I didn’t have to look very far to find inspiration for today’s assignment.
Sitting high up in a remote and wild corner of Bodmin Moor lies the World Heritage Site of Caradon Mining District; it’s only about fifteen miles away from Dookes H.Q..
The granite massif of Caradon Hill rises above the surrounding moorland and its slopes are strewn with the noble remains of a once mighty industry. In the 1840’s this area became of the greatest copper producing regions in the world, but within 50 years the boom time had passed and the mines fell into terminal decline.
Today the evidence of those golden years can still be found in the landscape, tips of waste rock and long disused tramways have now become as much part of the Cornish landscape as the ancient moors themselves. The industrial architecture and archeology is now treasured as part of a distinct Cornish identity.
I love walking amongst these ruins, interpreting their original purposes and just simply admiring their simple yet regal architecture; these were buildings built to do a serious job. They also make great subjects for photography, particularly in monochrome!
This is the engine house for the Houseman’s Shaft at South Wheal Phoenix Mine. In it’s day this mine produced nearly a quarter of a million tons of copper ore.
About a quarter of a mile to the North East stands the ruins of Phoenix United mine. This mine had a charmed existence because by 1864 its copper reserves had all but run out, it had already produced about 200,000 tons, but then large tin deposits were discovered beneath the copper lode and the mine switched to tin production!
From 1865 to 1897 the mine was producing around 30,000 tones of tin per year. This engine house was one of the last constructed in Cornwall, in 1907. It was hoped that by sinking the shaft to a depth of 1200 feet that further reserves would be found, but sadly it proved fruitless and by the beginning of 1914 the mine had closed.
I hope you enjoy these photo’s as much as I did taking them.
If you ever visit the area please stick to the paths and don’t climb over fences, there are some very deep uncovered old mine-shafts out there!
Catch you soon,