Consolidated Mines, Carnon, Cornwall

Consolidated Mines, Carnon, Cornwall

Consolidated Mines in the Carnon Valley is usually just refereed to as "Consols" . This is a group of amalgamated mines on the southern side of the Carnon Valley just to the west of Bissoe. There have been both mines and stream workings in the Carnon Valley and the Carnon River was navigable up as far as Bissoe in the early 1600's.

The northern section of the Carnon Valley is called the Poldice Valley. Poldice along with North Downs, Wheal Busy and the Unity Wood Mines were the great copper producers. The introduction of the Newcomen engine in the early 1700's brought more copper mines, and there was a mine at Cusveth (Cusvey) in 1734. By the end of the 18th Century, there were at least 9 mines working here, they included, East Wheal Virgin, West Wheal Virgin, Wheal Girl, Wheal Maid, Wheal Fortune, Wheal Cusvey, Wheal Lovelace, Wheal Deebles and Wheal Wentworth. In about 1780 these were amalgamated to form Great Consolidated Mines.

Woolf's Shaft, built in 1826 and one of the deepest shafts of the area at over 300 fathoms deep. Its engine house housed a 90-inch cylinder pumping engine originally at Wheal Alfred in Gwinear.

By 1823 Colsolidated was rivalling Dolcoath for production, and until 1840 its copper ore tonnages were the largest in the world. John Taylor took over United Mines from the Williams family, but in 1839 he did not renew the leases, and both United and Consols were again in Williams hands.

Consols was amalgamated with United Mines in 1857 to form a new mining company known as 'Clifford Amalgamated Mines'. In 1858 the combined mines closed, by which time production had exceeded 442,000 tons of copper ore, which had sold for nearly £3 million, in less than forty years.

In 1861 a new Clifford Amalgamated was formed, consisting of Wheal Clifford, United and Consols mines. During the next eight years the group raised 105,000 tons of copper ore, which sold for over £473,000. It also sold black tin, blende, iron pyrites and arsenic.

The combined mines at their height employed over 3,000 workers. Production increased to include tungsten, zinc, lead-silver, iron and ochre. At its peak this area ran almost 20 engines on its mines, with some 80 miles of underground workings. The mines fell into decline with the fall in world metal prices, and finally closed in about 1870.

The central area of Consolidated Mines was a few remaining buildings, a clocktower, a large chimney and two ruined engine houses.

Carnon Valley Mines