The Terminus of the Tramway at Kitto's Shaft

The South Caradon Mine Tramway to Kitto’s Shaft

After a pause whilst another project takes priority (more of that in a later post) this blog resumes in reclaiming and updating the old ‘South Caradon mine’ website. It continues with the theme of tramways and railways.

 

The Terminus of the Tramway at Kitto's ShaftLinking the hugely productive Kitto’s Shaft with the South Caradon Mine’s dressing floors was a tramway, a tramway that carried the massive amounts of ore the mine pulled out of the ground from the rich Caunter Lode.

This tramway ran from near the sett’s eastern boundary at Kitto’s Shaft, around the southern slope of Caradon Hill, to a terminus near the yard above the dressing floors. It passed through a tunnel at Holman’s Shaft but did not appear to have  branches to any other shafts. The tramway ran parallel and slightly higher than  the mines main east to west cart track.

Operation of the tramway

It assumed that the tramway was horsedrawn but a lone chimney (seen in the above photograph) has been suggested by some authors to have served stationary haulage engine for the tramway. This theory is unlikely due to the chimney’s location, and the likelihood that it was located at a now lost shaft used for hauling.
Assuming the wagons to hold two tons of ore each, about ten wagons a day would have trundled along the route when the mine was operating at its peak production.

The Tramway Route

Map of the South Caradon mine tramway terminus in the Seaton Valley

This map shows the route of the tramway as it rounded the corner of the hill into the Seaton Valley. The parallel lines of tracks, tramline and leats all squeeze under the slopes of the mine waste tips.These can be seen in the photograph below as they run behind the stamp engine. Messenger interprets the rear parallel line as being a raised launder. The OS map confirms that a leat ran along this alignment to Donkey Pond. The reveted route below this is probably that of the Tramway on a descent to the Yard.

The Eastern TerminusOS 1880 map of Kittow's Shaft South Caradon Mine

The tramway ends at Kitto’s Shaft in a trench between two waste dumps. Another tramway, at a higher level, links this to the shaft. The 1880 Os map shows this layout (note the incorrect spelling of the shaft) .

The dressing floor terminus

Once at the terminus the track track appears to turn to the west to an unloading siding above the dressing shed. How this is achieved with the gradient that existed beside the Drys is not clear. However, close inspection of the Victorian photograph does not reveal a possible raised track bed supported by trestles or a simple ore slide that allowed the ore to fall.by gravity down to the lower level.

PhototramTips


wpid-wp-1435842521499.jpegThe Liskeard Mining District in 1863

This Kindle Publication contains a map of the mine clearly showing the tramway route.

Click here to view on Amazon>

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The Tramways on the South Caradon Mine Dressing Floor

Navsbooks>South Caradon Mine>Dressing floor Tramway layout

The resurrection of the old South Caradon Mine Website  has now reached the stage of digging in and pulling out the transport related pages. It starts off with the network of rails that ran around the bottom of the Seaton Valley to serve the dressing floors.

Transportation of ore around the various processes on the dressing floors required a tramway network that running on different levels along bridges, trestles and embankments.DSCF7228SouthCaradonFloors

Its exact layout is open to some speculation with the tracks shown on the 1882 OS map not fully coinciding with the evidence from the one existing Victorian picture.

The Picture below is a  detail from this picture and it is fully reproduced in Webb and Geach. Detail within this view gives some fascinating clues to the operation and construction of the tramway and yet also leaves some question unanswered.

phototramway

Within the photograph one of the mines trucks can be seen sat on a raised track above piles of dressed ore.

An interpretation

The map below an interpretation of the possible track layout based on the following evidence:

  • 1st and 2nd series OS 6″ maps
  • 1880’s photograph
  • Earl: Ore Dressing
  • Maps in CAU, Shambrock, Brown

This layout supports the suggested layout and material flow given on the dressing floor page. The radius of the curves visible in the picture do not coincide well with those in the OS map and it is not clear how the wagons were moved around on the raised walkway.

If anyone on closer inspection of the maps and photograph have alternative suggestions please email me and I will include them in the web site.dftram

Process

1 Ore is delivered from Kitto’s and Holman’s shafts for sorting, ragging, spalling and cobbing in the dressing shed area.

2 Cobbed ore is taken from the dressing shed area up to the crusher for Bucking.

3 After bucking it runs down to the upper valley floor for Jigging

4 The jigged ore sent down the valley.

5 Dressed ore tipped into parcels for sale and shipment by LCR

6 Ore requiring further dressing is trammed back up to the stamps for crushing

7 Crushed Ore is transported to Halven floors by launder in suspension.


Webb and Geach Reprinted

The 1880 photograph from which the photograph on this page was taken is reproduced Webb and Geach Book Coverin full in the Trevithick Society’s re-print of  “History and Progress of Mining in the Liskeard and Caradon District”.

Webb  and  Geach  published  their  History  and  Progress  of  Mining  in  the Caradon  and  Liskeard  Districts  in  1862,  and  a  new  edition  was  issued  the following  year.  Although  predominantly  aimed  at  potential  investors,  it  is clear  that  the  authors  also  wished  to  put  on  record  the  history  of  the  area.  In consequence  their  book  is  an  invaluable  picture  of  the  Liskeard  and  Caradon area in those early boom times.

Click here to find the book on Amazon>

The Names at South Caradon Mine

Navsbooks>South Caradon Mine>The Names

Who owned and ran South Caradon Mine?

Now that the talk at Luckett is over this post returns to the task of resurrecting more of the South Caradon Mine web pages. Now doubt the mines of Luckett will be the topic of later posts but in the meantime here is a summary of some of the characters at South Caradon.

The owners

The Clymo Brothers and Thomas Kittow became wealthy as a result of  South Caradon. They re-invested much of the profits into other ventures in the Liskeard area, including the lead mines of Menheniot.

Peter ClymoPeter Clymo's grave at Liskeard

The 1851 Census showed Peter was born in Camborne and was married to Mary who was born in Devonport. They lived in Dean House Liskeard with two servants.

Peter Clymo remained Captain until forced to resign from ill health in 1869 after Overseeing thirty six years of production.In addition to his business interests he had been mayor of Liskeard three times and a JP

Peter became died in 1870 aged 69 after spending three years bed bound.

At his funeral 600 miners lead the cortege and over 1000 spectators looked on. A symbol of the impact the practical skills and vision of the South Caradon adventurers had made to South East Cornwall.

James ClymoJames Clymo's Grave

Brother of Peter. He worked underground until 23 obtaining a large amount of practical knowledge that proved of great value in the running of the mine. He died earlier than his brother in 1849.

The Clymo’s father worked at Fowey Consols and a cousin James Budge Clymo emigrated to manage Molong Mining Company New South Wales.

Tom Kittow

A farmer from Browda in Linkinhorne Parish. Thomas Kittow was secretary of the mine until 1875, over 40 years! He was born 1788 at Trewen and died 31st December 1886 at Browda on his own estate aged a 100. Thomas farmed at Browda and Linkinhorne and never married. 

The landowner-The Mineral Lord

Reverend Norris

This was perhaps the luckiest of all those involved in the mine. For no risk, no investment and no skill the landowner saw his previous rough grazing land turn into a huge source of income. By 1863 alone he had been paid up to £43,000 in dues.

The engineer

William West

wpid-screenshot_2015-08-21-17-43-45.png

The famous Cornish engineer was involved in the mine from its creation to his death.

Click here for more information about William West>

Click her for a biography on William West>

 

The Management Teams

The managers-The Mine Captains

  • Peter Clymo
  • William Rule
  • John Holman

The Chief Agents-The Supervisors

  • William Rule
  • John Pearce
  • John Holman
  • W. Wills
  • William Tyacke
  • James Dymond
  • William Clogg
  • Fred Waddleton
  • William George
  • George Seccombe

Just as in other Cornish mines many of these names are now part of the landscape. Their names have been given to the shafts that now lie un-used and choked. The buildings of Rule’s, Pearce’s and Holman’s shaft

The secretaries and pursers-The account keepers

  • Thomas Kitto
  • J. Dymond
  • William Rule

 

Fatalities at the mine

A few of the many Cornish mine deaths

Jane Husband

“On Tuesday last, a young women called  Jane
Husband, about 17 years of age, went to work at this mine a little late in the morning. To escape being seen by the captain dresser, she went into the jigging house instead of going into the tool house, and by some means got her dress caught in the jigging machine, by which she was crushed to death. It is remarkable that there was not a single bone broken.”

28 Feb 1862
West Briton Newspaper

John Oliver

“On Saturday morning at South Caradon mine, a number of men were engaged in putting in a flywheel, when John Oliver, of Tremar Coombe, St. Cleer, slipped his foot and was caught in the wheel. He was taken round, both his legs were broken, and he was placed under medical treatment, but he died almost as soon as he reached his own door. He leaves a wife and eight children. Whilst the unfortunate man was being conveyed home, the people conveying him were observed by a young married women, who, thinking the deceased might be her own husband, also a miner, gave premature birth, in her fright, to a child, still born. The mother was seized with fits and died shortly after.”

1st December 1870
West Briton Newspaper

South Caradon Mine Counthouse in the 1880s

South Caradon Mine’s Count House

Navsbooks>South Caradon>Views>Count House

It’s back to exploring South Caradon’s views; filling in the gaps on the valley floor view.

The centre of the mine’s administration

Many Cornish Mines have left impressive Count houses, but not at South Caradon. Its derelict state possibly arising from its location deep within the dressing floors. This is not a location to be developed into a grand home, farmhouse or Nursing Home, it is a location where buildings  have been left to crumble.

The role of the count house

Mine count houses where normally imposing buildings, from which the mine was administered and the mine’s accounts kept. Traditionally, the bidding for work by the miners was carried out at the front of the  count houses, at the steps of the front door.

The remains of the count house

The area of South Caradon mine counthouse

On the terrace above the valley floor and down stream of the Yard is the sparse remains of the count house. In 1937 this stood to a substantial height but today only its foundations and a small pile if rubble remains. 

However , the nearby the count houses of West Caradon, East Caradon and Glasgow Caradon remain standing and in use as residences or hotels.

The Count House in the 19th  century

South Caradon Mine Counthouse in the 1880s

This photograph of the building shows it to be a rambling construction with several extensions added to its rear. The nearest corner appears to be of wood construction, and presumably the grand entrance is on the north side, hidden from the camera.

At that entrance the  miners would bid to take part in an auction (The setting) for work. This was an important part of the ‘Cornish system’ , the subject of the book described in my last post.


Second Hand Books

In addition to my own paperbacks and Kindle publications I sometimes also have a small selection of second hand books for sale, some on mining, some on railways, some on maritime and whenever possible some on maps. I say ‘sometimes’ because the listings are closed whenever I am more than a day away from the increasingly evasive post offices and their restricted opening hours.

Click here to see the current stock on Amazon>

If the shelves area empty try another day, when my travels may have brought me past a post office counter.

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>

Views of South Caradon

Navsbooks>South Caradon> Views

My original South Caradon website was based on a series of views of the mine from the footpath that runs through West Caradon Mine. As time as moved on, and so has my digital camera, this post is based on some new photographs.

This is one of the most amazing and intense industrial heritage views on Cornwall. It is one packed with detail, packed with history, packed with industrial remains.

The view across the Seaton Valley

ScardonViewNumbered

This 2018 view is taken from the tips of West Caradon Mine and shows a valley rich with remains. Runing from left to right in the foreground is the Seaton River, its course following the boundary cross-course.

Click here for a map of the area>

Key to the view

The next set of posts in this series will explore some of the features in the view not yet described in this blog.

The view down the valley

South Caradon Mine's dressing floors

This view, also taken in 2018 looks down the Seaton Valley. South Caradon Mine is to the left, and West Caradon to the right.


Brenton Symons’s 1863  Map on Kindle

South Caradon Mine is included on Brenton Symon’s map of the Liskeard Mining district. wp-1453408124105.jpegThe full map is available in the Kindle Publication ‘The Liskeard Mining District in 1863’.

Click here for the book’s Amazon page>