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St Just Mining District
The St Just Mining District during the 19th 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. The further inland the richness decreases, at the seaward side the mineral is richer, this is why the mines are predominantly along the rugged Granite cliffs of this part of the North Coast.
This was the home to Geevor Mine that closed in 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 coastline and many engine houses makes this one of my favorite parts of the Cornish Coastline.
The images on this page are arranged as if one is walking from St Just to Pendeen lighthouse along the cliffs.
This is a completely new page completed October 2017.
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 2: Walking inland back up the road, is Bellan Mine. There are extensive well preserved remains of the processing plant.
St Just Mining District 3: The mill was built in 1914. It was electrically powered and by the time is was dismantled in 1947 there were 10 heads of Californian stamps, shaking tables and buddles the remains of which are still to be seen.
St Just Mining District 4: On Ballowall Common is the lone chimney of a 26″ combined stamps and winding engine that was erected in 1862.
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 6: On the coast path this is the first view of Cape Cornwall, framed by an impressive granite stile.
St Just Mining District 7: Overlooking Priest Cove are the scant remains of St Just United Mine. This worked from 1862-1904 producing 2,982 tons of Tin, this is the collar of Bayley’s Shaft. The image is taken looking across the pumping engine shaft of the mine, in the background the chimney of Cape Cornwall mine is visible.
St Just Mining District 8: A low image taken in Priest’s Cove, in the background is the chimney of Cape Cornwall Mine.
St Just Mining District 9: Boats pulled up on the slipway at Priest’s Cove.
St Just Mining District 10: The decorative chimney stack of Cape Cornwall Mine. Cape Cornwall and Cape Wrath are the only two Capes in Britain, both are stunning in their natural beauty.
St Just Mining District 11: A second view of the 1864 chimney, in 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 12: A view looking back along the coast from the top of Cape Cornwall.
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.
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 the waterwheel. The circular wall was designed to protect the engine from the sea.
St Just Mining District 15: Turning round there are the remains of Boswedden Mine. This worked from 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 16: The finely constructed pit held a 52ft diameter wheel. Water was fed down the hillside to power the wheel.
St Just Mining District 17: A final view of Boswedden Mine from the opposite side of the valley.
St Just Mining District 18: This is the 28″ Stamps Engine House at Boswedden Mine, just up the valley from the Wheel Pit.
St Just Mining District 19: Further up the valley are the extensive remains of Kenidjack Arsenic Works.
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 21: A second image of the Wheal Drea Engine House.
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 23: Cargodna 36″ Pumping Engine House of West Wheal Owles, the mine worked from 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, their bodies were never recovered, may they rest in peace.
St Just Mining District 24: Wheal Edward Stamps Engine House, part of the Wheal Owles mine sett. The house dates from around 1870 and contained a 28″ multi functional engine which drove a battery of stamps (used for crushing the ore) and it hoisted from two shafts, Wheal Edward incline shaft and Cargodna skip shaft. (Thanks to Paul for this information)
St Just Mining District 25: One of the most famous views in Cornwall, Botallack Mine “The Crowns”.
St Just Mining District 26: The remains of the Botallack Power House, dating from the early 20th Century re-working it supplied power to electric submersible pumps and dressing floors where the ore was processed.
St Just Mining District 27: The headframe over the 1400ft deep Allen’s Shaft at Botallack Mine.
St Just Mining District 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, one of the best views in the St Just Mining District.
St Just Mining District 29: These are the loadings for the whim engine at the Wheal Cock section of Botallack Mine.
St Just Mining District 30: Perched high on the side of the cliff in Pendeen is Levant Mine, one of the great Copper and Tin producers of Cornwall and the St Just Mining District. This is the preserved Whim Engine house of the mine. The site is maintained by the National Trust and the engine is steamed regularly. This is one of the highlights of the St Just Mining District.
St Just Mining District 31: Higher Bal Engine House on Guide Shaft of Levant Mine, this is one of my favorite places in the St Just Mining District.
St Just Mining District 32: A bank of Bruton Calciners at Levant Mine.
St Just Mining District 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. Remains of the Levant Mine Dressing Floors.
St.Just Mining District 34: 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.
St.Just Mining District 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 has a few gaps in it and I will add to it over time. I did this walk with Tracy this summer (2017) took us all day and a pint was needed afterwards, it is a spectacular walk, it was an amazing day.
St.Just Mining District 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 from 1815-1878 producing 3,475 tons of Tin.
The backing music on this page is “St Just” sung by Cornish Comedian and ex-miner Jethro, it is published here with his authority. As he once worked underground as a “Timber Man” in Levant Mine I thought this was very fitting, my thanks go to him for the permission to use his material on the page.