for me.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.9 – A final image of the dam, the water leakage can be clearly seen.
Having walked the length of the tunnel to the end, the next few images are taken whilst walking the other way.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.10 – The first view looking back up the tunnel. Ventilation tubing is running down the wall on the right.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.11 – There was a busy stream of water flowing down the passage away from the dam.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.12 – It was very hot at the end of the tunnel. It was a constant battle to keep the camera lens clean.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.13 – Heading back into the timbered section.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.14 – In some places huge boulders had forced their way through the timber at the sides.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.15 – Several of these images are quite similar. However it is unlikely this area will ever be seen again consequently I have printed everything I could.
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.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.16 – This image is looking up the Tolgus Tunnel. Also, old service pipes are on the right of the passage.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.17 – James Pettett in the Tolgus Tunnel holding a slave flash. In the foreground is an old wagon. The state of the mud can be clearly seen.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.18 – This image is taken looking the other way down the mud filled passage.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.19 – Mike Clothier and James Pettett in the Tolgus Tunnel. The mud here was knee deep and very sticky, at the end of the drive is the old winch.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.20 – Once again James Pettett holding the flashgun. In the background Mike Clothier is taking some Radon and air readings. The brackets on the wall on the left would have supported compressed air pipes.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 2.21 – On another visit, Nick Le Boutillier Senior Mine Geologist struggles up the tunnel towards the winch.
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.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.22 – Mike Clothier of the Ventilation Department. He is standing next to the ventilation machine.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.23 – Another image of Mike.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.24 – Nick Le Boutillier, standing in deep mud by the ventilation fan. Also, in the background on the right are the remains of a workshop.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.25 – Another view of the fan, but from the rear. This was in place to force air into the tunnel workings.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.26 – A wider view of the chamber, this was a unique survival.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.27 – This is the drive wheel attached to the fan assembly. Maybe this was powered by hand or compressed air.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.28 – The remains of the workbench in the chamber probably last used in the 1920’s.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.29 – A second closer image of the workbench, a vice is still attached.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.30 – Almost buried by the mud was this odd piece of equipment. Maybe this was attached to the nets to pull them out.
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.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.31 – This is the winch which was used to draw the nets from the tunnel after blasting. It is amazing it was still in situ, James Pettett once again is holding the flash.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.32 – A closer view of the winch, in the background Stalactites hang down from the roof.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.33 – Another view of the winch.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.34 – A final image of the winch, this time from the side.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.35 – A strange piece of rusting equipment in the main chamber, the impressive walls can be clearly seen.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 2.36 – The final image on this page is of Mike Clothier of the Ventilation Department. He is slowly sinking in the mud Great Lode Stope, Wheal Agar 252 Fathom.
South Crofty Old Workings Gallery 3