Cobbled flooring at South Caradon Mine

South Caradon Dressing Sheds

Navsbooks>South Caradon Mine>Maps>Dressing Sheds

The dressing shed floors in 2018

Another one of the gaps in the South Caradon Mine’s views posts has been closed with this post. It has been slightly delayed in being published whilst I was distracted into pulling together all this series into a more cohesive resource. So if you are interested in finding more about South Caradon have a look at its updated index page, and use the ‘breadcrumb’ navigation at the top of each post to help find your way around. Meanwhile, its back to the views….

The Bal Maidens workplace

In front of  the main adit  can be seen the remains of one of the many  buildings that jostled for room on the flat space of the valley floor. Within this building  much of the processing of the copper ore would have been undertaken.

The role of the shed

Copper ore dressing was mainly a series of manual tasks requiring large numbers of people. The rock was broken down in size and the ore sorted the ore from the waste by hand.This hand processing was a feature of copper mining and was a result of the nature of copper ores which tended to break in a fine powder if crushed.

Click for information on the dressing process at South Caradon>

Click for a map of the dressing floor>

The dressing shed in 1880

A rare surviving example of dressing floors cobbled flooring

Cobbled flooring at South Caradon Mine

This is one of the gems of the South Caradon’s remains; a feature closely associated with copper ore dressing.

The flooring

On the valley floor below and down stream of the Yard can be seen some  cobbled flooring. These cobbles are the remains of the large main processing shed, of which some of the northern walls still remain.

Towards the Count House site another level of cobbled flooring exists. This coincides with the structure shown below. Possibly a sorting floor or where spalling was undertaken.


Webb and Geach Book CoverThe full 1880 photograph of the South Caradon Mine is re-produced in the ‘History and Progress of Mining in the Liskeard and Caradon Distict’, a paperback printed by the Trevithick Society.

Click here to find the book on Amazon>

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South Caradon Mine Dressing Floor Map

Navsbooks>South Caradon>Maps>Dressing Floor

The last post of the series brought back the maps from my original website that showed the processes and structures within the South Caradon Mine dressing floor. This  post follows on from those maps with a reproduction of an Ordnance Survey 1885 map of the area, a map that I have magnified as much as the image quality allows.

A map of the Seaton Valley in 1883

An extract from the OS 1885 map showing the Caradon Mine dressing floor
OS 25″ Map 1885

This map was published in the year of the mine’s closure, it therefore shows the dressing floors in their final layout.

Key features shown

  • Donkey Pond- 2334South Caradon Mine's dressing floors
  • The yard-2335
  • The large shed- The coffin shape structure to the west of the yard
  • The count house- Structure north of 2336
  • The stamps and crusher- Structure south of 2336
  • The Halvan floors-The various circles and rectangles in the southern part of the map

More Maps

The Man engine returns to Cornwall

The Man Engine drinks

Cornish Mining Heritage inspiring the future

A brief pause in the South Caradon Mine posts; but a pause that is justified, and a pause that is relevant. 

Last weekend I had the chance of sharing the experience of seeing Will Colman’s amazing Man Engine puppet resurrect itself  above a soggy field at the Cornwall Show ground. It was an experience I shared with thousands of other hardy onlookers, one of which was my young grandson. It was an experience he would never forget, and that was surely the aim of all the event.

A reflection on the show

This showmanship, with its mixture of awe, Cornish humor,  facts, and a hint of fear The Man Engine Resurrection Tourforged a link in his memory with the now, and the past. A link that maybe would inspire him to explore the past, and the landscape around him.

Far more importantly though, the razzmatazz on that rain sodden field would give him, and all the other children in the field an alternative view of the future.

Cornwall was in the past was a place of invention, engineering and  industry. Great engineers and engineering came from the land west of the Tamar.  And today, the mineral wealth beneath the feet of the crowds watching the man engine is calling investors, calling skills, calling speculators. Drilling rigs are working across Cornwall, The Man Engine and St.Piran's flagand pumps are about to start removing the water that fill long silent levels and shafts.

So perhaps, just perhaps, some of those younger members of the crowd in that wet field will grow up with more options to find work in their home country than their parents. And perhaps, the man engine would have played a part in inspiring some of them to become engineers- this country needs its engineers back.

The real man engine and William West

William West (The Last Great Cornish Engineer) played an important role in the W50development of the original man engine.  One of my earlier posts in this blog tells that story.

South Caradon Mine was the site of one of his engines, I have some pictures of the site on the page on Jope’s Shaft.

My next post in this series will explore the location of the other shaft associated with a man engine, Kitto’s shaft.


 

image

The Last Great Cornish Engineer

To learn more about William West of Tredenham, the inventor of the man engine, have a read of The Last Great Cornish Engineer– a paperback published by the Trevithick Society.

Click here to find a copy on Amazon>

Or ask at your local independent bookstore.

Rule’s Shaft Pumping Engine at South Caradon Mine

Rule's engine house at South Caradon mine

The resurrection of the ‘Views of South Caradon’ website now moves out of the Seaton Valley to the engine houses that lie on the southern slopes of Caradon Hill.

The Ruin of Rule’s Engine House

This engine house is a stark contrast to its nearby neighbor at Holman’s shaft. Whilst Holman’s massive house dominates the southern slopes of Caradon Hill, Rule’s has only one corner standing to full height, the remainder being no more than a pile of rubble.

Rules Engine House at South Caradon Mine

A military exercise was the probable cause of the transformation of this Cornish engine house into collapsed ruins.  It originally housed a 40″ engine (Kenneth Brown), which proved to be insufficient to pump the mine as it expanded eastwards, and therefore was supplemented by its larger neighbor. The engine at Rule’s was installed in 1863 as a result of the mine extending its workings eastwards, away from its original focus in the Seaton Valley.  The engine was originally working at South Garras Mine, near Truro. Webb and Geach state that the engine was 60″.

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

Rule’s ruined condition makes it a challenge to determine its layout; its shaft was on the eastern side, and its boiler house to the north. These boilers may have shared a chimney with Holman’s shaft boilers.


41f3tbQ+CnL._SL500_[1]As seen on the Cover of the Trevithick Society’s re-print of ‘Webb and Geach’

South Caradon’s Rule’s shaft engine house the ruins adorns the cover of ‘History and Progress of Mining in the Liskeard and Caradon District’.

Click here to find the paperback on Amazon>

Jope’s Shaft- The maps

The area around South Caradon Mine’s Jope’s shaft in maps and images

Jope's shaft seen from the west

The rescuing of the old ‘Views of South Caradon’ website has just gained an additional purpose . I will be assisting a mining history group interpret this amazing Cornish mining landscape in a couple months time, so this posts will build towards a resource for their visit.

Jope’s shaft is a fascinating little corner of South Caradon Mine. It is South Caradon’s most westerly shaft on the rich-long run of southern lodes, located on the eastern slopes of the valley at the bottom end of the Seaton Coombe.

The shaft can boast having the most complete engine house structure on the mine, despite of its cloak of Ivy. However, it also possess one of least well preserved engine houses, no more than a mere pile of masonry hidden among the trees.

This is shaft with some historic remains, for this is where William West built the last man engine in Cornwall. It is also where he may have built one of the rare examples of a Sim’s compound engine.

Jope’s Shaft in Maps

Jope’s Shaft area in 1863

Jope's Shaft in 1863

This extract of Brenton Symons’s 1863 map shows the pumping house as P.E and whim engine as W.E. Lodes are shown by the red lines and the cross-course by light grey. The shaft is shown sunk pm Jope’s Lode, close west of the cross-course.

The ‘View of South Caradon map’
jopemap

Not the most cartographic accurate map I know, and the style is definitely leaning towards the ‘simplistic’, but this map rescued from my now long-dead  website shows well the features around the shaft. One omission is the possible site of a steam capstan engine on the shaft side of the boiler house.

Ordnance Survey 2018

The 2018 map shows the engine house, boiler house, and magazine; it does not however show the chimney and remains of winding engine house.

Click here for full map>

JopesOS

Google Air

The engine house and stack are clear, but the whim/man engine and the linking trench are hidden beneath the line of trees.

1886 OS Map

Cornwall XXVIII.SW (includes: St Cleer.) Surveyed: 1881 to 1882
Published: 1886

The National Library of Scotland have an excellent version of this map on-line. But, unfortunately due to copyright restrictions this cannot be re-produced here.

Click here to view map> 

Some structures in the area

The Magazine

This small structure lies to the north-east of the engine house. It would have housed the gunpowder required by the miners for blasting.

Powder Magazine at Jope's Shaft

The steam Capstan

Jope's shaft steam Capstan

On the south side of the boiler house are some loadings and a pit that may have been associated with some sort of machinery. The Minions Survey suggests that this may have been the site of a small steam capstan. If so, this is another link with William West, who introduced the use of steam capstans in Devon and Cornwall. This part of the remains has undergone some changes as part of the Caradon Hill project building stabilization work.


wp-1453408124105.jpegA Victorian Map of the area

Brenton Symons’s 1863 map of the Liskeard mining district is available in Kindle Format, and it is free for those with Kindle Unlimited.

Click here to visit the book’s page on Amazon>

Jope’s Shaft-Winding and Man-engine

The site of the last man engine in Cornwall

Whilst Jope’s pumping engine house is the best preserved one on South Caradon mine, its whim engine house is he worst; merely a pile of rubble hidden beneath the trees. This engine was adapted  by William West to drive one of his man engines, a man engine that would be last last built in Cornwall.

Jope's Shaft whim engine

The 24″ winding engine lay to the south east of the shaft, its site now marked by moss covered masonry rubble, the largest pile marking the site of the chimney.  The whim engine was installed in 1864.

On the north eastern side of the engine house can be found the most interesting feature of the engine house, the loadings for the whim, and later the man engine. From these loadings a trench can traced up to the angle bob pit at the edge of the shaft. Along this trench ran the drive rod for the man engine that West installed here in 1872. The man engine was powered by the whim engine, which have also continued to be used for winding between shift changes. The man engine moved to the eastern part of the set at Kitto’s shaft in 1882-3.

The man engine trench

The design of man engine installed here was the single rod type, a design first introduced by William West at Fowey Consols in 1852.


 William Last the Great Cornish Engineer

wpid-wp-1415226867597.jpegThe fascinating story of William West of Tredenham is told in this paperback published by the Trevithick Society.

Click here to find on Amazon>

South Caradon Mine-The area around Sump Shaft

Navsbooks>South Caradon Mine>Maps>Sump Shaft

This post looks at the area of the two engine houses described so far in the series, those of Sump Shaft. It uses the map from my original website, then adds a few more from the resources now available online.

South Caradon Mine Sump Shaft in the snow

Sump shaft is the deepest on the mine and was sometimes called Engine shaft. Around it lies a complex of buildings that include a winding engine, pump engine, capstan engine and an explosives magazine.

The expanse of dumps below the buildings give a clue to the far larger scale of construction that lay below the ground, out of sight.
The shaft at 250 fathoms deep formed the lowest point of the mine and the point to which water drained, the sump. This hole in the ground extends 1500 ft below the level of the valley floor in modern measurements this is 457 metres, almost half a kilometre!
Caradon Hill itself only rises 371 meters above sea level, and Sump shaft is almost four times as deep as the height between the valley floor and the hill’s summit.

The Sump Shaft area in Maps

Layout of structures at Sump Shaft

South Caradon Mine Sump shaft area map
The layout of the buildings around Sump Shaft

This is a complex area of remains containing the structures associated with the extraction of ores from the Northern lodes. The winding engine at Sump shaft provided the power to wind at Pearce’s through a set of flat rods.

This map was resurrected from the old TeamManley website, along with some minor typo’s. As of yet I have not managed to find an easy way of re-editing, so sometime in the future it will be updated with a replacement version.

More information on the structures shown on the map

Sump Shaft as shown by the OS in 1906

South Caradon Mine Sump Shaft area in 1906
Extract From the Ordnance Survey 25″ 1906 Map

This map shows the Sump shaft area in 1906, the buildings have lost there roofs, but the outlines are clearly shown.  The full map can be seen on the excellent National Library of Scotland Website.

Sump Shaft from the air

South Caradon Sump Shaft area in google Earth
Google Earth view of Sump Shaft

This Google Earth view was captured from Google Maps in 2017. The outline of the pumping engine house is seen in the top left quadrant, with the stump of the chimney clearly visible. The winding house chimney is to the right of the center. The prominent chimney, casting a long shadow is that of the capstan engine.

The mine in 2017

OS map of South Caradon Mine Sump shaft
OS Map of the Sump Shaft area in 2017

OS Maps online was used to obtain this screen shot. The Grid Ref cross hair sits above the centre of Sump Shaft.

Next in this series of posts on South Caradon Mine will be the distinctive Structure of Pearce’s Shaft.


OS Explorer Map of Bodmin Moor

Map number 109 is the best map available to explore the area of South Caradon Mine.

Click here to find the map on Amazon>