Wheal Peevor was at
work during the eighteenth century and may have had a
Newcomen pumping engine. At that time it was being worked with
Great North Downs Mine to the north-east which had at least three.
In 1796 a 28'' Watt engine was installed second hand from
Tresavean mine. Work was concentrated on George's (later Sir
Frederick's) Engine shaft which was unwatered by running flat-rods
from an elderly 60'' engine then standing on 'Little' (or Prior's)
North Downs Mine to the north. At the 40 fathom level below adit a
rich body of tin was struck, prompting the management to move the
60'' engine and its consort, a 22'' whim from North Downs,
complete with their houses. The mine lay dormant for several years
before being taken up in 1872 as a separate concern, divided from
Great North Downs Mine by a cross course.
In 1875 a 36'' stamps engine was added and all
through the 1870s the mine was paying dividends despite the price
of tin plummeting to £36 a ton and mines all over the county were
closing. For four years the average milling recovery was 91lb of
'black tin' a ton, about 4%, whereas most tin mines gave about
1-1.5 %. Between 1872-89 it had produced 3,280 tons of black tin,
a little copper, pyrite and arsenic.
In 1911 Edgar Allen of Sheffield unwisely decided to re-open Wheal
Peevor for wolfram (tungsten). An attempt was made to unwater
using a National gas-engine which was not successful, and
eventually an elderly and rusting 70'' engine was brought from
Violet Seton (or Wheal Johnny) mine near Camborne and squeezed
into the 60's old house. The Cornish stamps were replaced by a
battery of Californian stamps. The mine closed in the First World
War for good.
Wheal Peevor is a very well preserved mining complex. The pumping
house is gigantic and the stamping benches, slurry pits, buddles,
the ruins of the blacksmiths' stores and fitting shops are all
still visible. The front of the old stamps engine house was cut
away to accommodate the drive belt of the National gas-engine in
the last reworking and may still be seen.
The remains two Brunton calciners may still be seen, although the
stack of one of these looks much older than others on the site,
and considering its proximity to a shaft, might have served one of
the older engines.