Carn Galver, St Just Mining District -image often seen in many Cornwall Holiday Tourist Brochures today
Mine Engine Houses and the less substantial winding and stamping houses. The steam engines themselves were often huge, 80" was not uncommon. The Taylors Shaft 90inch pumping engine at the Cornwall Industrial Discovery Centre, Pool nr Redruth is shown here. Alongside the engine house would be the boiler house providing the steam to power the Engine. The heyday of tin mining was the 1840's to the 1860's. Several mines had over a 1000 employees. The Geevor Heritage Centre provides an insight into a cornish tin mine. Levant was one of the Poldarklocations for the recent TV series, taking the role of Tresidders Rolling Mill. The Levant Beam Engine is also worth a visit.
Despite the romantic notions portrayed by so many of the Cornwall Holiday Tourist Brochures of today, the life of a Cornish miner was a hard brutal one. Though woman and girls only worked on the surface, a man often began underground work at the age of 12. Diseases such as bronchitis consumption and rheumatism were rife. A man was often no longer fit enough to work underground beyond the age of 40.
Death and injury were an everyday fact of life.
One just has to walk around any Cornish Churchyard
in the Mining Districts to see this for yourselves.
"Aged 14 killed by a rockfall underground.
Aged 19 killed by an explosion in a hole.
Aged 26 killed underground by a piece of wood
let drop on his head by his colleagues"
are three such real epitaphs from the East of the County.
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The drop in the price of tin when huge surface deposites were discovered abroad, and again in the price of copper a few years later made the winning of the mineral uneconomic . Many mines were forced to close, leading to mass unemployment and the mass emigration of Cornishmen (Cousin Jacks) to Countries as far afield as South Africa, the USA and Australia. There was an all too true saying "that down any mine anywhere in the World one would find a Cornishmen".
Ding Dong, nr Penzance, to a maximum of 100 fathoms below adit; Depths below adit; Crowns Engine Shaft, Botallack 135 fathoms, Boscawen Diagonal Shaft 150 fathoms; Levant Skip Shaft: 230 fathoms. Sometimes the workings would extend far out under the Sea.
Exploring old mine workings, buildings, and tips may be hazardous and should not be attempted. Shafts, adits and workings, are often unmarked and unfenced, the buildings themselves in a poor state of repair. You do so solely at your own risk. For your own safety keep to marked paths, do not enter buildings or walk over spoil tips, or enter old workings. Particularly on the Coast Path look out for shafts and workings that may become exposed.Enjoy your holiday.
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