United Pentecost Service to be held at Gwennap Pit

The famous preaching pit at Busveal near Redruth is to host a major service for Christians on 12th June, which is being organised by Churches Together in Cornwall.Gwennap Pit, Busveal - Barry Gamble © Cornwall Council

     It is anticipated that around 1,000 will attend to hear the Bishop of Truro the Rt Rev Tim Thornton along with choirs and youth singers. There will also be an exhibition in Busveal Chapel, adjoining Gwennap Pit, which will mark the 400th anniversary of the introduction of the King James Bible.

     Gwennap Pit is part of the Gwennap Mining District area of the World Heritage Site due to the importance of the Methodist faith to the thousands of mineworkers who lived in the district and surrounding areas through the latter eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

     For details of the June service or general information concerning the pit, please call 07974 259806, and for the latter, please log on to:    







Enjoy free afternoon entry to East Pool Mine

On Tuesday, May 10, visitors can gain free entry to the National Trust’s East Pool Mine, near Redruth.  

     The free afternoon is part of the site’s relaunch celebrations, which also includes an invite-only event during the morning of May 10 for local businesses and benefactors. From 2pm, visitors will be able to take a sneak peek at the new family-friendly activities and displays.Michell's Whim Engine, East Pool Mine - Barry Gamble © Cornwall Council

     Recent additions to the visitor experience include interactive models for adults and children alike, new informative display boards and audio archive material. Megan Westley, Engagement and Promotion Officer, is looking forward to showing off the site: ‘The new interpretation means that East Pool can offer much more for everyone coming to visit, including families. Our visitors have always enjoyed talking to and learning from our guides, and now there are more ways to get a real, hands-on experience and put into practice what’s been learned. It’s a fun and friendly way of getting to grips with heritage.’

     The new interpretation has been funded by a European Union and Defra grant through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). They are part of the Discover the Extraordinary Project, a three year programme of investments across Cornwall and Devon developed by the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Office to enhance the visitor experience in the World Heritage Site. The RDPE funding has been awarded through the Sustainable Rural Tourism theme, managed by the South West RDA, which aims to assist the growth of environmentally sustainable tourism in rural areas.

     To find out more about East Pool Mine visit: or telephone 01209 315027.

     The site is open on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, 11am-5pm. Free parking and an entrance
route to the site are located in Morrisons’ car park.



President of the Cornish American Heritage Society visits the

World Heritage Site

In September the World Heritage Site office in Truro received a welcome visit from Tommi O’Hagan, serving President of the Cornish American Heritage Society.

          While today a resident of Font du Lac in Wisconsin, Tommi’s roots lie in Cornwall. Her grandfather Reuben Knight Tom, born in 1859, left Tywardreath with his family in 1865 at a time when the local copper mining fortunes of the area were in steep decline. Until theTommi O'Hagan (left) and Deborah Boden at the World Heritage Site office, Truro - Karen Willows © Cornwall Council later 1860s the deep productive copper mines Fowey Consols and Par Consols, around Par Bay, had employed many hundreds, both in winning the valuable ore and processing it at surface. Reuben would have been one of many who relocated at this time to seek new work and was to travel extensively when in the United States. He was later to become a mine captain working in northern Michigan, Ely Minnesota, and Ely, Nevada.

          Tommi came to the office after very kindly offering to transport World Heritage Site promotional material back to the States for the 18th Annual Cornish Festival which took place at Mineral Point Wisconsin from the 24th to the 26th September. Tommi met with Deborah Boden, World Heritage Site Co-ordinator (pictured right), and Karen Willows, Office Administrator, and was delighted to learn of the work of the Truro based team.

For further information concerning the Annual Cornish Festival please log on to: 


New winder & compressor houses at King Edward Mine, Troon

King Edward Mine has recently seen the completion of the new winder and compressor houses which replace the originalThe entrance sign for King Edward Mine, Troon - Ainsley Cocks © Cornwall Council buildings destroyed by fire in 1957.

         Gloweth Construction of Truro have been undertaking the rebuild and the result has been very well received. Expertly constructed in the original Edwardian style, in keeping with the remainder of the Grade II* Listed site, the buildings will permanently house the Holman Brothers’ horizontal steam winder, installed there by 1908, and the site’s Harvey’s Foundry air compressor.

          The works are the result of funding made available through the World Heritage Site’s ‘Discover the Extraordinary’ (DtE) project which is delivering major improvements to visitor facilities and interpretation at mining heritage attractions across the Site. The DtE project is using European Union and DEFRA grant aid obtained through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) as part of a three-year project with a total spend of £2.5 million. 

          The new winder and compressor houses on the mine - Ainsley Cocks © Cornwall Council

          King Edward Mine’s expert volunteer staff and the DtE team organised an inauguration event to celebrate the completion of site works on Monday 16th August. Councillor Alec Robertson, Leader of Cornwall Council, performed the official opening, following speeches of thanks by Tony Brooks (King Edward Mine) and Deborah Boden (Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Co-ordinator) in the company of an invited audience.

For more information of King Edward Mine and details of visiting, please log-on to:


HRH The Duke of Kent visits Geevor Tin Mine in Pendeen

HRH the Duke of Kent visited Geevor Tin Mine, Pendeen on Monday 26 July where he unveiled a plaque to commemorate the conferral of Cornish Mining World Heritage Site “Key Centre” status.

          The Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape, comprising ten distinct former mining areas, was awarded World HeritageHRH The Duke of Kent unveils Geevor Tin Mine's Key Centre plaque - Ainsley Cocks © Cornwall Council status in 2006. Geevor Tin Mine is at the heart of one of these districts - the St Just Mining Area – and it has been recognised as World Heritage Site “Key Centre” after a rigorous assessment of the quality of its visitor facilities and displays.

          During a tour of the mine the Duke visited the new World Heritage Interpretation and Orientation rooms with new interpretation panels explaining the significance of the Cornwall and west Devon Mining Landscape.

          The interpretation panels and information have been funded by a European Union and Defra grant through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). It is part of the Discover the Extraordinary Project, a three year programme of investments across Cornwall and Devon developed by the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Office to enhance the visitor experience in the World Heritage Site.

          The RDPE funding has been awarded through the Sustainable Rural Tourism theme, managed by the South West RDA, which aims to assist the growth of environmentally sustainable tourism in rural areas. Leach Colour produced the interpretation panels, following extensive research by staff at Geevor Tin Mine.

          HRH The Duke of Kent is introduced to Cllr Julian German at Geevor Tin Mine - Ainsley Cocks © Cornwall CouncilHis Royal Highness was met by Lady Mary Holborow, DCVO, Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall who introduced him to Councillor Dave Stevens, Mayor of St Just and his wife Mrs Dot Stevens; Mrs Elaine Baker, Town Clerk of St Just Town Council; Cornwall Council cabinet member for Historic Environment Julian German; Mr William Lakin, Chair of Trustees, Pendeen Heritage Community Trust and Mr Michael Simpson, Site Manager at Geevor Tin Mine.

          Within the World Heritage orientation rooms, Mr Lakin introduced HRH to World Heritage Site Co-ordinator Deborah Boden who explained the Heritage Centre and its links with the World Heritage Site.

          After an informal reception in the Exhibition Gallery where His Royal Highness met invited guests, the Duke was invited to unveil a commemorative plaque conferring World Heritage Site Key Centre status on Geevor Tin Mine.

          Cornwall Council cabinet member for the Environment, Cllr Julian German, said: “I congratulate the staff and volunteers at Geevor Tin Mine on this important achievement. World Heritage Site status requires us to provide a high level of care for our internationally important landscape asset, whilst at the same time attracting more people in to learn about and enjoy our world-changing mining culture.

          Ours is a complex World Heritage Site, the largest in mainland UK, but its dispersed and diverse nature offers unique tourismHRH The Duke of Kent tours Geevor Tin Mine's Hard Rock Museum - Ainsley Cocks © Cornwall Council opportunities – many places for the visitor to engage with it, and across these a variety that offers something for everyone, whatever their interests.

          High quality visitor attractions such as Geevor Tine Mine are vital in presenting the World Heritage Site themes to the new audiences we are reaching out to. They have to deliver high standards if we are to meet the high expectations that people have of World Heritage Sites.

          For this reason the World Heritage Site Office has been working with a consortium of attractions, the Cornish Mining Attractions Marketing Association, in creating the Discover the Extraordinary programme to improve standards of interpretation, visitor care and joint promotion. The concept of Key Centres is a principal element of this integrated approach – a small group of attractions that meet a range of challenging criteria and have passed a rigorous assessment process to ensure the highest quality of experience for the visitor”.

Funding for the World Heritage Site interpretation has been provided by the Rural Development Programme for England

For further information on Geevor Tin Mine please see the website:



Countdown to opening at Heartlands

The Robinson's Shaft Engine and headframe at South Crofty Mine, the centre of Heartlands - Ainsley Cocks © Cornwall CouncilThe Robinson’s Shaft site at the former South Crofty Mine in Pool was the centre of a major media launch on Friday 23rd July marking the commencement of work to construct a new urban park with a significant mining heritage focus.

          The Heartlands project will create a major green space for the village of Pool while consolidating the hugely significant Robinson’s Shaft Engine and associated complex of buildings.

          Constructed at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Robinson’s Shaft site retains its 80 inch cylinder steam pumping engine, built by Sandys Vivian and Co, Hayle, in 1854, and which last worked in May 1955. Put into mothballs at this time, the Robinson’s Engine was to be the last Cornish pumping engine to work at a metal mine and was 101 years of age when decommissioned. The Heartlands project will renovate the engine and also enable this important piece of Cornish industrial heritage to be put in motion once more.

Crowds celebrate the commencement of works at Heartlands - Ainsley Cocks © Cornwall Council          Musicians, dancers and other performers were on hand to help celebrate the event which included the “Great Heartlands Balloon Race” where over 800 balloons were released. Each of these came with an individual "Hope for Heartlands" message from the many students who have been involved in the Heartlands project to date and a prize is being offered for the balloon furthest travelled.         

Work on the Heartlands project is due to be completed later in 2011 and to find out more please see the Heartlands website:




William West Reflections – Photographic competition and exhibition

The four winners of the William West Reflections photo competition at Liskeard - Ainsley Cocks © Cornwall Council

The call for entries for the recent William West Reflections photographic competition brought forth considerable interest from members of the public with each taking a particular inspired view of the varied mining landscapes in the Liskeard area.

          Organised to coincide with the William West Exhibition, celebrating the life of the great nineteenth century Cornish engineer and currently being held at Liskeard Museum, the competition was open to all with the goal being to build up a collection of images that will inspire the public and form an archive for the future.

          The entry categories were Photographic, for film cameras, and Digital Enhanced, for digital images post-processed using computer software. In addition the "Rob Frost" prize was offered to younger photographers under the age of 18 who fancied trying their luck.

          Organised by Cheryl and John Manley of the Trevithick Society and held at Stuart House, Liskeard, the competition produced a very high standard of entries illustrating well the degree of interest that exists in mining heritage in the Liskeard area. Four descendants of William West were also on hand to give prizes to the lucky winners who were, in the Photographic category:

          1st Barbara Willcocks
          2nd Bill Mammait
          3rd Barbara Willcocks 

And in the Digital Enhanced class:

          1st Peter Levers
          2nd Peter Levers
          3rd Barbara Willcocks
          Bethany Luscombe won the "Rob Frost" Young Photographers Prize with her particular engine house study showing an excellent use of depth-of-field in composition. Bethany’s prize is a professional photography tutorial and she will be joining Liskeard-based photographer Rob in his studio and on location where she will have the opportunity to improve her already considerable landscape photo skills.

The William West Exhibition is on show at Liskeard Museum & Information Centre until the end of July and to find out more click here.  


Liskeard & District Museum gains national quality standard

Volunteers of Liskeard Museum receiving their award - © Liskeard Museum

The Liskeard and District Museum and Information Centre has recently been accorded the prestigious Accredited museum status by the Museum, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). The Museum is the Area interpretation centre for the Caradon Area of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and provides visitor and local audiences with an introduction to the Site and the importance of metal mining to Liskeard and surrounding communities during the nineteenth century.

The MLA’s Museum Accreditation Scheme sets nationally agreed standards for all museums in the UK. Liskeard and District Museum’s award demonstrates that it performs well, meeting the guidelines on how it is run, how it looks after its collections and the services it provides its visitors.

Andrew Motion, Chair of MLA, said: “Being awarded Accreditation is an impressive achievement. It recognises the high standard and service that Liskeard and District Museum provides and acknowledges the hard work of its volunteers.”

A delighted Heather Medlen, Honorary Curator of the Museum, said “the award proves that the museum has developed an excellent standard of working, meeting the guidelines on how it is run, how it looks after its collections and the services it provides for visitors”.

The above photo shows Heather, second left, and other volunteer staff receiving the award from Lady Mary Holborow, Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall (left), and Councillor Mrs Pat Harvey, Chairman of Cornwall Council (far right).

The Museum is also a member site of the Cornish Mining Attractions Marketing Association (CMAMA) which is grouping of visitor attractions which have metalliferous mining as a central theme in their visitor experience. The World Heritage Site is delighted that the museum has been recognised in this manner and congratulates all the dedicated volunteers for their hard work and efforts in delivering an excellent museum service.

For further information concerning the museum and opening hours please log-on to:

For information on member sites of the Cornish Mining Attractions Marketing Association, please click here


‘Discover the Extraordinary’ – major European Union and DEFRA funding secured for Cornish Mining

South Wheal Frances on the Great Flat Lode - Barry Gamble © Cornwall CouncilThe Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site has been awarded almost £2million in European Union and DEFRA funding through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).

            The Cornish Mining World Heritage Site has secured this funding for its ‘Discover the Extraordinary’ project – a three-year series of investments designed to enhance the visitor experience in the World Heritage Site and at partner attractions. It also aims to increase the number of tourists interested in culture and heritage who visit the Heritage Site Areas from outside the region.

The project plans a number of exciting initiatives including new interpretation of the fascinating stories behind the World Heritage landscapes and attractions, with new displays, trails and audio tours for use with mobile phones. A new interactive Cornish Mining website portal which will focus on information and interpretation for visitors to the World Heritage Site, with a link to the established regional Destination Management Systems to allow people to plan their holidays and book accommodation. This will be augmented with a number of touchscreen kiosks for visitor information on all the South West’s World Heritage Sites, including information on travelling around the Site and details of public transport.

A number of business events will also be held for the tourism sector in and around the World Heritage Site, (including accommodation providers, retail and catering businesses), to help these develop new products and services linked to the area’s World Heritage Site status. The final phase of the project will see a major promotional campaign targeting potential visitors from the UK and overseas.

The project has been in development for almost two years and involved consultation with a wide range of partner organisations such as Visit Devon, Visit Cornwall and the Cornish Mining Attractions Marketing Association (CMAMA). The Chairman of CMAMA, Richard Cox, said

“Since its formation in 2006, CMAMA has been working with the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site team to ensure that our members both support and benefit from Cornwall and west Devon’s World Heritage status. It gives us a valuable tool for marketing tourism businesses within both counties to an increasingly discerning customer base. The funding for Discover the Extraordinary will enable us to improve the service we offer and reach a much greater audience, with substantial benefits to the local economy.”

Wheal Coates, St Agnes - Barry Gamble © Cornwall CouncilThe RDPE funding has been awarded through the Sustainable Rural Tourism theme, managed by the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA), which aims to assist the growth of environmentally sustainable tourism in rural areas.

Mike Johns, of the South West RDA, said: “This initiative is just one project in a far-reaching suite of interlinked investments that are being made through Sustainable Rural Tourism which will have a really significant impact across the whole region. The funding is designed to have a lasting impact on the tourism industry in rural areas through investing in improved access to, and understanding of, the key features and rural heritage of the South West. Discover the Extraordinary also offers a tremendous opportunity for businesses in the area to become involved and maximise the benefits for the local economy.”

A new team has been appointed to co-ordinate the programme. Gary Jago, Project Manager, has extensive experience of mining heritage related initiatives, having worked on both the Mineral Tramways and Geevor Tin Mine investment programmes during the last four years. Working alongside Gary is Interpretation Officer Mary Olszewska, previously with Exmoor National Park, and Marketing and Visitor Information Officer Samantha Snow, who was formerly with Tewksbury Borough Council. 

Funding partners in Discover the Extraordinary include Cornwall Council, Devon County Council and West Devon Borough Council.

Councillor Neil Burden, Heritage cabinet member for Cornwall Council, commented,

“The RDPE investment will enable the World Heritage Site partners to realise some of the economic potential which research for the World Heritage Site bid had identified. Much of the World Heritage Site falls within the more rural areas of Cornwall and west Devon, and the businesses based here will now have a chance to benefit from the project’s aim of increasing sustainable growth in high spending, cultural tourism markets.”

“It will also provide a valuable opportunity to enhance our appeal to overseas tourists, many of whom are looking for high quality, authenticity and local distinctiveness in their holiday destinations. All these values are features of a World Heritage Site, and the project will enable us to vigorously promote them.”    

                         The Discover the Extraordinary programme is due to be completed in December 2013 and other project partners include Cornish Mines & Engines, Geevor Tin Mine, Godolphin, Gwennap Pit, King Edward Mine, Morwellham Quay, Poldark Mine, St Agnes Museum, Tavistock Museum, Trevarno House and Garden, Minions Heritage Centre, and Wheal Martyn.

                         The majority of these exciting attractions are members of the Cornish Mining Attractions Marketing Association (CMAMA) and for further information please see: mining heritage attractions


Sam Ham – Cornish wrestling trophy update

Paul Richards (right) presents Sam Ham's wrestling trophy to Brian Butler - Ainsley Cocks © Cornwall CouncilFollowing the discovery of the Sam Ham Cornish wrestling trophy at Tuckingmill in July 2009, as covered in our autumn newsletter, further information has come to light concerning descendants of Sam, both in Cornwall and overseas, and of other cups which Sam won during his wrestling career.

  Sam was one of thousands of Cornish mineworkers who worked on the South African Rand during the early 1900s and Cornish wrestling was one of the distinctive cultural traditions taken to many mining areas around the world during the nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.    

Mrs Doris Butler of Coverack, a stepdaughter-in-law of Sam’s, kindly contacted the World Heritage Site team and gave details of another trophy in her possession and her recollections of Sam when she was growing up in the Camborne area in the 1930s. Doris was also fortunately able to put the World Heritage Site team in contact with other members of her family and the resulting publicity from the cup’s discovery eventually brought forward its rightful owners and details of how it came to be lost.

Brian and Frank Butler, step-grandsons of Sam, were very pleased to learn of the trophy’s discovery and a special presentation was arranged to handover the cup at the Cornwall Centre, Redruth, in March. Paul Richards, the Cormac employee who luckily found the cup, was fortunately on hand to present the trophy on behalf of Cornwall Council and the World Heritage Site. This informal gathering also gave the various family members the welcome opportunity to meet and discuss Sam’s life and times, and the chance to learn more about Cornish style wrestling courtesy of Gerry Cawley, of the Cornish Wrestling Association.

The World Heritage Site team were very pleased to have been able to assist in the return the trophy to Brian and Frank and to have the opportunity to meet Doris and other Butler family members. The team would also like to extend their thanks to Kim Cooper and the staff of the Cornwall Centre for very kindly hosting the event.

            For further details on this please see the upcoming spring edition of Cornish Mining, the World Heritage Site newsletter, which will be available shortly on the website’s newsletter page.

For further information on Cornish wrestling, please see the Cornish Wrestling Association website at:



Cornish wrestling trophy discovered at Tuckingmill

Trophy presented to Sam Ham for wrestling Cornish style in South Africa c.1910 - A. Cocks © H E Cornwall Council          In July, contractors working on a highway scheme at Tolvaddon Road, Tuckingmill, discovered an artefact which sheds light on a fascinating part of the Cornish Mining story.

          Paul Richards, an excavator operative with Cornish highways contractor Cormac, discovered an engraved presentation trophy while working on road improvements at the site at Gas Lane. Paul was engaged in the removal of excavated material as part of the development and noticed an object glinting in amongst the heap as material was being transferred between vehicles.

          The discovery was at the site of the former North Wheal Crofty, near Sump Shaft, in an area which had been used in part for landfill after the closure of the mine. While appearing to have suffered a few dents from mechanical handling, the trophy proved to be in surprisingly good condition considering that it had been under around two metres of waste fill for several decades. Paul considers that it was most probably discarded following a house clearance in the area.

          The trophy is around ten inches in height and bares the engraved inscription: ‘Wrestling Cornish Style won by Sam Ham, Manor House, Jeppestown, S. A.’. Wrestling in Cornwall is of a distinctive kind whereby a wrestling jacket has to be worn, and this is used to grip the opponent when attempting to bring him or her to the ground. Wrestling, along with other Cornish traditions were exported to many mining fields around the globe as mining migration took hold during the early-to-mid nineteenth century.

          Research initiated by Wayne Wilford, a Site Agent for Cormac, has revealed that the Manor House was formerly a hotel at Jeppestown, now a suburb of Johannesburg in South Africa. This South African city was a very important destination for mineworkers migrating from Cornwall at the turn of the twentieth century, all eager to take up employment in this important area for gold mining. While today it is a design and furniture outlet, the Manor House was a hotel and sportsmen’s bar of some regard during the early years of the city, a favourite gathering spot for many and one of the main venues for boxing.

Sam Ham possibly around 1910 © Cornish Wrestling Association          A report in the Cornishman newspaper for the 15th September 1910 also gives more information on Sam’s achievements as it records him as the Middleweight Champion of South Africa at this time with a W. Littlejohn of Gunnislake as Heavyweight Champion.    

          Upon recognising the importance of the find Wayne fortunately contacted Cornwall Council Historic Environment with the view to finding the trophy a suitable home. After it was subsequently brought to the attention of World Heritage Site Office, the Cornish Wrestling Association was contacted with a view to learning more about Sam Ham and his wrestling background. Gerry Cawley, the Archivist with the Association, proved to be most helpful and provided a copy of an Association programme from the 1930s covering a tournament of Cornu-Breton wrestling which took place in Redruth on Saturday, August 26th 1933. This indicated that Sam was acting as a ‘stickler’ - a Cornish Wrestling umpire - at the contest, who was invigilating alongside fellow sticklers Mr A. Pinch and Monsieur Le Corre. 

          Further research by Truro based genealogist Steve Colwill revealed that the UK Census returns for 1881 record a Samuel Ham living at Condurrow near Camborne, with his parents William and Elizabeth, and sisters Ellen, Edith and Elizabeth, and brother William. William senior is shown as having been born in Grampound around 1845 with his occupation given as ‘sawyer’, perhaps working in connection with one of the major Central mines active at the time. His partner Elizabeth is recorded as originating from Camborne and all the children were to be born there also. In the 1901 Census both William senior and junior are shown as tin miners with Sam, at the age of 21, recorded as a farm labourer, a common occupation at the time.        

Close-up view showing the trophy with the inscription 'Wrestling Cornish style won by Sam Ham - Manor House - Jeppestown S. A.' - A. Cocks © H E Cornwall Council          In March 1906 a passenger S. Ham, aged 25, is recorded as having arrived back in the UK on the “Walmer Castle”, docking at Southampton having sailed from Cape Town, South Africa. Again in October 1913, Samuel Ham is noted as disembarking from the “Dunluce Castle” at Plymouth, his port of embarkation recorded as Cape Town. His occupation on both passenger lists is shown as ‘miner’, indicating that he probably gained mining experience with his father and/or brother prior to his original departure. Mineworkers from Cornwall, known as ‘Cousin Jacks’,  were in high regard at this time, benefiting from a well established reputation of being pre-eminent in the field of hard-rock mining. Sam would have gone, like thousands of others, to seek his fortune and would no doubt have been encouraged by the knowledge that an established Cornish community awaited his arrival in Johannesburg.

          It is intended that in due course the trophy will be included in the Cornwall Wrestling Association Archive and take its place alongside the wealth of wrestling information and artefacts which the Association holds.

          Deborah Boden, the World Heritage Site Co-ordinator said that “The fortunate discovery of this trophy highlights a particular aspect of the story of Cornish Mining, specifically the role of mineworkers from Cornwall in living and working overseas. Cultural traditions including Cornish Wrestling, Methodism and the pasty were transferred to many mining areas around the Sam Ham (left) and T. Pearce engaged in a wrestling match © Cornish Wrestling Associationglobe and these traditions maintained as part of daily life. The story of Sam Ham is part of the rich legacy of Cornish Mining and the World Heritage Site is delighted to have been able to help bring this to a wider public.”     

          The World Heritage Site team would very much like to thank Paul Richards and Wayne Wilford for bringing the trophy to our attention, to Gerry Cawley for valuable information from the Cornish Wrestling Association Archive, and especially to Steve Colwill for his detailed research of Census and shipping records which has shed so much light on Sam’s itinerant past.

For further information on Cornish wrestling, please log on to:



Mineral Tramways Mining Trails Celebration

          Eager crowds gathered at Cambrose on Saturday 26th September for the official opening of the extended Mineral Tramways Trails network. Since work commenced in the early 1990s the Mineral Tramways Project has worked to create a total of 56km of multi-use trails for the benefit of walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. Using former tramway and railway routes, the trails link the major mining areas of Camborne, Redruth and St Day with the mineral ports of Portreath and Devoran, on the north and south coasts.

Wendy Houvenaghel, Olympic medal-winning cyclist, opens the celebration to the delight of the crowds - A. Cocks © H E Cornwall Council          The celebration day commenced with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Bike Barn, Cambrose, at the Elm Farm Coast to Coast Cycle Hire Centre. Wendy Houvenaghel (left), Olympic Silver Medallist at Beijing and Double Team World Champion in 3000m track cycling, was on hand to do the honours, and led a guided cycle ride along the trail network.

          In addition to a number of cycling events, King Edward Mine, Troon, held a free open day where the public could discover the techniques of Cornish mining and mineral processing, and the significance of the Great Flat Lode. Sparnon Silver Band entertained the crowds during the afternoon and walkers joined naturalist Rory Goodall on a much appreciated guided walk of the Great Flat Lode, during which he highlighted the varied ecology which exists alongside the impressive mining heritage.

          At 3pm Wendy was again on hand at King Edward to light the first of a number of mine chimney fires, which in doing so simulated how the landscape would have appeared during the area’s tin mining heyday in the latter nineteenth century. This event followed on from the hugely successful Smokin’ Chimneys day in June 2008 which saw around twenty chimneys in smoke along the full 6km extent of the Great Flat Lode.

Rory Goodall (right of picture) and walkers touring the Great Flat Lode - A. Cocks © H E Cornwall Council          Events also taking place on the day included a book signing by local mining historian Joff Bullen, face painting, live music, barbeques, cycle demonstrations, a mountain bike assault course for children and other two-wheeled events, many at the Bissoe branch of the cycle hire centre, Bike Chain. Over 1,000 people are estimated to have enjoyed the new trails over the weekend.

          The 25km of trails recently completed as part of the Project also link with existing routes specifically the Coast to Coast and the Great Flat Lode Trails. Being mainly traffic-free, these offer improved and safer access to schools, places of work, local facilities, historic settlements and visitor attractions. The trails also offer a unique opportunity to access a landscape which is rich in metalliferous mining heritage and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The network is also very popular with horse riders and a guided horse ride was held along the Tehidy Trail, commencing at the Gwel an Mor Holiday Village, Portreath.  

          In addition to the creation of trail routes the Mineral Tramways Project has undertaken major conservation works on twelve historic mine sites in the area, preserving these for future generations and improving access for education and enjoyment. Also thirteen mining villages within the project area have had streetscape improvements made and new interpretation materials produced which tell the exciting story of an area that was at the forefront of the production of industrial minerals, principally copper and tin, for much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

          Champion cyclist Wendy Houvenaghel said: "The Grand Launch of the Mineral Tramways Network of Trails is an excellent initiative by Cornwall Council which will allow the beautiful Cornish countryside to be explored by those who are interested in the outdoors. The trails will provide a fantastic off road alternative for individuals and families who enjoy cycling, horse riding, walking and running whilst having the opportunity to appreciate the mining history associated with the Trails. It was great to be involved in the formal opening of the Trails and to take part in Saturday's action packed event.”


          Cornwall Councillor and chairman of the Mineral Tramways Partnership Mark Kaczmarek joined Wendy at the official opening. Mark said: “I am delighted that the creation of the 56km network of trails offers people a unique opportunity to access a wide area that is rich in mining heritage. The project has combined better access to the carefully conserved buildings and the landscape of our proud mining past with spectacular views, exceptional wildlife diversity and the health benefits of getting out and using the trails.”

          The Mineral Tramways Heritage Project is a £6 million Regeneration Project, managed by Cornwall Council and funded by Objective One, the South West Regional Development Agency, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Parish and Town Councils in the Project area.

For further information please see:

For further images of the day, please click here


World Heritage Team present Cornish Pennies to Portreath schoolchildren

Deborah Boden, World Heritage Co-ordinator, presenting a Cornish Penny - D. Jones © H E Cornwall Council          Children at Portreath School have received a very special present from the Cornish Mining World Heritage Office. On 24th September they were presented with commemorative Cornish pennies, struck from copper rescued from the wreck of the SS St. George, as a thank you for their part in the Portreath to Poldice Tramway Bicentenary Celebrations (31st July/1st August).

          The summer event was attended by thousands of people from Cornwall and beyond. Held to mark 200 years since Francis Basset, Lord De Dunstanville (in whose memory the monument at the summit of Carn Brea was erected), laid the first piece of track to the North Cornish port, the celebrations featured the arrival of a Cornish Lugger into Portreath harbour and a parade in period costume, which was led by Cornish fiddlers alongside Richard Williams of Scorrier House, Francis Basset’s Great Great Great Grandson. Many of the children from Portreath School took part in the festivities, adding to the atmosphere and helping to celebrate this important era in the history of the area.  

          “We think it’s vital that children are given the opportunity to learn about their local heritage,” says Deborah Boden, Co-ordinator of Cornish Mining World Heritage.

Smiling Portreath school child with her Cornish Penny - D. Jones © H E Cornwall Council          “The Portreath event was a unique and incredibly poignant reminder that this port was once a thriving hub for the Cornish copper industry. The tramway linked the inland mines with the sea, enabling huge growth in the trade in copper ore and Welsh coal. The Portreath Bicentenary Celebration Committee decided that giving Cornish pennies to the schoolchildren would be a fitting legacy that they can treasure for generations to come, and we were delighted to organise this for them.”

          Bill Dodge, Chair of the Portreath Bicentenary Celebration Committee adds, “The students from Portreath, and indeed those from Pool, who made banners for the procession and a replica ore-wagon, played an invaluable role in the Bicentenary event. There was a real sense of community spirit and it was charming to see them learn more about the history of their home. These coins from Cornish Mining World Heritage are a wonderful reminder.”

For further information on Portreath and to view the newsletter ‘Parish Tram’, please see:

The reproduction Cornish Penny of 1812 which has been specially minted to commemorate the Portreath Bicentenary event


St Agnes Miners and Mechanics Institute reopens to the public

St Agnes Miners and Mechanics Institute after refurbishment - A. Cocks © H E Cornwall Council          The Miners and Mechanics Institute (MMI) in the centre of St Agnes has long been regarded as a fine historic building and an important part of the heritage of the area and Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.


          On September 18th the community were able to appreciate the building afresh upon the completion of a major building refurbishment and development programme. The work was achieved using a total of £900,000 of investment from a number of generous funding partners including the Heritage Lottery and Big Lottery Funds.


          The MMI was constructed in 1893 following a generous bequest by John Passmore Edwards (1823-1911), the well-known London newspaper proprietor and philanthropist, who gifted many similar institutions and public libraries in Cornwall around the turn of the twentieth century. Born within St Agnes Parish at the village of Blackwater, two miles to the south, Edwards is known to have funded 72 public buildings, many in Cornwall, and in doing so was instrumental in bringing opportunities for education to the working classes of the day. Dedicated to the memory of his late brother, William P. Edwards, John was to lay the date stone commemorating the start of construction on June 7th 1893.

The renovated entrance hallway with tiles and coloured glass - A. Cocks © H E Cornwall Council

          The recent renovation work has preserved all of the historic character on the Victorian building while giving the remainder a light and spacious feel which compliments the former well. Beyond the refurbished entrance hallway, with reinstated Victorian coloured glass, is an impressive atrium with an  octagonal opening to the first floor and similarly shaped sky light above. Dawn Brown, Chair of the new St Agnes MMI Committee, commented "The building has been completely updated with a modern look as a place St Agnes can be proud of" while former Committee Chair Mario de Pace added that “people literally do walk in and say ‘wow’, especially people who remember it from before.” The refurbishment has also included a dedicated ramp and lift, which, when completed, will permit ready access for disabled to the Institute and first floor level.


The new atrium and lift - A. Cocks © H E Cornwall Council

          The World Heritage Site team were involved in discussions with the MMI Committee during the initial stages of the funding bid and congratulates them for all their hard work and initiative in conceiving and delivering such a worthwhile project. The Committee have also committed themselves to support World Heritage Site objectives and have kindly dedicated one of the refurbished rooms, included as the Heritage Room, as a permanent space for this purpose.

          Deborah Boden, World Heritage Co-ordinator, commented that “The World Heritage Site team is proud to have played its part in supporting this exciting project, which we regard as an outstanding example of what a dedicated community group can achieve when working alongside committed partners with common aims.”


For further information on John Passmore Edwards and the Miners and Mechanics Institute, please see:



Prehistoric discovery at Poldark given national monument status

Chris Fletcher (left) and Richard Williams of Poldark Mine with the mortar outcrop © Poldark Mine          Historians and archaeologists have welcomed the granting of National monument status to an ancient hand tin-crushing site unearthed at Cornwall’s Poldark Mine, which forms part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.

          The only known evidence of this early practice in the South West, the extremely rare ‘mortar outcrop’ is a granite slab with at least 17 circular or oval shaped hollows worn into its upper face. Its existence proves that tin was crushed by hand in Cornwall long before the invention of machinery in the medieval period, and, as a result, the site has been officially registered as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.


          Although the precise dating of the outcrop is impossible, it is believed to have been used during the latter half of the prehistoric period which ran from approximately 2000 BC to 43 AD. Well-preserved until 2001 by a layer of soil, the feature at Poldark further extends the historical importance of Cornwall as a mining stronghold and sheds valuable light on the roots of our industrial heritage.

          "It’s an impressive and important discovery and we’re delighted that is has now been officially listed,” says Richard Williams, Managing Director of Poldark Mine. “We already knew that local areas such as the Wendron Valley wClose-up of the mortar outcrop which has received Scheduled Monument status © Poldark Mineere used as sources of tin during Roman times

  Chris Fletcher (left) and Richard Williams of Poldark Mine

  with the mortar outcrop © Poldark Mine



but this is something even older and it is incredibly lucky that it was found. What makes it so special is that, unlike detached mortar ‘stones’, which do exist in Cornwall and Devon, the outcrop here is not something that was moved in from elsewhere. It proves, without doubt, that thousands of years ago people were crushing tin by hand right here in this exact spot. It’s absolutely fascinating."

          Deborah Boden, Co-ordinator of Cornish Mining World Heritage Site adds, “The mortar outcrop at Poldark is a unique and valuable asset which emphasises the longevity of mining activity in Cornwall. Discoveries like this are incredibly rare and so we are extremely fortunate that it will now be protected for generations to come.”
                                                                                             Close-up of the mortar outcrop which has received Scheduled  

                                                                                             Monument status © Poldark Mine

For further information on Poldark Mine please click here


Carn Brea Mining Society

The next indoor meeting of the Society will be a joint one with the Trevithick Society and will be held on Friday 18th September, 2009, in the lecture theatre at King Edward mine near Troon, at 7.30pm.

At this meeting there will be a video shown, entitled: “The Slate Industry of Cornwall”, by John Potter.

Why not come along and enjoy an interesting evening!

Also visit the new Carn Brea Mining Society website at: and also the King Edward Mine Museum site at: , and the Trevithick Society at:


Chris Billington - Cornwall Heritage: Mines & Monuments Art Exhibition

Spring Gallery, The Poly, Falmouth

August 19th - 24th 2009

Crown Mines Botallack by Chris Billington

Chris Billington’s first solo exhibition “Cornwall Heritage: Mines & Monuments” - 18 Paintings - comprises of a selection of works inspired by Cornwall, the land of generations of his forefathers, and the Cornish Mining industry in which he worked for many years. Over 20 paintings, mainly in acrylic but also in oil and alkyd will be on display, the exhibition will run for five days from Wednesday 19th August to Monday 24th August inclusive.

For further information please see the website:


Tramway bicentenary celebration at Portreath

The commemorative coach procession through Portreath, carrying Stephan Mastoris, Richard Williams and guests - A. Cocks © HE Cornwall Council

Crowds gathered on Saturday 1st August to mark the 200th anniversary of the first above ground iron railway in Cornwall, linking the copper mines of North Downs and Poldice with the north Cornish harbour of Portreath.

The introduction of the Poldice Plateway, as it became known, was to greatly ease the transport of copper ore to the port for transhipment to the smelters in south Wales, a process which had relied formerly on the use of many teams of pack mules contracted by the respective mines. The growing quantities of ore being transported in this manner took a significant toll on the condition of the roads of the time, many becoming waterlogged and deeply rutted, particularly during winter months.

The success of the many miles of tramways then in use within the Welsh coal fields, however, cannot have failed to come to the attention of Cornish families with controlling interests in the Swansea smelters, and most probably led to their adoption here.

Richard Williams and Stephan Mastoris with their ore and coal - A. Cocks © HE Cornwall Council

The Portreath celebration commenced with the arrival into the harbour of a Cornish lugger, the St Ives, symbolically representing the many barques and schooners which plied the seas between Cornwall and Wales during the 18th and 19th centuries. One of the event’s guests of honour Stephan Mastoris, Head of the National Waterfront Museum of Swansea, attended in period costume to make a symbolic presentation of Welsh coal to a similarly attired Richard Williams, of Scorrier House. The Williams family were instrumental in much of the mining commerce of the area during the 18th and 19th centuries and were to benefit greatly from the construction and operation of the plateway. Mr Williams gratefully received the fine specimen of coal and reciprocated with a similarly fine gift of Cornish copper ore.

The event also included a grand procession through the village led by Portreath's Jenna Hawkey, European Surf-Ski champion 2003 & 2005, and culminated in the unveiling of a full-scale reconstructed ore wagon, skilfully crafted by students of Pool Business and Enterprise College. The wagon, permanently located in the village’s Greenfield Gardens, will serve as a fitting reminder of the role of the plateway, copper ore and Welsh coal in the fortunes of Portreath as an industrial village. Also to mark the event the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site presented 300 specially minted Cornish copper pennies to the Portreath Bicentenary Committee, and these were personally handed out to the village children on the day by Mr Williams.

Richard Williams presents the specially minted Cornish pennies to the village children - A. Cocks © HE Cornwall Council  Stephan said, “Today marks the celebration of our two premier Celtic nations and the significant contributions that we collectively made to global industry. There are a whole host of fascinating parallels between our two regions - a heritage of experiments and inventions that have shaped the world that we live in today - and it is fantastic to see and feel this being marked and celebrated.”

Richard Williams said, “Today is such a significant day and to know that my Great Great Grandfather was responsible for the creation of this tramway is humbling indeed. To be sitting in the carriage today and seeing the village come alive as it would have done in his time, two hundred years ago, has been a wonderful thing.”

The Saturday also saw the official opening of the ‘Portreath and its tramroads’ exhibition which is taking place in St Mary’s Church from the 1st to the 8th August. The exhibition focuses on the history of the village, ‘Bygone Portreath’, and includes artefacts, a working model of the Portreath Incline of 1838, demonstrations, a book signing, and a selection of work by local children.

The World Heritage Site Office warmly congratulates the Portreath Bicentenary Committee on the success of the celebration and thanks all those who kindly contributed to the staging of the event, which highlighted the significance of an important aspect of our mining heritage.

The skilfully reconstructed ore wagon at Portreath's Greenfield Gardens - A. Cocks © HE Cornwall Council

The bicentenary celebrations are also part of the Mining Villages Festival, a nine-day programme of events organised by villages linked by the Mineral Tramways trails.

For more information on upcoming activities, please see:

To view the Portreath exhibition flier, please click here.




Conservation works completed at Wheal Trewavas

Wheal Trewavas completion celebration 1 - Ainsley Cocks © HE Cornwall Council

An on-site celebration was held on Thursday 23rd July to formally mark the completion of the major conservation works undertaken at this important coastal mine site near Porthleven.

The Wheal Trewavas site was acquired by The National Trust in February 2008 through funding supplied by generous legacies and bequests, in addition to a contribution from the Trust's Neptune Coastline Campaign, the Trust's on-going national appeal to protect and restore important areas of the coastline for current and future generations.

Decades of exposure to wind, rain and frost had taken its toil on the two engine houses and related structures, with considerable damage being inflicted on the masonry and timber lintels. Following detailed archaeological and ecological surveys of the site, a programme of works was prepared enabling the project to get underway in October last year. Work was on-going throughout the winter and apart from a brief spell of snow in early February, the weather was generally kind to the contractors which was a major benefit in this exposed coastal location.

The conservation was finally completed in May with the work having been undertaken to a very high standard. Only traditional methods and materials were used for the re-pointing and much credit is due to Roger MacLean and his skilled team for their exemplary work.

The World Heritage Site Office congratulates The National Trust, all those who undertook the work and those who contributed with help and advice towards the project's successful completion.                

Wheal Trewavas completion celebration 2 - Ainsley Cocks © HE Cornwall Council

The conservation project team and advisors gather at the New Engine Shaft site to mark the formal completion of works


Morwellham Bus Link commences in July, offering car-free access to some of the
best days out in the area!

Morwellham wheel - Ainsley Cocks © HE Cornwall Council

This summer, visit two of the Tamar Valley’s top attractions for amazing value - and without a car - thanks to the scenic Tamar Valley Line and a new pilot bus scheme running every Monday to Friday during the school holidays.

Starting on Monday 27th July, the Morwellham Bus Link will coincide with selected trains arriving and departing from Gunnislake Station on the charming Tamar Valley Line, making it easier than ever to access breath-taking countryside and brilliant attractions from Plymouth city centre.

Jemma Sharman, Community Development Officer for the Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project said: “Not only is it great value for money, but the scheme also supports sustainability in the local area – making sure that the pressure is eased from your wallets and the environment!”

The scheme aims to promote sustainable transport in and around the Tamar Valley and is a partnership project between the Tamar Valley AONB, the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site, or Cornish Mining, with additional funding from the Sustainable Development Fund. The bus service will run during the summer, linking Gunnislake Station with Bedford Sawmills car park and Morwellham Quay.

Morwellham Quay is where the past comes to life.  Set in a stunning riverside location, the old mine train takes visitors deep into the earth to experience the dark world of a real mine, costumed staff tell tales of bygone times, while demonstrations and activities take place each day.  Jackie Cleaver, Volunteer and Events Co-ordinator said: “As part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Morwellham Quay is in the same category as the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. It’s a wonderful day out for the whole family and the bus link will offer a much needed alternative to using cars to access the site.” 

The Tamar Trails, starting at Bedford Sawmills car park, are a brand new network of footpaths, cycle and bridleways.  The multi-use routes will allow free, public access to some of the most precious and historic parts of the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  Built as part of the multi-million pound Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project, the first phase of the trails will be open in the next few weeks, so everyone can explore rare habitats, magical woodland and intriguing archaeology.  Adding to the trails experience is the newly opened Tree Surfers, an adrenalin-pumping ropes course with canopy walkways, zip wires and aerial trekking.*

Both of these fantastic days out will be accessible via the Morwellham Bus Link and Tamar Valley Line.  The pilot bus scheme, operated by local company, DAC Coaches, will run for six weeks, until Friday 4th September.   The bus will call at various stops in Callington, Gunnislake and Gulworthy, allowing people to alight at the start of the Tamar Trails or Morwellham Quay.  Best of all, the Morwellham Bus Link is great value with a return ticket costing just £1 for adults, 50p for children and under 5s travel for free!

The Tamar Valley Line also offers special discounts on the trains.  GroupSave allows three or four people to travel for the price of two adult Off Peak Day Returns.  Tickets can be purchased at Plymouth station or from the conductor if boarding at an unstaffed station.

Access to Morwellham Quay and the Tamar Trails is absolutely free.  An activity ‘passport’ can be purchased at Morwellham Quay for additional activities, such as rope-making, the mine train and horse and carriage rides, and tickets for Tree Surfers can be bought at the start of the Tamar Trails.

For more information, see promotions in Tamar Valley Line stations or visit  Alternatively, you can call 01822 832766.


8th International Mining History Congress

Ainsley Cocks © HE Cornwall Council

The 8th International Mining History Congress took place at the Penventon Park Hotel from the 12th - 15th June which saw over forty delegates attending from all over the world. This prestigious gathering follows on previous meetings, the first of which was held in Australia in 1985, Germany in 1989, the United States in 1994, Mexico in 1998, Greece in 2000, Japan in 2003, and India in 2007. The event was organised under the auspices of the Department of History, University of Exeter and Geevor Mining Museum, in association with the University of Stirling, the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and King Edward Mine.

The Congress opened with a welcome and introduction to the World Heritage Site by Ainsley Cocks, Research and Information Officer with the WHS Office, followed by well received Cornish themed presentations by Dr Bernard Deacon, Institute of Cornish Studies, and the renowned mining historian, Allen Buckley.

The following three days of the Congress saw many diverse papers presented by a wide range of academics and researchers, several of which had welcome relevance for the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. These topics included the economy of Cornish copper mining at the beginning of the nineteenth century, by Jim Lewis; stoping methods in the St Just mines before mechanised drilling, by Geoff Treseder and Bill Lakin; mine names and boundaries at Botallack by Hilary Orange; Cornish migration to Grass Valley, California, and Moonta, Australia, by Professor Philip Payton, Director of the Institute of Cornish Studies; and a fascinating insight in to the role of the 'Dolcoath Worm' in the development of mine health & safety, by Dr Catherine Mills.

An integral part of this year's Congress was the inclusion of early-career researchers in mining history with the gathering providing a formal platform for the transfer of knowledge and expertise. The meeting also gave the opportunity to integrate a new generation of mining historians more fully into research networks of established scholars in the field.

On the Saturday delegates were treated to a field trip to King Edward Mine, Troon (above), and the following day to Geevor and Levant mines, in West Penwith. These gave the attendees the opportunity to experience some of the outstanding metalliferous mining heritage for which the UNESCO status was granted in 2006.

The World Heritage Site Office would very much like to thank the organisers of the event, Dr Roger Burt, Dr Catherine Mills, Dr Peter Claughton, Claire Keyte and Claire Ross for all their hard work, in addition to the staff and volunteers of King Edward, Geevor and Levant mines for ensuring the Congress was such a resounding success. Thanks are also extended to the delegates and particularly those who gave papers without whom the Congress could not take place. 

Plans are now being made for the next meeting which is to be held in and around the historic mining city of Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2012.

To see the 2009 Congress programme please click here, and follow this link for additional images.


The restoration and preservation of 'El Panteon de los Ingleses', Real del Monte, Mexico

A project is underway to conserve and present the historic hill-top Protestant Cemetery at Real del Monte, in the heart of this once great silver producing region within the State of Hidalgo, Mexico. Founded in 1851, the Panteón de los Ingleses became the resting place for a great many Cornish mineworkers and their families who migrated to Mexico and made it their home. Surnames readily familiar in Cornwall abound within the cemetery’s protective stone walls and are testament to the extent of the involvement of the Cornish locally. The names of Richards, Pengelly and Skewes are but a few of those preserved here on memorials which in some cases were imported from stonemasons in Cornwall.

Ainsley Cocks © HE Cornwall Council

          The inscription above the ornate iron gateway to the Panteón de los Ingleses, at Real del Monte

The cemetery has been lovingly cared for by Don Chencho, a long standing resident of Real who has been happily greeting visitors for over 50 years. Time has understandably taken its toll on its fabric, however, prompting the British Society of Mexico and the Cornish Mexican Cultural Society (CMCS) to take steps to conserve this important relic of British/Mexican heritage for future generations.

On April 23rd Bridget Estavillo, a leading representative of the Mexican branch of the CMCS, visited to the World Heritage Site Office in Truro to discuss opportunities for ways in which the team could help with raising awareness and appreciation of this important asset. Accompanied by Richard Williams, of Poldark Mine and Chair of the CMCS, the discussion focused on how details of the 750 graves could be brought to a wider audience via the World Wide Web. During a productive and enjoyable meeting which also included Deborah Boden, World Heritage Site Co-ordinator, Nicholas Johnson, Cornwall Council Historic Environment Manager, and Ainsley Cocks, Research and Information Officer, it was decided that the Cornish Mining WHS would work with the CMCS and the British Society of Mexico to explore ways in which educational organisations and others in Cornwall could help towards securing this aim.

Ainsley Cocks © HE Cornwall Council

          Bridget Estavillo (CMCS) with the cemetery keeper Don Chencho, July 2008

Deborah Boden commented that “the Cornish involvement in the rehabilitation of the Mexican silver mines is an important part of the overall mining migration story and one which deserves to brought to a wider audience. The WHS team very much looks forward to working with the Cornish Mexican Cultural Society, the British Society of Mexico, and organisations here to make this happen.”

The CMCS also aims to produce a booklet highlighting the cultural links which is being authored by Dr Sharron Schwartz, the society’s Education Officer and an acknowledged specialist in Cornish migration studies. Part funded by the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and Cornwall Council, it is hoped that this work, in addition to setting out the history, will also include the thoughts and reflections of those members of the society which took part in the group trip to Pachuca and Real del Monte in July 2008.

For further information concerning the historic links between Cornwall and Mexico please see the website of the Cornish Mexican Cultural Society ( and the current issue of the Cornish Mining newsletter, which can be viewed here.

Ainsley Cocks © HE Cornwall Council

          Memorials in the mist - just some of the 750 graves present in the Panteón de los Ingleses


February snow scenes within the World Heritage Site

The Crowns Section, Botallack Mine, west Penwith, Cornwall. Adam Sharpe, February 2nd, 2009

 The Crowns Section, Botallack Mine, west Penwith, Cornwall. Adam Sharpe, February 2nd, 2009

The pumping engine house at Wheal Peevor, near Redruth, Cornwall. February 3rd, 2009. Ainsley Cocks © HE Cornwall Council

 The pumping engine house at Wheal Peevor, near Redruth, Cornwall. Ainsley Cocks, February 3rd, 2009

The stamps engine house at Wheal Peevor with the remains of the pumping engine boiler house (front and right). Ainsley Cocks © HE Cornwall Council

 The stamps engine house at Wheal Peevor with the remains of the pumping engine boiler house (front and right)

The whim (winder) engine house. Ainsley Cocks © HE Cornwall Council

 The whim (winder) engine house

The engine house group at Wheal Peevor, looking north. Ainsley Cocks © HE Cornwall Council

 The engine house group at Wheal Peevor, looking north. Contrast this with the same view taken in May, 2007, below


Conservation works at Wheal Trewavas

The dramatically located cliff-top engine houses at Wheal Trewavas, near Helston, are currently being consolidated by The National Trust as part of major programme of building preservation works.

Wheal Trewavas is part of just over thirty acres of coastline which was acquired by The National Trust in the spring of 2008. Part of the funds raised for the land purchase came from the Trust’s Neptune Coast Campaign, established in 1965 to protect Britain’s coastline, with the remainder coming from generous bequests. £250,000 has been raised for the consolidation and restoration programme which is due to be completed by the spring.

Prior to the commencement of work, both engine houses were in a dangerously unstable condition with their walls having suffered through water damage to the masonry and lintels. The consolidation programme is being carefully undertaken using traditional methods and materials, including lime mortar, but the task has been made more difficult due to the exposed location. A spectacular web of scaffolding has been erected to facilitate this work, enclosing the engine house at Old Shaft, including a tiered access stairway.

In addition to stabilising the structures the works currently underway will also help to improve public access to the site and develop the area’s potential for nature conservation.         

Wheal Trewavas is part of the A3 Area of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site (i.e. the Tregonning and Gwinear Mining District with Trewavas); it is a Scheduled Monument, with the engine houses also Listed Buildings (Grade II). The spectacular landscape and coastline from Marazion to Falmouth, within which the mine sits, is also part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Conservation works at Wheal Trewavas, near Helston, Cornwall. Click here to view additional images

Deborah Boden, World Heritage Site Co-ordinator, commented that “The engine houses at Trewavas offer a glimpse of how precarious mining could be. Whilst visually striking, the delicate condition of these important elements of the World Heritage Site was a cause for concern, and stabilisation of the site will be a great achievement. The National Trust is to be congratulated for the enthusiasm and commitment they have shown both to this site and the other internationally important industrial heritage assets throughout the World Heritage Site in their care.”

Thanks are also extended to Adam Sharpe, Senior Archaeologist, Cornwall Historic Environment Service, and Roger McLean and his staff for their skill and dedication in undertaking this challenging work.

For further information concerning The National Trust and mining heritage in its care in Cornwall, please log-on to:  For more about Wheal Trewavas, please click here.



8th International Mining History Congress

The 8th International Mining History Congress will be held in Redruth in 2009, at the centre of the once large and highly influential copper and tin mining industry of Cornwall and west Devon. This Congress follows on previous meetings, the first of which was held in Australia in 1985, then Germany in 1989, the United States in 1994, Mexico in 1998, Greece in 2000, Japan in 2003, and India in 2007.

The Cornish Mining World Heritage Site is delighted to be supporting this prestigious gathering which is being organised under the auspices of the Department of History, University of Exeter and Geevor Mining Museum, in association with the University of Stirling.

For further information and registration details, please visit our Congress pages.

Wheal Peevor © A. Cocks

 Wheal Peevor engine houses, near Redruth, Cornwall


Geevor Hard Rock Museum opens to the public

After much careful planning and hard work the exciting new museum of Hard Rock at Geevor Tin Mine, Pendeen, is now open to the public. This is part of a £3.8 million project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Objective One, Cornwall County Council, Penwith District Council and The National Trust to conserve the twenty main buildings which comprise the mine. The Hard Rock Museum has been installed within the former Top Fitting Shop of the mine with the interpretation materials being designed and produced through a partnership of Geevor Mine staff and Gendall Design, Falmouth.

Geevor 'Hard Rock' opening © A. Cocks
   Visitors gather at the opening of the new museum dedicated to hard rock mining

The Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Team wishes Geevor every success with the new museum development which is sure to be a huge hit with visitors of all ages.

For further information regarding Geevor Tin Mine, please log on to:


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