Tolgus Calciner, Cornwall

Tolgus Calciner

The Tolgus Calciner Site is to the north of Redruth on the New Portreath Road, beside the river, which flows into the sea at Portreath. Records from the sixteenth century show tin mines and alluvial works between the top end of Redruth and the Tolgus site, and throughout the nineteenth century both sides of the valley were occupied by stream works which recovered tin from the 'tailings' or waste from the tin works.

Richard Thomas's survey of the Manor of Tolgus of 1818/1819 shows stamping mills at each end of the present site as well as a burning house to the centre with a stack to the west.

In the nineteenth century the northern part of the Tolgus site was occupied by a stream works which was still apparently operating in the early 20th century.

The chimney stack at the top of the hill, to the west of the site, has the date 1933 on it. This is about the date of the present calciner's construction. The condensing chambers are on the hillside above the calciner. All of these features are a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Nothing is known of the production from this site and it may be, like sites such as Botallack Mine (early 20th century operations), that it never sold any arsenic soot although the presence of condensing chambers implies that it was collected. Certainly the Brunton calciner used is a high-capacity piece of equipment, but its main use may have been just to improve the quality the ore - that is just to remove arsenic.

A photograph of the Tolgus Calciner Site, taken by J. Rhodes of the Geological Survey in August 1945, shows the calciner as part of a fairly large tin streaming operation. Water wheels and buddles plus the condensing chambers and chimney stack can also be seen above the calciner. The site was abandoned sometime after this but it is not known when, the records of this site are very poor.

Mines in Redruth Area, Cornwall