Kit Hill United Mines

Kit Hill United Mine

Kit Hill United Mines (incl. Kit Hill; Kit Hill Great Consols; East Kit Hill; South Kit Hill (Cornwall Great Consols)). Kit Hill is rich in tin, copper, arsenic and wolfram and has long been worked for all these minerals and for granite. The development of granite working techniques can be traced from simple stone splitting pits to the large quarry on the northern slopes, while tin working progressed from surface exploitation to deep shaft mining. The Duke of Cornwall, gave the hill to the county in 1985 and it is now a country park.

In the 15th and 16th Centuries tin lodes were dug from the surface by long narrow open works and closely spaced pits. By the 18th Century men were working underground and adit mines are scattered all over the Hill.

The first machinery here was a windmill in the 1830s when the shaft was sunk 30 fathoms. The main reworking commenced in 1852 under the name Kit Hill United and used a 30-inch beam engine. It wound from two shafts, pumped from two shafts by flat-rods and also worked the stamps.

South Kit Hill Mine, opened in 1856, reached a maximum depth of over 100m. Around the chimney are the remains of the engine house, with its flywheel slots and six circular 'buddles' where crushed rock was stirred to separate heavy tin ore from waste 'tailings'.

The ornate summit chimney, built in 1858 for the Kit Hill Great Consols / Kit Hill United mining complex, is a famous landmark. It stands on a pentagonal earthwork, which is thought to have been an 18th century folly. The chimney served a steam engine that pumped water and lifted ore from the deep mine workings, replacing a windmill that stood here in the 1830s. A flue, which carried the arsenical fumes, is crossed on the approach to the main mine shafts.

The large shaft here, North Engine Shaft or Old Crumbly, is over 200 metres deep. The smaller shafts, now protected by fencing, were used for ventilation and prospecting.

In 1864 the cylinder split due to overwork and the mine closed. Sporadic mining took place until 1881 when the sett was worked as Kit Hill Consols. A 30-inch rotative engine from the Bedford Foundry was installed on the summit in an engine house with a low hipped roof similar to that at Hingston Downs.

Mining ceased in 1884, the hardness of the granite appearing to me the main problem.

Exploited for Cassiterite and Wolframite as late as the first world war, the hill has been mapped and is said to contain up to 1000 shafts, pits and other trials for minerals. One of the final trials was the Excelsior mine tunnel.

East Kit Hill Mine

Little is known about this mine; it worked in the early 1850s but closed in 1856 and reopened in 1870. The ruined engine house and stack are thought to have worked Cornish stamps for crushing ore. The mine produced some tin, arsenic and tungsten.

Trevithick Society, Kit Hill Consols

Callington Mines