South Crofty Mine, Camborne, Cornwall

South Crofty Mine, Camborne, Cornwall

South Crofty Mine is mid-way betwen Camborne and Redruth at Pool in Cornwall. It was first mined as a small sett called Penhellick Vean in the 1590's, and became South Wheal Crofty in 1854. Initially as most of the mines here, it was a shallow tin mine and then a copper mine. The mine switched to the deep tin zone from the 1860's onwards. From the 1890's onwards the mine acquired other setts as the surrounding mines closed, including New Cook's Kitchen Mine, Tincroft & Carn Brea, North Roskear, South Roskear and Dolcoath Mine in 1930, to become a huge underground mine spanning nearly 4.5 km across. The workings reached almost 3000 feet in depth.

The mine was worked for tin, arsenic and tungsten during the early 20th century, but by 1960 tin was the sole product. When it closed in 1998 it had been producing for 400 years of almost continuous work. It still posesses significant reserves.

1680s Penhellick Vean and Tyn Croft - the forerunners of South Crofty are first mentioned in the historical records.

1730s Newcomen engines were introduced to the mine.

1740s Cooks Kitchen Mine was started.

1787 The Great Copper Slump caused many Cornish mines to shut for about a decade.

1822 The sett of East Wheal Crofty recorded.

1850s The former large sett of East Wheal Crofty was sub-divided into North Wheal Crofty and South Wheal Crofty.

1859 A 'man engine' was installed on Dunkin's shaft at Cook's Kitchen, followed by the sale of part of the South Wheal Crofty sett in 1861. The capital from the sale funded the construction of Palmer's pumping Engine house near the boundary with the neighbouring East Pool sett.

1872 The sett of Cook's Kitchen on the western boundary with Dolcoath is subdivided into the northern New Cook's Kitchen sett with the southern half remaining as Cook's Kitchen sett.

1895 Cook's Kitchen Mine is sold to Tincroft mines with Tincroft and Carn Brea Mines amalgamating the following year.

1899 The new company purchased New Cook's Kitchen sett and pumping recommenced.

1901 The sinking of Robinson's shaft began followed by construction of Robinson's pumping engine house by 1903.

1906 The former 'South Wheal Crofty' company becomes 'South Crofty Limited' in July. 1907 The shaft at New Cook's Kitchen commenced sinking with a modernisation of the stamps and mill areas the following year.

1914-1918 World War One causes an increased demand for tin copper and other metals.

1921 The post war slump caused the neighbouring mines at Dolcoath, Carn Brea and Tincroft to close. A large collapse of rock underground blocked both shafts at the neighbouring East Pool Mine. With no pumping occuring in the neighbouring setts parts of South Crofty mine began flooding. So in 1922 South Crofty had to purchase the 90 inch pumping engine formerly at Fortescue's shaft at Wheal Grenville.

1922-27 Taylor's shaft at East Pool was constructed and commissioned as well as other shafts at New Tolgus and New Roskear.

1936 The large sett of Dolcoath to the west was purchased. Considerably increasing the size of the mine.

1985 Price of Tin crashes causing unemployment and hardship all through the Cornish mining industry.

March 6th 1998 Closure of South Crofty. South Crofty was the last working tin mine in Cornwall. South Crofty did not actually mine the Great Flat Lode but mines the lodes to the north of Carn Brea.

2001 reopened by Baseresult Ltd as New Cook's Kitchen Mine and then abandoned. Although flooded to adit level (~140 feet) Baseresult intended to restart it as a working mine. A section of the workings above adit, on North Tincroft Lode, were in 2003 been opened for tourist visits with access from the Tuckingmill Decline. This quote from their South Crofty website

"The underground tour starts at the portal of the Tuckingmill decline. This 5m by 3m inclined tunnel was excavated during the mid 1980’s and was intended to be the main mine access. The upper sections which pass through poor ground close to surface contain steel arches for support. 50m down from the portal on the right-hand side is the connectiion to Eastern Valley Shaft which was part of the famous Dolcoath Mine. The decline was driven approximately 600m from surface and in 1988 all work stopped, only the top 250m is accessible above the water level. At a point 200m from the portal, access has been gained to the series of parallel stopes which belong to the North Tincroft Lode, sections of these are very old, late 1600’s but the last major period of working dates from the early 1900’s to the 1940’s. Traditional open shrink stoping has been employed and pillars left for support, this has given rise to some very large voids. The maximum depth below surface that you will reach on the tour is about 150 feet (45m)."

Crofty Tin make jewellry from South Crofty Tin

South Crofty Mine appears to be the present owners web site, but does not have much up to date news.

The Wheal of Hope: A Tribute to Cornish Tin Mining
James Crowden, George Wright (Photographer)

History of South Crofty Mine
J.A. Buckley

 

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Camborne Mines