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


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

The Last Great Cornish Engineer visits the Looe Literary Festival


Getting excited about this one, a chance to chat about William West and how the book evolved over a pint or two in a great Cornish setting. And perhaps answer the question

“what on earth is a navigator doing writing a book about an engineer?”

Looking forward to  seeing some of you there on Saturday.

William West-A Rapid Fire Biography

Navsbooks>William West>Biography

One week to go to the book launch, and the preps for the events continue, as well as my DIY course in wordpress. My talk at the museum will start with a very short, and rapid biography of the engineer. Here are my notes….One paragaph that answers the question: Who was William West of Tredenham?


Born 1801 at Dolcoath Mine, had a poor childhood and even poorer education. Had to go to work at a young age, and after trying unsuccessfully several jobs became recognised has having a natural engineering skill and found work in a fitting shop. From there his skills enabled him to advance rapidly and he worked for the most gifted Cornish engineer of the day, where he learnt much about achieving high performances from Cornish Beam Engines. He built a record breaking engine at Fowey Consols, introduced Cornish engines to London waterworks, produced several inventions and innovations and became very rich. His business empire expanded to include a foundry’s, mines, banks, quarries and a railway. William West died in 1879.

The Book Launch is at Liskeard. 13th September 2014
The launch starts at Liskeard Museum

And then moves down to the Book shop at Liskeard

The Last Great Cornish Engineer: William West of Tredenham

William West The Last Great Cornish Engineer

Navsbooks>William West>The Last Great Cornish Engineer

My latest book- The Last Great Cornish Engineer -William West of Tredenham-has just been published by the Trevithick Society. Launch is next week at Liskeard (13th September 2014). The day is going to more than just a glass of bubbly and a few signatures. I will be using the opportunity to spread the word a bit more about Mr. West, get a bit more recognition for this Cornish Engineer. So, over the next few posts as I prepare for the day I will tap away on this blog my speaker resources. They will not be in any order, but then neither will be the day!  Hope you find them of some use.

Phoenix 100- a book is born

The book’s birth came amongst the events surrounding the Caradon Hill Heritage Project’s Phoenix 100 events. These events celebrated  a visit made  on the 10th June 1909 by the Prince and Princess of Wales, the future King George V and Queen Mary, to Phoenix Mine. During the visit the Princess of Wales named and officially started what was to be the last large Cornish pumping engine designed, built and erected in Cornwall.

As part of these events the East Cornwall Branch of the Trevithick Society produced a timeline that told the fascinating interplay of mining and engineering history that lead to the production of the Prince of Wales Engine. One name kept cropping up, over and over again, during the research for that time line. William West of Tredenham. And so, once the festivities was over it was decided to run a series of events the following year based on the engineer’s achievements.

In 2010 exhibitions were staged at Liskeard Museum and Stuart House based on William West. The dismantling of the display stands at the end of the events were accompanied by many requests to -“leave something permanent” as a legacy, and from these requests came the idea of the book came about.

Click here to see the book on Amazon>