The Wendron Mining District is one the oldest in Cornwall, recorded Tin production dates prior to the 1500’s. Before this point in time, the rich deposits of Tin that lay close to the surface had been eroded by the weather and deposited in the river and stream beds. This hidden treasure had been exploited since the middle ages by the Tin Streamers.
One thing led to another, the Tin Streamers learnt where the valuable gravel had come from, then exploited to lodes with shallow surface workings, processing techniques had improved thus increasing the recovery. By the 1780’s shallow and deep mines were scattered all over the area.
The district has a list of over 600 mines, at the height of the production the area had over 9,000 inhabitants. The mines here were never rich but the quantity and the amount of people employed meant the mineral output outstripped the great mines of the Camborne and Redruth areas.
The boom lasted to the 1880’s when cheaper foreign Tin producers meant that most of the mines in Cornwall became uneconomic.
The countryside is now quiet, yet it retains it’s mining history with the remaining engine houses that can be seen. The Poldark Mine is a testament to the history of the Wendron District and well worth a visit.
Wendron Mining District 1 – This is the front entrance to Poldark Mine, in the background is the Greensplat Cornish Pumping Engine.
Wendron Mining District 2 – One of the many very interesting industrial relics at Poldark Mine.
Wendron Mining District 3 – The converted Engine House of Tregurtha Downs Mine is a perfect example of how to make an Engine House a home. The mine worked from 1860-1902 producing 1,295 tons of Tin, the Engine that worked here was moved to Robinson’s Shaft South Crofty Mine.
Wendron Mining District 4 – A side on view of the impressive engine house.
Wendron Mining District 5 – Prosper United Mine, it worked from 1830-1873 producing 22,500 tons of Copper, 830 tons of Tin and 1,100 Tons of Arsenic.
Wendron Mining District 6 – Otherwise known as Wheal Rodney, the Engine House here was built in 1913 as part of an unsuccessful reworking.
Wendron Mining District 7 – The pumping engine was an 80″, it was delivered but never installed in the house.
Wendron Mining District 8 – At the time the image was taken in 1999 the house was up for sale. It has since been purchased and converted into a home, lucky people.
Wendron Mining District 9 – The graceful engine house of Nancegollan Mine, it worked from 1853-1870 producing only 6 tons of Tin.
Wendron Mining District 10 – A second image of Nancegollan Mine.
Wendron Mining District 11 – The 60″ Engine House on Leeds Shaft of Great Work Mine, working from 1810-1885 it produced 6,256 tons of Tin and 1,020 tons of Copper, when the image was taken the shaft was still open.
Wendron Mining District 12 – A second image of the Engine House showing the strapping around the walls.
Wendron Mining District 13 – A final image of the engine house taken looking across the open shaft.
Wendron Mining District 14 – Part of the elevated tramway leading from “Old Men’s Shaft” of Basset and Grylls Mine to the processing mill, last re-worked during the 1930’s. Initially worked from 1852-1915 it produced 4,650 tons of Tin.
Wendron Mining District 15 – The 50″ Pumping Engine House on Roger’s shaft of East Wheal Lovell, it worked from 1859-1891 producing 2,405 tons of Tin.
Wendron Mining District 16 – Trumpet Consols, this is the 48″ Pumping Engine House on the Wheal Ann section. The stack was struck by lightening several years ago.
Wendron Mining District 17 – A second images of the engine house, the shaft here was 160 fathoms (960ft) below adit. Unusually the engine that worked here had a wooden beam, possibly one of the last of its kind in Cornwall.
Wendron Mining District 18 – Also part of Trumpet Consols this is the Whim Engine House on Dream Lode, the mines here worked from 1854-1880 producing 4,510 tons of Tin and 20 tons of Copper.
Wendron Mining District 19 – This is the converted 24″ Stamp Engine House of Wheal Enys. The mine worked from 1853-1859 producing 259 tons of Tin.
Wendron Mining District 20 – This image taken in 1996 is of a wooden frame for a set of Californian Stamps close to the workings of Wheal Fortune. It carried a 5 head set of stamps operated in the early years of the C20th to recover Tin from local burrows.
Wendron Mining District 21 – An image of the large open works of Great Wheal Fortune, these was known as the Conqueror Pits, from here the miners drove levels following promising lodes of Tin.
Wendron Mining District 22 – One of the open levels branching out from the base of the Conqueror Pit.
Wendron Mining District 23 – At Rinsey Cliff along the coast from Trewavas stands the graceful 30″ Pumping Engine House of Wheal Prosper. The mine worked from 1860-1866 producing a total of 7 tons of Tin, like so many hopefully named mines this failed to make the owners rich. The site was restored by the National Trust in the 1970’s, the shaft was 462ft deep. As with most seaward mines the workings here were very dry and the engine only needed to make two strokes every three minutes. Of the second engine house which contained a stamps and whim there are no remains.
Wendron Mining District 24 – A second image of the Wheal Prosper Engine House.
Wendron Mining District 25 – Looking back at Wheal Prosper from along the cliffs.
Wendron Mining District 26 – Trewavas Head Mine along the coast from Porthleven. In my opinion this is probably the most dramatic settings for a mine in the Wendron District and Cornwall.
Wendron Mining District 27 – A second image of Trewavas Head Mine showing both the engine houses on a stormy day.
Wendron Mining District 28 – This image is of the foundations for the 1907 steam plant at Wheal Vor Borlase’s Shaft. With fifteen engines at work in 1843 there is so very little left of this once great mine. During its boom years between 1812 and 1848 Tin Oxide production peaked at 220 tons per month.
Wendron Mining District 29 – A second image of the mounting plinths.
Wendron Mining District 30 – Wheal Metal Ivey’s 85″ Pumping Engine House, output for this mine between 1858-1901 was 3,700 tons of Tin.
Wendron Mining District 31 – Wheal Metal and Flow, the remains of the 30″ dual purpose pumping and stamp engine on Watson’s Shaft. The mine worked primarily on Tin recovery from the local dumps. Water from the shaft was used in the processing, the engine stopped work in 1901 after 540 tons of Tin had been recovered.
Wendron Mining District 32 – The ornate stack beloning to Watson’s Engine House of Wheal Metal and Flow.
Wendron Mining District 34 – A view of the front plug doorway at Wheal Metal and Flow Watson’s Shaft.
Wendrons Mining District 35 – The interior of the well preserved Engine House, Wheal Metal and Flow.
Wendrons Mining District 36 – This is the Pumping Engine House of West Godolphin Mine. The house was for a 60″ engine, the shaft here was 229m deep.
Wendrons Mining District 37 – A second image of the West Godolphin Engine House showing the decorative stack. I tried to reach this mine in 2017 but the area was heavily overgrown and impossible to enter.
Wendrons Mining District 38 – Wheal Georgia Mine, the remains of the 45″ Pumping Engine House.
Wendrons Mining District 39 – A closer look at the Bob Wall. The mine worked from 1872 – 1874 producing small amounts of Copper and Tin.
Wendrons Mining District 40 – The fine 36″ Pumping Engine House of Wheal Grey. It was built in 1898 to drain Wheal Grey China Clay pit situated behind the house. This was the site where the China Clay was first mined in Cornwall.
Wendrons Mining District 41 – A closer image of the Wheal Grey Engine House this is a listed building on private land.
For more images follow this link: Wheal Grey Gallery
St Ives Mining District