The St Agnes Mining District with its high cliffs and dramatic setting forms one of my favourite areas. The cliffs to the west and east have been worked for Tin for many hundreds of years as well as being moulded by the power of the sea. The area is Geologically important, the rich ore deposits have been formed at the junction of the granite underlying St. Agnes Beacon and the complex metamorphosed country rock around it.
The town of St Agnes grew up around the mines, in Trevaunance Cove a harbour was constructed to ship the ore out to the smelters. The remains can be clearly seen at low tide. The boom years for St Agnes were from the 1830’s through to the mid 1870’s when the price of Tin dropped. Many of the smaller mines were forced to close. The three largest mines in the area Wheal Kitty, Polberro and Wheal Friendly had merged, and as one company they continued into the 1940’s. This page among other things also covers one of my favourite walks, from Porthtowan to Perranporth. The coast here is amazing with classic Cornish Mining Landscapes, the views of the cliffs are breath taking. I have walked it more than a few times enjoying every minute of it. There are several gaps in the page, but the images will be added as they are printed.
For more information on St Agnes follow this link: St Agnes Village St Agnes Mining District 1: These are the remains of Wheal Sterran/Wheal Tye.dating from during the early 20th Century. This is Vivian’s Shaft which was the site of an attempted re-opening during 1927. The foundations of many of the buildings remain along with a square stack. St Agnes Mining District 2: Tywarnhayle Mine Taylor’s Engine House which once housed a 58″ Pumping Engine. St Agnes Mining District 3: John’s 70″ Engine House at Tywarnhayle Mine built in 1861.This house is perched on the edge of the hill surrounded by a classic Cornish Mining landscape. In a 1906 re-working this was the site of the first electric centrifugal pump used in Cornwall. The mine worked from 1826-1907 producing 115,388 tons of Copper. In more recent years this has been the underground training ground for students from The Royal School of Mines in London. St Agnes Mining District 4: Wheal Ellen Engine House southeast of Porthtowan. This well preserved engine house was built in 1866 during an attempt to re-work the mine which had produced 24,000 tons of Copper between 1826 and 1862. But the engine was never installed in the house.. St Agnes Mining District 5: Wheal Ellen Engine House from the front, the unusual castellated top of the stack can be clearly seen. Also on top of the hill in the background is John’s 70″ engine house. St Agnes Mining District 6: The remains of the Bob Wall at Great Wheal Charlotte.The mine worked from 1834-1840 producing 2,800 Tons of Copper. St Agnes Mining District 7: A second image of Great Wheal Charlotte mine. St Agnes Mining District 8: Charlotte United Mine’s 36″ Engine House, in the valley above Chapel Porth. The mine worked during the years from 1820-1873 producing 23,100 tons of Copper. St Agnes Mining District 9: Chapel Porth beach is a lovely setting for a walk, the tides here come in very fast, so always be careful. Up on the cliff is Wheal Coates Mine. St Agnes Mining District 10: Wheal Coates 36″ Pumping Engine House on Towanroath Shaft. The foundations infront of the house were for a later horizontal pumping engine. The mine is wonderfully situated on the cliff edge and was worked from 1815-1914. It is probably one of the most photographed buildings in the area. St Agnes Mining District 11: Looking back at the buildings around Wheal Coates, but at this time the sea mist for which the area is well known was rolling in. St Agnes Mining District 12: This stack belongs to Trevaunance Mine, it originally served the 50″ pumping engine house, but this was demolished in 1930’s having been declared dangerous. The mine worked from 1843-1887 producing 1,960 tons of Copper and 550 tons of Tin. St Agnes Mining District 13: The cylinder stone of the whim engine house of Trevaunance Mine. St Agnes Mining District 14: The scant remains of the all enclosed whim engine house,the cylinder stone is close to the camera. St Agnes Mining District 15: Royal Polberro Consols, this mine worked from as early as 1730. Its main period of working was from 1837-1895, this is the well preserved engine house on Turnavore Shaft. The mine during this time produced produced 4,310 tons Tin and 1,598 tons of Copper. Also the sett had a final re-working in the 20th century finally closing in 1941. St Agnes Mining District 16: A second image of the engine house from the other side, the concrete structures in the front once supported a stone crusher. This site is now heavily overgrown and on private land. St Agnes Mining District 17: This is the site of the 36″ Stamps Engine house of Polberro Mine, all that remains is a granite bedstone for the beam. For more images follow the link: Polberro Mine St Agnes Mining District 18: Wheal Friendly’s 60″ Pumping Engine House, this was built in 1902. It is a prominent landmark of the St Agnes Mining District over looking Trevaunance Beach. The mine worked during the years 1860-1915 producing 450 tons of copper and 440 tons of tin. St Agnes Mining District 19: A second view of Wheal Friendly Engine House. St Agnes Mining District 20: Looking back towards Wheal Friendly. In the foreground is a concrete pillar which carried a stone crusher, this was linked to the headgear cover the shaft by a wooden gantry. Cornish Mine Images 21: A closer image of the supporting pillar, in the undergrowth are mounting bolts for pneumatic stamps. Cornish Mine Images 22: This is taken looking down the valley to Trevaunance Cove. For more information about Trevaunance Cove follow this Link. Cornish Mine Images 23: West Wheal Kitty Mine in the centre of St Agnes. This is Thomas’s Engine House the only remaining building. The chimney for the Whim House still stands in the housing estate behind. It was built durng 1892 housing a 40″ Pumping Engine. The house now stands on private ground. The shaft here reached a depth of 116 Fathoms. Cornish Mine Images 24: This is the 50″ pumping engine house of Gooninnis Mine which is a prominent landmark above the village. It worked from 1860 to 1910 with little or no recorded output. Cornish Mine Images 25: It is a fine looking engine house, also flanked by buildings of the same era and construction. Cornish Mine Images 26: Wheal Kitty Mine, the 65″ Engine House on Sara’s Shaft, the engine was constructed by the Perran Foundry in 1852. The mine worked from 1834-1930 producing 13,121 tons of Tin and 2,024 tons of Copper. This photograph was taken during the mid 1990’s, since then the house has been renovated. It is now the centre piece of a small industrial estate. So much has changed in the St Agnes Mining District. For more images follow the link: Wheal Kitty Mine Cornish Mine Images 27: Blue Hills Mine between St.Agnes and Perranporth. This is the Pumping Engine house for a 70″ engine. The mine worked during the years 1813-1898 producing quantities of Arsenic and 2,117 tons of tin. Cornish Mine Images 28: An image of the engine house from the lane leading to the visitor centre of Blue Hills. Cornish Mine Images 29: Another view of the front of Blue Hill Mine engine house showing the fine brickwork. But the house today is generally in a poor condition. Cornish Mine Images 30: This was taken during the early 1990’s Blue Hills Tin. At this time the Cornish Stamps were being restored to working use. Today the site is open to visitors and is a very interesting visit. For more information about Blue Hills follow this Link Cornish Mine Images 31: In the valley towards Trevellas Porth, below Blue Hills are the remains of several chimneys and processing buildings. Cornish Mine Images 32; The extensive remains of Cligga Head Wolfram and Tin Mine. This worked between 1940 and 1944, 300 tons of wolfram and 200 were produced. This is along the dramatic cliff walk from St Agnes to Perranporth. Cornish Mine Images 33: Finally along the cliff from Cligga Head Mine are the remains of the Nobel explosive works that was here from 1893 to 1909. Wendron Mining District Contact