St Just Mining District

The St Just Mining District during the 19th century was one of the major producers of Copper and Tin in Cornwall. It was in this area that the great mines of Botallack and Levant had underground workings that ventured far out under the sea, some for upto a mile.

The underground mineral deposits are generally very narrow steeply dipping lodes concentrated at rough right angles to the coastline. However further inland the richness decreases, at the seaward side the mineral is richer. As a result the mines are predominantly along the rugged Granite cliffs of this part of the North Coast.

This was also the home to Geevor Mine that closed during 1990, it is now a very impressive museum. The Levant Mine Beam Engine built in 1840 still survives in its original house. This along with miles of rugged cliffs and many engine houses makes this one of my favorite parts of the Cornish Coastline.

So, the images on this page are arranged as if one is walking from St Just to Pendeen lighthouse along the cliffs. A fantastic day out but the weather can be unpredictable.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 1 – The “walk” starts at the end of the Cot Valley at St Just. This wonderful cove is Porth Nanven, one of my favorite places in Cornwall.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 2 – Firstly, walking inland back up the road, is Bellan Mine. There are extensive well preserved remains of the processing plant.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 3 – The mill was built during 1914. It was electrically powered and by the time is was dismantled during 1947. In total there were 10 heads of Californian stamps, shaking tables and buddles the remains of which are still to be seen.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 4 – On Ballowall Common is the lone chimney of a 26″ combined stamps and winding engine that was erected during 1862.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 5 – A second image of the chimney, the building infront is associated with the mines dressing floors.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 6 – On the coast path this is the first view of Cape Cornwall, framed by an impressive granite stile.
For more information about Cape Cornwall, Click Here.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 7 – Overlooking Priest Cove are the scant remains of St Just United Mine. This worked during the years 1862-1904 In total producing 2,982 tons of Tin, this is the collar of Bayley’s Shaft. In the background the chimney of Cape Cornwall mine is visible.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 8 – A low image taken in Priest’s Cove, in the background is the chimney of Cape Cornwall Mine. These rounded boulders are certainly unique to this part of Cornwall.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 9 – Boats pulled up on the slipway at Priest’s Cove.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 10 – The decorative chimney stack of Cape Cornwall Mine. Cape Cornwall and Cape Wrath in Scotland are the only two Capes in Britain.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 11 – A second view of the 1864 chimney. During 1987 the site was donated to the nation by the H. J. Heinz Company and is known as the Heinz Monument.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 12 – A view looking back along the coast from the top of Cape Cornwall.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 13 – Walking down from the top of Cape Cornwall the path crosses a field. In there are the remains St Helen’s Oratory, a small early Christian Chapel.
Nancherrow Valley is certainly an amazing place. A hidden place full of mining remains and stunning views. It is a great place to sit and appreciate ones own life.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 14 – At the seaward end of the Nancherrow Valley is an old engine which used to pump water to a house on the hillside above. Because of the rough seas a circular wall was designed to protect the engine.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 15 – Turning round there are the remains of Boswedden Mine. This worked during 1837-1876 producing 1,375 tons of Tin and 200 tons of Copper. The image shows the impressive dressed granite blocks of the surviving waterwheel pit.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 16 – A second image showing the finely constructed pit, it once held a 52ft diameter wheel. Water was fed down the hillside to power the wheel on a series of Leats.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 17 – A final view of Boswedden Mine, but from the opposite side of the valley.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 18 – This is the 28″ Stamps Engine House at Boswedden Mine, just up the valley from the Wheel Pit.
The works were built to extract arsenic from the tin ore produced at the mine, as arsenic left the ore almost unsaleable. The ore was heated to high temperatures in the calciner, and the fumes which were given off were drawn through long stone tunnels called labyrinths, on whose walls the arsenic would condense out.

 

St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 19 – Meanwhile further up the valley are the extensive remains of Kenidjack Arsenic Works.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 20 – This is Wheal Drea Multipurpose Engine House at the top of the Kenidjack Valley. The engine here was a combined 26″ used for both Pumping and Winding. This dates from the latter part of the 1850’s, the shaft here reached a depth of 160 Fathoms.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 21 – A second image of the Wheal Drea Engine House.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 22 – The remains of the 30″ Pumping Engine House at Wheal Owles Engine Shaft, this reached a depth of 196 Fathoms.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 23 – Cargodna 36″ Pumping Engine House of West Wheal Owles, the mine worked during the years 1821-1907 producing 8,950 tons Tin, 2,079 tons Copper, 50 tons of Arsenic and quantities of Uranium.
The Cargodna Shaft halfway down the cliff face was the site of a mining disaster on 10th January 1893. Miners working in this section on the 65 fathom level accidentally breached the flooded workings of a neighbouring mine called Wheal Drea. The sound of the water flooding into the workings was described by one miner as “louder than ten thousand thunders”. Nineteen men and one boy were drowned, but their bodies were never recovered, may they rest in peace.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 24 – Wheal Edward Stamps Engine House, part of the Wheal Owles mine sett.
The Stamps house dates from 1870 and contained a 28″ multi functional engine which drove a battery of stamps (used for crushing the ore). It also hoisted from two shafts, Wheal Edward incline shaft and Cargodna skip shaft.
St Just Mining District
St Just Mining District 25 – Certainly one of the most famous views in Cornwall, Botallack Mine “The Crowns”.
St Just Mining District
Cornish Mine Images 26 – The remains of the Botallack Power House, built during the early 20th Century re-working. It supplied power to electric submersible pumps and dressing floors.
St Just Mining District
Cornish Mine Images 27 – The headframe over the 1400ft deep Allen’s Shaft at Botallack Mine. This was erected during the 1980’s by Geevor Mine because of a possible re-working.
For more images of Botallack Mine Allen’s Shaft follow his link: Allen’s Shaft Gallery
Botallack Mine
Cornish Mine Images 28 – Looking back along the coastline, in the foreground are the Crowns Engine Houses. In the distance West Wheal Owles and Wheal Edward engine houses stand proud. Certainly one of the best views in Cornwall.
For more images of Botallack Mine follow his link: Botallack Mine Gallery
Botallack Mine
Cornish Mine Images 29 – These are the loadings for the whim engine at the Wheal Cock section of Botallack Mine.
Levant Mine
Cornish Mine Images 30 – Perched high on the cliff in Pendeen is Levant Mine. This was one of the great Copper and Tin producers of Cornwall and the St Just Mining District. The image is of the preserved Whim Engine house. The site is currently maintained by the National Trust and the engine is steamed regularly.
For more images of Levant Mine follow his link: Levant Mine Gallery
Levant Mine
Cornish Mine Images 31 – Higher Bal Engine House on Guide Shaft of Levant Mine.
Levant Mine
Cornish Mine Images 33 –  A bank of Bruton Calciners at Levant Mine. These were used to “cook” the Arsenic from the ore.
Geevor Mine
Cornish Mine Images 33 – The headframe of Geevor Mine at Victory Shaft. This was the last working mine in the St Just Mining District, it finally closed in 1990. In the foreground are remains of the Levant Mine Dressing Floors.
Geevor Mine
Cornish Mine Images 34 – The headframe of Geevor Mine at Victory Shaft.
For more images of Geevor Mine follow his link: Geevor Mine Gallery 
Levant Mine
Cornish Mine Images 35 – Having walked past the dressing floors of Levant Mine and the bottom section of Geevor this is the view looking back.
Treweeks Shaft Geevor
Cornish Mine Images 36 – Originally part of Boscaswell Downs Mine this is Treweeks Shaft which was used by Geevor to explore the lodes in the area, it was also the mine’s secondary egress.
For more images of Geevor Treweeks Shaft follow his link: Treweeks Shaft Gallery
Boscaswell Downs Mine
Cornish Mine Images 37 – The dressing floors of Boscaswell Downs Mine, this worked from 1837-1912 producing 1,295 tons of Tin and 700 tons of Copper. In the background is Pendeen Lighthouse.
And the walk along the cliffs comes to an end, this page. I did this walk with Tracy in the summer of 2017. But it took us all day and a pint was needed afterwards, it is a spectacular walk, it was an amazing day.
Ding Dong Mine
Cornish Mine Images 38 – Some 2 miles south of the St Just to Penzance road there is Ding Dong Mine. This is the 40″ pumping engine house on Greenburrow Shaft. The mine worked during the years 1815-1878 producing 3,475 tons of Tin.
For more images of Ding Dong Mine follow his link: Ding Dong Mine Gallery

The backing music on this page is “St Just” sung by Cornish Comedian and ex-miner Jethro, it is published here with his authority. Because he once worked underground as a “Timber Man” in Levant Mine I thought this was very fitting.

Camborne Mining District

Contact