South Crofty Roskear Underground: I was lucky enough on my visits to the mine to get to see this section on three occasions. It was not always a good trip, once a camera packed up, another where I had no time to hang around.
On the third occasion I had around 30 minutes to myself. This was more than enough time for an explore and a few images to be taken. So it was a very interesting area, the shaft was breath taking with living history all around. It’s so difficult to believe it is all underwater now.
The sinking of Roskear Shaft was begun by the Dolcoath Company in 1923, after the closure of Dolcoath Mine in 1921, this was planned to be the focus of the “New Dolcoath Mine”.
The circular, brick-lined, shaft was sunk by shaft sinkers from South Wales and eventually reached 2000 feet deep by late 1926. Levels at 1700, 1900 and 2000 feet intersected a number of lodes and some limited stoping was done on the Roskear Complex for Wolfram and Tin.
Although some of the lodes showed promise the company ran out of capital and attempts to raise more failed. Operations ceased in December 1929 and the company went into receivership in April 1930.
South Crofty acquired all the Dolcoath assets in 1936. Unbeknown to the Dolcoath miners, had they sunk the shaft a further 200 feet they would have discovered the Roskear and Dolcoath lodes that were such a major resource for South Crofty.
The Roskear section was really developed from 1979 onwards after a major exploration drilling programme.
The area became perhaps the most important ore zone in the mine up to its closure in 1998. Many of the lodes found in the 1920’s with depth became very rich. Had they been developed it is likely that Dolcoath would have persisted into the 1990’s and bought out South Crofty rather than the other way around – such is mining!
Once these lodes began to be exploited Roskear Shaft became a major updraught ventilation shaft with large fans at the collar. Many local people remember the plume of warm moist air that rose above the shaft in Winter, visible for miles.
In the early 1990’s the shaft was deepened to the 400fm level and was refurbished with a new winder house. Also, a secondhand winder was purchased from Wheal Jane with the intention to become the mines secondary egress. This was after the condemnation of Robinson’s Shaft in 1994. Robinson’s Shaft was finally decommissioned in 1996, the changeover was completed on the 17th June that year.
(Notes courtesy of Dr Nick Le Boutillier)
As I have previously said all my trips were with those who had to work. This visit to Roskear was with James Pettett in order to take some air readings around the shaft area.
On one of my visits to Roskear I had the chance to do some exploring. I crossed the shaft and went down the drive. There were some huge holes in the floor and some stopes on either side. These were dating from the 1920’s and it was an amazing experience, albeit a bit frightening. The remaining images on this page are of one of the stopes I investigated.