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 forged 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, and 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 development 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.
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.