A Cornish Mining Cook Cover- must be an engine house!

On the Economy of the mines of Cornwall and Devon-1814

There has been a slight pause in the South Caradon posts whilst I divert my attentions to finishing off a little gem of 19th Century mining history. South Caradon is not been pushed completely into the wings however, for it makes an appearance on the book cover.

The Cornish System Described

John Taylor’s pamphlet on the Devon and Cornwall mining industry gives a great introduction to what was known as the ‘Cornish System’, a management and financial system used by mines all over the world that caJT cover Frontme under the influence of Cornish miners.

A talk I gave on John Taylor (that is the Norwich born mining genius, not the 1980’s guitarist) prompted me to bring some of his words back into print, and so I republished his 1814 book in the Kindle format .

Click to view the Kindle edition on Amazon>

I have had requests by non-Kindle readers to make a hard copy available, and that version is now nearing completion.

The Cover

Here is the first draft of the cover. The original intention of not following the well trodden route of ‘Cornish Mining Topic= Engine House’ rapidly became overturned as I delved through my image store. Over and over again the images that stood out and the same theme, a Cornish engine house. Despite the thousands of images of shafts, tips, adits, stopes, buddles, and winzes it was only the engine house images that shouted out “Cornish Mining”.

The significance of the engine house

Cornwall has been gifted with structures whose distinctive silhouettes are bold and simple trademarks of its history and identity.  There are few other man made landmarks around the world that form such an easily recognizable symbol. It is a feature that can be depicted in dramatic landscapes or simplified to a black and white icon. It can be placed on books, on gifts, in paintings, on road signs, on trade marks, on car stickers, and the message is clear.

And so, the book cover used an engine house, it says far clearer than any other image I could find that this is a book about Cornish Mining. In my defense, I must add that it is not the stereotypical view of a Cornish Engine house; the chimney is not visible, the walls are tumbled and there are no dramatic sea views. Instead snow lies on the ground and waste tips form the background. The engine house is Sump Shaft pumping engine at South Caradon Mine.

Follow this blog for more information about the new book.

Advertisements

South Caradon Mine Yard

Navsbooks>South Caradon>Views>The Yard

The revival of the South Caradon website continues with more detail from the view of South Caradon dressing floor area. The original web page has been updated in this post with some pictures taken on a recent visit to the site.​ 

This is one of the most distinctive remains on the Seaton Valley floor. Within its walls some of the day to day logistics of running South Caradon mine were conducted.

The yard

South Caradon Mine yard

Above the main adit and below Donkey pond can clearly be seen the walls of an enclosed square yard. Although the structure has the appearance of a farm or domestic building it was built in the 1860’s as part of the improvements in South Caradon’s processing facilities and included two miners’ dries.

The dries provided important facilities in improving the miners welfare. In these buildings the workers could change their wet working clothes for a dry set prior to their walk home. This was not a luxury but an important factor in reducing the high death rates from lung disease.

The dry's chimney at South Caradon Mine
The miner’s dry chimney.

A modern track now cuts across the yard, breaching the walls at each end as it does so. The chimney that can be seen to the south of the yard served a boiler that provided the steam for the Dry. Around the yard was also located storage sheds, a wash house and even a barber’s shop.

The decision to invest in such a large set of buildings probably stemmed from the owner’s experience working underground as a miners.

A view of the yard In the 19th century

South Caradon Yard in the 19th Century

In this late 19 century view the Southerly wall can be seen with the dry’s chimney on the uphill side. The gate into the yard can just be made out (closed) and skylights or vents appear to exist in the roof.


Caradon Mining Books

Here are some suggested book searches on Amazon.

South Caradon Main Adit

Navsbooks>South Caradon>Views>Main Adit

South Caradon Main adit

There has been pause in these South Caradon Posts, a pause with a good reason. I have been off with the St. Neot local history group and Digventures in another part of the moor, and in another era of its history. But now it is time to leave the Bronze age behind and return to the 19th Century.

The Birth Place of South Caradon Mine

This is the location from which the Clymo’s started their great enterprise. The level dug in from here hit the great wealth of copper that lay undiscovered under Caradon Hill.

The great copper wealth discovered

The adit was originally started  by a miner called Ennor, backed by Devonport adventurers. He ceased exploration before the copper was found, and the lease changed hands several times before the Clymos restarted the prospecting in 1833.

Large exposures of Gozzan on the valley side led them to this area and according to Collins the Adit was started at a point adjacent to an outcrop of a lode exposed in the stream bed. Collins then goes on to explain…

“As they advanced into the deeper ground which the rapid rise of the hill gave them, the small patches of copper ore which at first discernible became larger and more numerous; the lode also began to increase in size, and to give strong indications of leading to a great body of copper ore.

These anticipation’s were fully verified as the development proceeded, but it was only by the exercise of the greatest determination , and the straining of their small resources to the uppermost, that the Clymos were enabled to hold on to the stake until the prize was won”

Hamilton Jenkin stated that these favourable indications started to occur at 50 fathoms in from the entrance.

The Adit

The two adits of the South Caradon mine opened out onto the Seaton Valley floor. This Pipe in the South Caradon Mine main aditwas the lowest level at which water could be naturally drained out of the mine.
The Adit opened out onto the dressing floors today the adit is marked by a gated pipe installed by the Caradon Hill Project. No access exists through the adit to the underground workings. The approximate line of the lodes can be seen on the landscape through Sump and Pearce’s shafts.

1833 –The year  in perspective

William IV was still King with the Whigs in power lead by Earl Grey (for whom the tea was made). This was  a period of social change after the passing of  first reform bill of 1832, the abolition of colonial slavery and the first factory act.

An era passed in Cornwall, with the death of Richard Trevithick, whose development of the steam engine had made deep mining in Cornwall possible. Another  era was starting with the formation of the GWR, whose arrival in Cornwall in later years would open up the Duchy to the rest of the UK.


wpid-wp-1438632155953.jpegThe Liskeard Mining District in 1863

The geology of the Caradon mining district is depicted in this Victorian map by Brenton Symons, a map made available in Kindle format in “The Liskeard Mining District in 1863”.

Click here to view on Amazon>