Fowey Consols- the original mines

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Fowey Consols is a mine whose history dominated the fortunes of William West and J.T. Teffry. This was mine in mid-Cornwall was where their lives first crossed, and where they built timg_20170212_135148_kindlephoto-57272580.jpgheir famous Austin’s engine.  

Fowey Consols was an amalgamation of several mines, and this can make following the history of the set confusing. This post therefore combines the information contained in Jim Lewis’s book ‘A Richly Yielding Piece of Ground‘ with excellent National Library of Scotland website to explore the sett. 

The Map from Jim Lewis’s book on which this post is based.

The Fowey Consols Mines

  • Wheal Treasure
  • Wheal Fortune
  • Wheal Chance

These all started work in 1813, they all became Fowey Consols. in 1822.

  • Wheal Hope

This became part of Fowey Consols some time after 1830.

  • Lansecott

This opened about 1817 but did not join Fowey Consols until 1836.

The mines located

Click here to explore the map on NLS website>

Austen and Fowey Consols

Austen’s involvement in the mines started in 1814 when he purchased shares in Treasure, Fortune and Chance. The mines had a slow start, and the early history of the setts is a complex one of debts, closures  and disputes. 
In 1820 Austen gained control of Wheals  Treasure, Fortune, Chance, and Hope.   He was was also buying shares in Lanescott. Fowey Consols was formed in 1822 but Lanescott remained a separate Company until 1836.

The total production of copper from the mines between 1815 and 1836 was 383,359 which brought in sales of £ 2,247,478.

Austen’s style of management favoured returning a large proportion of earnings back into the Company as investment. A strategy that William West, as both engineer and equipment supplier, benefited greatly from. Not all those involved in Fowey Consols appreciated this approach though:

‘Despite of the success being achieved many of the London adventures were unhappy with Austen’s management of the mines.There was a basic conflict of interest- They were looking for the biggest financial returns- but for Austen pqasuccess lay in the magnitude of his achievements and not in the size of his bank balance.’ A Richly Yielding Piece of Ground

Fowey Consols was more than a return on investment, to him it gave him chance to make mark in the world.


The steam Engines

A list complied from Annex V of A Richly Yielding Piece of Ground.

The numbers relate to the shaft positions shown in Jim Lewis’s map, the dates refer to the period of the engines operation.

Austin’s (4)

  • Wheal Treasure
  • 8o ” pumping
  •  1834-1836

Bottrall’s (12)

  • Wheal Fortune
  • 22″ Whim
  •  1837- 1867

Hodge’s (20)

  • Lanescott
  • 24′ Whim


  • Wheal Treasure
  • 18″ Whim
  • 1832- 1838
  • 22″ Whim
  • 1838-1867

Ray’s (17)

  • Wheal Fortune
  • 21′ Pumping
  • ?-1832
  • 18′ Whim
  • 1832-1867

Sawle’s (22)

  • Lanescott
  • 24″ Pumping
  • 1832-1838

Trathen’s (10)

  • Wheal Chance
  • 20″ Whim
  • 1832- 1860

Union (9)

  • Wheal Treasure
  • 4o” pumping
  • 1826-1834

Henrietta’s (13)

  • Wheal Fortune
  • 80″ Pumping
  • 1840-1843

Kendall’s North (1)

  • Caruggatt seaction
  • 20″ Whim
  • 1860-1862

     Next post…the aftermath of Austen’s engine trial….



2 thoughts on “Fowey Consols- the original mines

  1. Pingback: Austen’s Engine- A letter from James Sims | navsbooks

  2. Fred Waters

    My mining gg grandfather (a John Watters) left St Blazey for Camborne in the spring of 1862. There was no family reason for this move to my knowledge so it must have been due to work. Did Fowey Consoles and other mines around Tywardreath (don’t which mine he worked in), start running down by this time?


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