South Caradon Mine Dressing Floor Map

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

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South Caradon Mine's dressing floors

South Caradon Mine’s dressing floor

South Caradon Mine's dressing floor, looking south

The Dressing floor operation at South Caradon

This resurrection of the old South Caradon website is an excuse to bring back some of those basic paintbrush drawn .gifs of may years ago, (I loved Kawasaki green in those days), and also brush off my theory of the dressing floor material flow. Its a theory that seems to have survived the test of time. But off course if you have your own views on how the dressing floor operated, please leave a message.

floormap

The Seaton Valley housed the central dressing floors of South Caradon Mine, a complex of structures and buildings that has left  a confusing legacy of terraces, low walls and rubble. No definitive description of the function of the structures exist but it is possible to attempt an interpretation of the remains that will give an insight into the traditional processes involved in preparing copper ore for sale.

Copper ore  processing

dressingThe layout of a copper mines dressing floors  was greatly influenced by the properties of its main ore Charcopyrite. This ore tended to be hard and brittle with the unwanted property of easily breaking into a very fine powder. Tin mines traditionally operated by stamping all the ore and then classifying and concentrating the crushed rock through a series of physical processes using water. Such an approach applied to Copper ore would lead to large amounts of the ore being carried through the system as fine waste. Instead series of manual processing, sorting and picking operations were utilised, leaving stamping for only the most hardest of rocks.

Sorting the Ore

Hand sorting was fundamental in reducing the amount or rock to be processed and it was started even before the ore was brought to the surface, much of the waste being left underground. At the dressing floors the rock was sorted in four main types.

  • Deads: Containing no ore and was tipped in burrows
  • Prills: Pure ore that required no further processing
  • Drage: Ore mixed with gangue that required hand processing
  • Halvans: Low value ore that needed stamping before treatment

Processing the Drage

South Caradon Mine's dressing floors

It was this processing that gave a copper dressing floor its distinctive properties. Drage was dressed by a series of manually intensive tasks that took place in assorted lightly built structures crowded in valley bottoms. South Caradon used hundreds of employees to undertake this work, the majority of which were females called  Bal Maidens. The large shed and area around it was the focal point for this work and its foundation area and adjacent cobbled spalling floors can still be seen.
In the later period of the mine’s life Bucking and Jigging had been mechanized using a steam powered crusher and jigging machines in one of the sheds. The bucking mill was mounted powered by the

 

stamps steam engine, and was located in the building to the north of its flywheel.

Processing the Halvans

Halvans were treated like tin ore and the Halvans floor resembled a smaller version of a tin mine’s dressing floor. The rock was first crushed in the set of Cornish stamps before passing through a set of tanks and buddles to separate the denser ore from the gangue. Little remains of South Caradon’s 24 head of stamps, or its engine apart from the bank upon which it stood, some fragments of wood and the flywheel loadings.

Of the dressing floors only a small parts of some of the tanks remain exposed, the rest has been buried beneath landfill of alluvial deposits.

Flow of material through the dressing floorsscdress

I have taken the suggestions of  various publications  combined them with the photograph from the Neil Parkhouse collection ( as reproduced in Webb and Geach), and applied a  simplified Copper dressing model to arrive at this suggestion. Since the production of this diagram I have produced a map of the tramway network that supports and expands on this interpretation of the remains.

Two flows of raw material are shown in this diagram. Drage processing is in red and Halvan in white, some material is shown returning back from Jigging for re-bucking or stamping.

The Drage processing flow

Hand sorting, ragging, spalling, cobbing and possibly jigging were most likely carried out on the cobbled floor area and within the large shed. Bucking was probably a powered process using the crushing mill and jigging was also powered . I have therefore suggested that the lower shed was used for jigging, this being supported by the tramway layout.

The Halvan processing flow

The lower Seaton Valley area is described by CAU as being used for waste treatment. This is undoubtedly the Halvan floors, and old OS maps show what is probably buddles and tanks (trunks) in this area. The fines for this area would have been produced from by the stamps, and again the tramway layout supports this suggestion.This lower floor area has disappeared under tipped landfill and alluvial mud leaving little evidence.


Webb and Geach Book CoverThe Trevithick Society have reprinted Webb and Geach’s  ‘The History and Progress of Mining in the Liskeard and Caradon District’; a reprint that includes the fascinating Niel Parkhouse collection photograph.

Click here to view on Amazon>

Kitto’s Shaft Pumping Engine

The most easterly of South Caradon Mine’s shafts

The diversion of these posts into Man Engine related topics has left it at the easterly end of the South Caradon Sett, and so this is where it will resume its journey through the engine houses of this famous Cornish mine.

Kitto's Shaft at South Caradon Mine
Kitto’s Shaft looking East. The pumping engine is on the left.

This engine house is often overlooked by the many walkers that use the track from Tokenbury corner; its low remains hidden behind the tips upslope from the track.

The Shaft

The shaft was sunk as part of the mine’s extension eastwards across the southern slopes of Caradon Hill. An extension that followed the rich trio of long loads, including the famous South Caradon Caunter lode. This expansion occurred in 1862-64 after an extended lease was agreed with Rev. Norris.

The shaft was unusual in having three shafts, accessing three lodes, in three directions from one collar. NW, NNW, SE. This can be seen in Dr.Russ’s amazing model of underground Cornwall found on his facebook page. Abandoned Mine Models> 

Kitto’s shaft is best identified at 2:23 into the video.

The Engine

Like several engines on this mine, author’s disagree on its size. The Minions report and Kenneth Brown State 35″, but Webb and Geach state 32″. Either way it was not a particularly large engine.

The engine was located to the north of the shaft with its boiler house lying to the east. Only lower part of engine house remains, although substantial balance pit exists. The Chimney now only stands about 1 metre high.

Kitto's Shaft at South Caradon Mine
Kitto’s shaft looking north

Two sources of information to look out for

Exploring Cornish Mine’s Volume 2 is a great resource for anyone wishing to explore South Caradon Mine. It is written by Kenneth Brown and Bob Acton, but unfortunately is now out of print. The footnotes are well worth a read, for this is where Kenneth Brown’s technical and historical information can be found.
To find copies of the book on Amazon Click Here>

Copies of the Minions Archaeological Survey (by Adam Sharpe) are harder to find, it is worth trying Amazon once in a while though, just in case.

To find copies of the book on Amazon Click Here>

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>

Peace's Shaft engine house from the north

Images of Pearce’s Shaft at South Caradon Mine

A bright crisp winter Cornish day on Bodmin Moor

Peace's Shaft engine house from the north

Pearce’s shafts engine house is certainly unusual. The last post in the series explained the reasons for its distinctive profile; and this post is an excuse to share some photographs taken on a day of clear winter light in 2018.

Peace's engine house from the west

From across the Seaton valley the distinctive profile of the ruin is a prominent feature on the skyline.  The base of the stack is to the right of this view and the buttresses to the left.  The dip in the waste tips marks the flat-rod route.

The engine house in detail

The inside of Pearce's Shaft Engine House

Here, the jumble of tumbled granite masonry lie piled within the engine house walls/

Here, massive buttresses still stand, buttresses that have remained standing long after the bob wall they supported has succumbed to gravity and time.

PearcesboilersmallBeyond the engine house the

The buttress at Pearce's engine houseBeside the engine house the outline of the boiler house can be made out, and to the south, overlooking the farmland of South East Cornwall, is a well defined remains of the boiler pond.  Its sturdy reverted wall still in a good enough condition to hold water if its leat ran  again.

Pearce's Shaft engine pond

image


Click here to learn more about my Kindle publication “The Liskeard Mining District in 1863”

 

South Caradon Mine-The area around 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>