South Crofty Mine Underground 20: This is the second page of Miners and the people of the mine. Also, this is the final page of the new South Crofty Underground Series. So, this is the last of the printable negatives from my collection.
It has been a labour of love with countless hours spent in the darkroom, but it was worth it. These pages are a historical reminder and a tribute to all those who have worked in Cornish Mines. I hope everyone who has taken the trouble to look at these images has enjoyed seeing them. Thank you.
It was unusual for me to have a chance to capture miners at ease. These following images were taken during one of my trips with John Usoro. The location was a sublevel on No:4 Lode – 420 or 445 Fathom Level.
The next set of images are of Underground Miner Kenny German and John Usoro discussing the days work. The location is not definite but John seems to think this is probably No 8 lode on the 445 Fathom level.
Kenny German has kindly written a few words for the website.
Well at South Crofty my main job was raise mining. It could be very dangerous but also very rewarding, I had couple very close calls. One time I was up about 20mts, I set the platform ready for barring down. I started barring down when a massive rock came off the face and wiped out the platform I was standing on. Luckily I had anticipated what was about to happen and positioned myself on one off the L bars keeping platform in place.
So there I was, over 60 feet up stranded on a single 1 inch bar. I had to reach full length to get to the chain ladder and to relative safety. Myself and most the others who worked underground fully understood the dangers, but we loved it. We were and still are very proud to say we were Cornish Tin Miners.
I believe these final images sum up my experiences in the working South Crofty Mine. This was a family of men who loved their work and the atmosphere of the job. A family that faced danger beyond many peoples comprehension every time they went to work. Without doubt a set of cracking photographs. I saved the best till last.
I am indebted to my dear friend, the late Dr Nick Le Boutillier for the names of the miners in the images and the many locations he could recall at a whim. Without his help and encouragement I would never have created these pages. When Nick’s memory was a bit hazy Martin Wolstenholme has helped out with some names and technical details. My friends Paul “Winja” Coppinger, Malcolm Harris and Neil Hodges have also come through with names that might have been forgotten. Many others including: James Pettet, Keith Russ, Bill Bettison and Kenny German have contributed to the pages.
I will never forget any of the time I spent in South Crofty. It’s over 20 years now since the mine last worked. I hope my photographic memories on these pages has given everyone an insight into this amazing place and the people who worked there. As always I have tried to be accurate in my descriptions and comments. Where I have not, please let me know.