South Crofty Mine Old Workings, this and the following pages will cover some of the older parts of South Crofty I visited. I was lucky enough to be taken to several areas that were off limits to normal visitors. On some of my trips with time so short I hardly had the chance to get the cameras out as we were moving so fast.
These are brand new images (Jan 2020) I have reprinted everything I possible could. Please enjoy.
Between 1993 and 1998 South Crofty Mine worked stopes between the 260 fathom level and the 445 fathom level. The main working levels were 400, 420 and 445, with their respective sublevels on a number of lodes. Some work was carried out below 260 fm (Tincroft South Lode), on and below 290 fm (Pryce’s Lode, Dolcoath South Lode), 315 fm (Dolcoath South Lode), 340 fm (Dolcoath South Lode, Prospect A Lode and NPZ (335 fm in Robinson’s section)), 360 fm (No:8 Lode, Pegmatite Zone, NPZ, Dolcoath North Lode) and 380 fm (No:4 Lode, NPZ). However, the lower levels were the main focus of production. Below 400 fm, the main production lodes were the Roskear A, B (hanging wall) and D Lodes, No:4 Lode, No:8 Lode and Providence Lode.
Notes by Dr Nick Le Boutillier.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.1 – This is the shaft station at 148 Fathoms Cooks. I got off here once, it was a long disused level and abandoned. To get out the cage there was a large step over the very deep shaft. This was a mammoth day spent with the Ventilation Dept. As part of their job they visited the old workings on a regular basis to monitor radon levels and air quality.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.2 – This image is of a long silent workshop. It was located beside the 148 Fathoms Cooks shaft station. A vice is still attached to the workbench.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.3 – This image was taken with the camera on a tripod and me walking down the passage in the dark. This was a huge long passage possibly on the 260 fathom level following Pryce’s Lode.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.4 – I rather like this image of the passage disappearing into the gloom. This was taken on one of the upper levels, sadly I do not know which.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.5 – On a rare rest break I had a quick chance to play around. With the camera on a tripod and shutter open I randomly fired the flashgun around. This is an interesting image as it shows a huge pillar left by the miners to support the roof. However it is easy to see the pillar was staring to buckle under the strain.
Trips to the older workings were rare, because after all the guys were there to work, not show me around. Consequently whenever the chance to get to the old sections occurred, I would grab it.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.6 – Tucked away in a blind end on the 260 Fathom level were these rusting old wagons.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.7 – A closer image of the wagon in the water. It is rather an alarming hole on the side, maybe caused by a small explosion.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.8 – Dumped 2 ton Hudson Wagons in a side passage in an abandoned section of the mine.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.9 – A pair of old tipper wagons tucked away in out of sight.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.10 – More wagons rusting away in a drive, beyond these the passage had been blocked off due to instability.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.11 – The shapes and textures show up well in black and white, more rusting wagons.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.12 – Another image of the abandoned wagon, it just caught my eye.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.13 – A ventilation door on one of the abandoned levels. These were important because the air flow was directed around the workings in a set way.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.14 – Another abandoned trolley, in the background is a miners refuge in case of collapse.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.15 – An unusual pillar arrangement and an old wagon in one of the abandoned drives. Possibly No:2 Lode 340 Fathom Level.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.16 – An old trolley sitting forgotten on the tracks. Old and rusting services pipes are still attached to the wall of the drive.
One of the disused levels we visited often was the 260 Fathom. This was a very interesting place with connections to the old East Pool workings. These old workings were incorporated into South Crofty during the 1970’s. This level also contained the amazing Tolgus Tunnel. Because of high Radon Levels this was a restricted area, I was lucky to see it three times.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.17 – This is Nick Le Boutillier about to negotiate one of the old watertight doors on the 260 Fathom Level New North Lode. I like the arrangement of the water valves, I suppose if you were feeling brave you would open the big one. Those maybe not so brave would have a go at the little one.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.18 – Nick climbing through the narrow opening. This was one of the access points into the old East Pool workings.
The following set of images were taken on the 260 Fathom level Wet Lode of East Pool Mine. Now this really was like walking through history. Long abandoned workings, wet and hot and a long way from the working levels. Nick used to love visiting this level because of the history it contained.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.19 – Nick Le Boutillier walking past a Cousin Jack Ore Chute along the 260 Fathom level Wet Lode of East Pool Mine. Along the wall were the old services pipes for water and compressed air.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.20 – A slightly drier section of the same drive, above the passage would have been the production stopes. The ore would have been emptied into wagons and pushed to an ore pass for transport to the surface.
South Crofty Mine Old Workings 1.21 – There were Cousin Jack Ore Chutes all the way along this drive.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 1.22 – Walking down the drive was like walking back in time. The production stopes would have been above. The stopes were last worked in the 1970/80’s by Ronnie & Michael Roberts.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 1.23 – The construction of the Cousin Jack Ore Chute can be clearly seen. These were probably last used in the 1980’s.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 1.24 – As always, on so many occasions Nick Le Boutillier leads the way along the drive.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 1.25 – An abandoned work and storage area in the 260 Fathom Wet Lode East Pool Section of South Crofty Mine.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 1.26 – Another image of the workshop on another day. Old tools are still on the workbench.
The 260 Fathom level had many amazing pieces of history dotted around. Certainly one of the most amazing was the “Bridge over the Stope”. This was built in 1978, by Albert Rowe and Freddie Wills, to replace an earlier bridge. Located on New North Lode 260 Fathom South Crofty Mine East Pool section. The East Pool miners had a reputation for bridge building, sadly this was the only one I saw.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 1.27 – This image is looking up at the bridge from the 260 Fathom level. Certainly was an amazing thing to see.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 1.28 – This is the cross cut approach to the bridge. This was taken on the New North Lode at Wheal Agar 252 Fathom level.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 1.29 – Over the years the bridge had suffered, although well built is was close to collapse.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 1.30 – Another image of the bridge, my friend Dave Cox adding scale to the picture. Needless to say this was as far as he dared to venture onto the bridge.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 1.31 – The continuing passage on the other side also looked very inviting.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 1.32 – This was taken looking down into the workings from the bridge. Another very inviting passage leads off below.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 1.33 – My favorite image of the bridge. The stope which would have been mined by men with candles disappears into the darkness.
Cornish Mine Images Underground 1.34 – A closer final image of the bridge.
A great shame that I could not get more images.I would have loved the chance to wander and explore. As usual I was with people who had to work for a living so I could not hold them up.
South Crofty Old Workings Gallery 2