Holman’s and Rule’s Shaft complex Map

Navsbooks>South Caradon>Maps>Holman’s and Rule’s

South Caradon Mine’s best known set of mine buildings

Recycling one of the original website maps did not do this area justice, so instead I have dug up an image captured from an 1885 Ordnance survey map; the ability to digitally magnify the original brings out the detail crammed into this small area. 

The 1885 map

Holman's and Rule's Shafts area
OS 25″ map, 1885

This map was published in 1885, based on an 1883 survey. It therefore was printed in the year of the mine’s closure. As such, it captures the workings at their maximum extent.

Click here for a description of the mine in 1885>

The complex shown on the map

The engine houses

The most southerly building is Holman’s Shaft pumping engine house, withHolman's Shaft bob wall its boiler house situated on the western side Close north of that is Rule’s Shaft pumping engine house, again with the boiler house to the west. The two engines share a chimney on the opposite side of the track. The building on the northern side of the track is the winding engine for both shafts, with the loadings for the winding cages clearly indicated to the west of the horizontal whim engine’s house.

Tramways and leats

Running from east to west is the mine’s tramway, linking kitto’s Shaft to the dressing floors. Other tramways run from Holman’s shaft to the waste tips.

Three parallel leats are shown, along with ‘aqueducts’ (launders), and two boiler ponds.

Click here to explore more maps of South Caradon Mine>


 

wp-1453408124105.jpegBrenton Symons’s 1863  Map on Kindle

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

Click here for the book’s Amazon page>

South Caradon Mine Stamp Engine

Navsbooks>South Caradon>Views>Stamp Engine
StampEngine2018

After the last post’s wander into the subject of the May tree fair, the South Caradon Mine series returns. Dando the Monk will re-appear once I have gathered some more photographs of the fair day, meanwhile here is another Cornish engine site.

The remains of a ore crusher and Cornish Stamps

This is one of the least well preserved engine houses of South Caradon Mine. Its chimney is still standing, but the rest of the structure is no more than rubble.  It is however, the engine house with the best photographic evidence in existence. StampsLoading.jpg

The Stamp engine house was located just above the Seaton valley bottom among the dressing floors. The engine was of 28 inch diameter; it powered a set of 24 headed stamps on the Southern side of the flywheel, and a rotative crusher to the North. These crushed the ore for dressing prior to further treatment on the floors that lay on the valley bottom. A tramway system linked the many shafts with the plant and with other parts of the processing area.

The substantial concrete structure to the south of the stamp engine is the remnant of a screen (grizzly) used in the reworking of the mine waste in more recent years.

The Crusher and stamps

Copper ore was difficult to reduce in size by stamps, they tended to over-crush the ore, resulting in too much being carried over in waste. Hand processing  therefore formed an important part of the copper

img_20160329_0845550_rewind_kindlephoto-9819468.jpg

dressing process right up to the end of the copper mining industry in Cornwall.

Crushers, otherwise known as Cornish Rolls, was a method introduced by John Taylor to mechanically reduce copper ore in size. They use two mechanically powered rollers, between which the rocks were passed for crushing.

Click here for more information about John Taylor and the Crusher>

The small set of stamps were used to treat the small amount of material that could not be processed by the manual methods or the crusher. The fine material produced by the stamps would be treated on the halvan floors in the lower part of the valley.

The 19th Century view

W59Stampsengine

This extract from a 19th Century photograph (courtesy of Neil Parkhouse collection) clearly shows the layout of the stamp engine complex. The Crusher house is on the left, flywheel in the middle and stamps to the right. The sweep rod is a blur, indicating that the engine was at work at the time of the photograph being taken.


Webb and Geach Book CoverThe full 19th century photograph is reproduced in the centre of the Trevithick Society’s reprint of ‘The History and Progress of Mining in the Liskeard and Caradon District’.

Click here to view on Amazon>

The Lodes of South Caradon Mine

Navsbooks>South Caradon Mine>LodesCopper Ore at South Caradon Mine

I can thank the St.Just Mines Research group for this blog’s drive to bring the old South Caradon Mine website back into life. For it was the opportunity of accompanying the group around the amazing landscape that is South Caradon that inspired me to finally get around to bringing the site back from the dead.  Now that the very enjoyable walk has been completed (thanks to the group for the invite, thanks to the sun for a lovely day), the blog will wander off in a few random directions to answer questions raised on the day; starting with the lodes.

The source of South Caradon’s wealth

These views in this post are taken from the footpath opposite the mine, and show the approximate location of the copper lodes on the surface as indicated on the 1863 Geological map and described by Webb and Geach. These sources differ in some details from  the closure plans and the description given in Dines.

Click to search for a copy of Dines on Amazon>

The views explained

The Lodes dip to the North (apart from Caunter) so their location underground will shift to the left of the pictures with depth. The view should help to visualize the relationship between the surface remains and the underlying ore lodes, if you disagree with my interpretation please feel free to leave a comment.

Red lines mark the location of the lodes as they strike Eastwards across the Seaton Valley and up the Slopes of Caradon Hill. The grey lines indicates the cross course running parallel to Valley and causing a small amount of Heave in the lodes as they cross its path. The names have been taken from the 1863 map apart from those marked with a question mark that I have taken from Webb and Geach.

The Northern Lodes

The South Caradon mine northern lodes

Main lode was the first of South Caradon’s lodes to be found and it formed the source for much of the ore in the mines earlier years.  The engine house remains of Sump and Pearce’s shaft lie beside this lode, with Pearce’s’ shaft sunk where it outcropped.
Towards the Northern boundary of the sett are a batch of Lodes that gave little success, unfortunately, the richness of the main lode was not to be repeated in this direction.

The Southern Lodes

South Caradon Mine Southern lodes

This view is to the south of the one above, and it shows the lodes that provided the ore for the latter part of the mine’s life.

This Southern group of lodes extend across the South slopes of the Hill to the Eastern boundary of the Sett and then onwards into the adjoining East Caradon mine.

Kitto’s and Caunter lodes provided the largest tonnage of the ore from South Caradon. The Eastern end of the workings was accessed from Kitto’s Shaft.


Geevor Mine Gift shop

Webb and Geach Book CoverMy two South Caradon Mine publications, The Last Great Cornish Engineer and the Re-print of Webb and Geach can be found for sale at the Geevor Shop book shop, along with a great range of Cornish Mining publications. This is one of the best places to find Cornish industrial history books. So if you are in the area, pop along, have a cup of tea, and browse the shelves.

Click here to visit Geevor’s webpage>

 

South Caradon Mine in 1885

Navsbooks>South Caradon Mine>History>1885

This post in the series on South Caradon Mine contains extracts from the Mining Journal in 1885, extracts that tell the sad tale of a dying Cornish Mine.

Pearce's Shaft and tree in 2018

The sales list of a once great Cornish mine

An attempt to breath new life into South Caradon by forming a limited company in 1883 had failed by 1885, when this article was published. The sale of the mine was advertised in the Mining Journal in September of that year. Within that notice was a list of equipment that provides an indication of the scale of machinery installed at the mine.

Extract From The Mining Journal September 1885

Sale of South Caradon Mine (Limited), Liskeard, Cornwall

Mr May is instructed by the directors of the South Caradon Mine (Limited) to offer for sale by auction in one lot, at the auction mart, Tokenhouse yard, in the city of London, on Wednesday, 9th September, 1885, at two in the afternoon precisely, the whole of the valuable mining plant, machinery and stores of the South Caradon Mine (Limited), all in good working order and including…..”

The following has been extracted from the remaining text of the sale notice and reproduced in a more readable form.


List of items for sale

Pumping Engines

  • 70″ with 3 boilers
  • 60″ with 3 boilers
  • 2 x 50″ with 5 boilers
  • 40″ with 2 boilers
  • 35″ with 1 boiler

Winding Engines

  • 24″ with 1 boiler
  • 2 x 22″ with two boilers

Dressing floor machinery

  • Stamp engine 30″ with one boiler
  • 24 head of stamps and crusher
  • 20 foot water wheel with stone breaker

Miscellaneous engines

  • Man Engine 23″ with one boiler
  • 14″ Horizontal with air compressor
  • 12″ engine with air compressor
  • 12″ with saw bench
  • 7″ with steam hammer

Fittings

  • 1000 fathoms pumps
  • 600 fathoms main rods
  • 500 fathoms air tubes
  • 800 fathoms wire rope
  • Over 3000 fathoms tram rails
  • 500 fathoms ladders

The list provides a snapshot of the infrastructure of South Caradon. Twelve pumping, winding, stamping and man engines are listed. The tramway lines total about 6 km, some of which was underground.

Waste tips at Holman's Shaft

The final days of South Caradon Mine

The mine had attempted to survive as a limited company but rising costs had made it unprofitable to continue. The vast network of underground workings required constant pumping to remain accessible and the falling cost of copper could not support the expense. The auction appears not to have success and in 1888 a rise in copper prices triggered a last unsuccessful attempt to re-open the mine.

The figures for 1885 show 3,436 tons of ore raised for an income of  £11,174  and the mine was employing 289 staff.

The sorry figures for 1886 are a meagre 83 tonnes produced by two surface workers. The great mine had died.

Silence of the pumps

The stopping of South Caradon’s pumps forced the neighboring mines to close. Interconnected underground, they could not win the battle against the rising water levels. It marked the end of an era in Cornwall, when an estimated 25% of the population emigrated as the result of the collapse of the mining industry.


1885 in perspective

Victoria was still Queen with her Prime minister changing from Gladstone to Robert Gascoyne.  This was the era of the “Scramble for Africa”, and abroad the UK was involved in the Mahdist War in the Sudan.

Click to search for books covering 1885 on Amazon>

 

Rule’s Shaft winding engine

Remains of a whim at South Caradon Mine

Rule's Shaft winding engine loadings

One of the most interesting, but least visually prominent of the South Caradon engine houses.

It housed a horizontal 22″ (or 24″) single cylinder engine, a type pioneered in Cornwall by William West.

Rule's Shaft winding engine loadings

The building has been demolished and stone robbed but its outline can still be identified.  A deep hollow to the east identifies the location of its boiler house. The chimney still stands behind the boiler house.

The prominent blocks of masonry are the granite loading for the winding gear. It does not however appear to line up with the shaft. The Brenton Symons map shows the engine as WE to the north of what is marked as “New Shaft”.

Click here for a map of the Holman’s/Rule’s engine house complex>

Brown and Acton state that the engine powered two drums fitted with clutches enabling both Rule’s and Holman’s shafts to be wound. The rubble to the right marks the site of the engine house


William West

wpid-screenshot_2015-08-21-17-43-45.png To learn more about William West read the Trevithick Society’s paperbook  “The Last Great Cornish Engineer“.

Click to search for copies of the Last Great Engineer on Amazon>

South Caradon Mine in 1843

Navsbooks>South Caradon Mine>History>1843

A Victorian Mine through Victorian eyes

As a bit of a break from the string of posts covering the engine houses at South Caradon, I have dipped into the old website and pulled out one of the contemporary reports, given it a bit of a freshen up, and added some new photographs. Hope you enjoy the read.


South Caradon Mine in 2018 taken from West Caradon
South Caradon Mine in 2018

“The prospects are exceedingly brilliant, and not surpassed by any other mine in Cornwall”

South Caradon Mine was on the up in 1843, a star of the British mining scene. This report from the mining commentator and share dealer J.Y Watson reflects its high status in the eyes of the industry.

A compendium of British Mining, Watson 1843

“In the parish of St Cleer near Liskeard was originally searched for tin, and when the lode was first discovered in Caradon Hill, and found to contain a quantity of gossan, it was considered so favourable to the existence of tin, that it was with difficulty a company was formed to work it; but the messrs. Clymo who has obtained the sett, persevered and three rich copper lodes were soon opened. The original outlay to the adventures before the mine made returns in August 1837 was only £327 8s 5d and from that time to the 31st March 1840 they sold copper ores to the amount of £15,635 10s 7d., paid all costs for machinery, including two steam engines and a whim; from that time to November, 1842 they have divided, altogether, a profit of £19,168 and are now receiving at the rate of £10,000 a year, with every prospect of greatly increasing the returns. Some mine agents have asserted that there is £150,000 worth of ore discovered in this mine; but be that as it may, the prospects are exceedingly brilliant, and not surpassed by any other mine in Cornwall. A great part of the workings are in Caradon Hill, which is 1,298 feet high. The monthly cost of working is about £18600”


This report was written at a time when the mine was growing,  but in a period when theMinerals in the South Caradon waste mines in the West of Cornwall had started to suffer. It had only been seven years since the Clymo’s had discovered the copper, and yet the figures being stated in this report are huge. It is no wonder the mine was being described in such superlatives as “exceedingly brilliant”.

Click to search for the book on Amazon>

The success of the mine was putting a strain on the local infrastructure. The roads proved incapable of providing the transport capacity required down to the port of Looe and a survey was commissioned in 1842 by a group of mine owners to build a railway from Caradon down to the Liskeard and Looe Canal. The route was surveyed by Robert Coad and the line was in operation by 1846.
This was a period of mass immigration of miners from the west of the Duchy. Over the next decade the population of many of the villages around was to double causing overcrowding and poor housing conditions. Drinking houses, brothels and makeshift miners camps allegedly grew up to serve the rapidly expanding workforce.

1843 was the year that the Clymo’s had started the lead mining boom in nearby Menheniot, with the launch of Wheal Trelawney.

Other events in 1843

To put the year in perspective.

  • Queen Victoria was on the throne
  • Robert Peel was Prime Minister
  • Marc Isambard Brunel’s Thames Tunnel, the first tunnel under the River Thames was opened
  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Britain was launched
    Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol was published

Click to search for the book on Amazon>

Holman’s Shaft Pumping Engine

Navsbooks>South Caradon>Views> Holman’s Shaft

Back westwards across Caradon Hill in this post to return to the group of buildings around Rule’s and Holman’s Shafts.

Holman's Shaft from the west

The ‘Man in the Mine’ at South Caradon

This is the most imposing engine house on South Caradon Mine; dominating Caradon Hill’s southern slopes with its massive bulk and its well known  “Man in the Mine” shaped collapse in its western wall. A feature that has recently changed shape after stabilization work. It now resembles a ‘Lady in bobble hat’.

Being built in 1875 this engine house is not shown by Symons in his 1863 map of the Liskeard Mining District.

Holman's Shaft bob wall
Holman’s shaft is situated on the southern slope of Caradon Hill mid-way along the line of the southern lodes. It is located close by the less well preserved remains of Rule’s shaft. Around the shaft is a complex of buildings, tracks, tramways, tips and tunnels. With a prominent location on the southern slopes of Caradon hill the tips and engine house can be seen for many miles across South East Cornwall.

The shaft is sometimes called New Engine Shaft, with Sump Shaft being the original engine shaft.

Click here for a map of the Holman’s/Rule’s engine house complex>

Holman’s engine house has walls still standing to full height although some collapse has occurred around the openings. A result of the collapse on the southern side is a hole the shape of which resembles the outline of a hatted man who has run through the wall! The shaft on the eastern sideHolman's engine House in 2002 of the building is choked with rubbish and is subsiding. On the opposite side is the substantial remains of the boiler house which is sunk below ground level. No chimney exists as it was believed to share the stack with the nearby Rules shaft. Beside the engine house can be seen the remains of a tramway and a track tunnel passing under the spoil tips.

The 70″ engine it housed was built new for the mine by Harvey and Co in 1875. It was installed as a result of the adjacent Rule’s Shaft engine being unable to keep pace with the extra drainage required of the expanding workings underground.
On closure of South Caradon it was bought by West Wheal Grenville where it was restarted in in 1888.


wp-1453408124105.jpegBrenton Symons’s 1863 Map is available on Kindle

The cover of the Kindle reproduction of the Victorian Map has Holman’s distinctive engine house silhouetted in the distance.

Click here to view on Amazon>

The South Caradon remains plotted

Before looking at the last set of engine house at the South Caradon Mine I have had quick diversion into maps, a diversion that gave me the opportunity to play on the OS maps online website

South Caradon Mine panorama

The South Caradon explored with Grid References

‘Minions- An archaeological survey of the Caradon Mining District‘ by Adam Sharpe without doubt is the definitive resource on the industrial archaeology of Caradon Area. And now that the OS Maps on-line website has arrived there is a wonderful opportunity for armchair archaeology. Type in the grid references in the book into the webpage search, pinpoint the site and then switch on the aerial layer- a great way to read the book.  To reduce some of the typing for the South Caradon mine here is a list of hyperlinks to the locations. Enjoy exploring.

Copies of the book are hard to come by, so grab one when you see it.
Click to search for the book on Amazon>

View across the Seaton Valley across Sump's shaft

Western Hillslopes

Holman's shaft seen from Kitto's shaft

Southern hill slopes

South Caradon mine dressing floor area looking north

Seaton Valley floor


A map of South Caradon Mine for Kindle

Extract of Brenton Symons' 1863 map showing South Caradon MineBrenton Symons’ 1863 map of the Liskeard mining district is reproduced in ‘The Liskeard Mining District in 1863’.

Click here to view on Amazon>

Kitto’s Shaft area in maps

Navsbooks>South Caradon>Maps>Kitto’s Shaft

South Caradon Mine’s most easterly shaft

The Caradon website resurrection has continues apace, this time looking at maps and views that cover the last three engine houses described.

Kitto's shaft area panorama
Kitto’s shaft area looking towards the Caradon Hill summit

Kitto’s shaft is South Caradon’s most easterly workings, lying close the boundary with East Caradon Mine. It is a collection of remains close to the car park at Tokenbury Corner that lie hidden behind extensive waste tips.

Although the engine houses are in a poor condition, none are standing more than a metre high, it is still a fascinating collection of remains. It is a historical set of remains as well, for this is the location of the last man engine installed in Cornwall.

Kitto’s Shaft area in 1883

OS map

Annotated OS 1883 map of Kitto's Shaft

In addition to the engine houses this map shows the tramway and leat layout. The tramways link the shaft with the tips, and also the dressing floor in the Seaton Valley. The leats  run westwards to supply the engine houses that lie across the slopes of Caradon Hill.

 

 

 

1 Pumping engine

2 Whim Engine

3 Tramway to dressing floors

4 Track from Tokenbury Corner

Click here to view the site on current OS open Maps>

Kitto’s Shaft area on Google Maps

KittosGoogle

The layout of the Kitto’s shaft area is clearly shown on Google Earth, as is the linear waste tips lying to the south.

Click to view the map on Google Maps>

KittoPanS


41f3tbQ+CnL._SL500_[1]History and progress of mining in the Liskeard and Caradon District

This re-print of the 1863 publication by Webb and Geach is an excellent companion to exploring the history of mining of the Caradon area. Ask your local bookshop to obtain a copy.

Click to search for the book on Amazon>

Kitto’s Shaft Winding engine

An elusive engine house site at South Caradon Mine

The site of Kitto's Shaft Winding engine

Only a short South Caradon Post this time, a short post because there is so little to see of this engine house.

This is last of the trio of engine houses at Kitto’s Shaft; and it is one easily missed when visiting the site. Kitto’s whim was located to the south of the more visible man engine remains. All that can be found there are are some grassed mounds and undulations. This engine has left even less remains than the piles of rubble that identify Jope’s Whim.

The whim was a 22″ beam engine which was sold when the man engine was installed at the shaft. Wheal Strawberry (St. Austell District) bought the engine in 1886.

KittowsWindVw

The lack of remains is probably the result of its house being demolished to provide stone for the man engine house.

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