King Edward Mine was acquired by the Camborne School of Mines in 1897, for educational use. The School took over the abandoned eastern part of the South Condurrow Mine around Engine Shaft.
Students at the Camborne School of Mines needed to spend much of their time doing practical mining and tin dressing work in the local tin mines. But the local mining industry was in terminal decline and the surviving mines did not have the funds to invest in modern machinery. The only way for the College to have a decent training facility was to have its own underground mine.
This meant that they could work William's Lode and the Great Flat Lode down to 400 feet from the surface. No pumping was necessary as all water in the mine drained into the Grenville mine which was then working to the south. Between 1897 and 1906 the King Edward mine was re-equipped with the best of Cornish mining and milling machinery. Engine Shaft and William's Shafts were re-equipped, the underground workings cleared. On the surface a modern full-scale tin dressing plant, survey office, workshops, and lecture rooms were constructed. The original Count House (mine offices) and changehouse facilities were retained. The mine was operated semi-commercially and produced tin, employing some 10-20 men in additional to the college teaching staff. Much of the production work was carried out by students.
The Mill at King Edward Mine was one of the first Cornish dressing plants to be designed from new, and was able to utilise Californian Stamps, vanners and shaking tables equipment.
The post-war slump in 1921 resulted in the closure of Wheal Grenville , which in turn meant that the King Edward Mine flooded. Mining operations for the Camborne School of Mines were transferred to the adjacent Great Condurrow Mine, to the north, which was above the natural drainage level. This underground facility is still used by the Camborne School of Mines to this day.
King Edward Mine is the oldest complete mining site left in Cornwall. Whilst designed for education purposes it demonstrates, on a small scale, all that would have been found on the best Cornish mine at the turn of the century. This has been recognised by English Heritage who have listed the whole site Grade II*. In mid-2000 the Trevithick Trust leased the "museum/mill" part of the site from the Camborne School of Mines. After major building repairs, funded by a European grant as part of the Mineral Tramways Project, the site was officially opened to the public on the 28th April 2002.
Edward Mine: An Illustrated Account of Underground and Surface Operations 1897-2001
King Edward Mine