Mining


Fowey Consols Copper Mine

This Copper Mine consisted of four single mines consolidated into one.

Three began working in 1813 and stopped in 1819 - after £49,563 16s 11d had been spent. J Treffry Esq, purchased the mines in 1822. In 1836 Lanescot mine was united to the other three. Now the mines began to prosper and in 1852 were at their most prosperous period due to rich lodes and good management.

There were thirteen shafts and besides the actual mining, other industries were carried on such as rope making, saw milling, carpentry etc and there were also barracks for the workers.

The famous Austin engine built in the St Blazey Foundry was introduced in 1836 - "This is the most splendid engine and does greater 'duty' than any other engine in Cornwall. The construction of the valves. . .is so perfect . . . that the hand gear might be worked by a boy 10 years of age . . .to me who had been used to the noise of the pumping engines in London it appeared remarkable." (Extract from the Transactions of the Institute of Civil Engineers 1836), After the mine closed the famous engine was taken to London and was still doing duty in East London in 1938.

Austen Engine House

The mines were all lit by candles until 1851. When an apparatus of wood and wire ropes, originally invested in the Hartz mining region in Germany, was introduced, ladders were in use.

The labour of the women and girls is interesting. Throwing aside 'deads' or rubbish was done by girls of 7 or 8 years for 3d or 4d a day. 'Cobbing' namely breaking into pieces was done by women. 'Picking' was done by maidens of 16 or 17 years and maidens also 'bucked' the ore, namely broke it with a flat hammer or 'buck' into pieces the size of a finger top. The boys shook the pieces in sieves under water. No women or girls were employed underground and no boy under 10 years. >/p>

The workers took potato pasties or hoggan (a course cake made of potato pieces and raisins) for their mid-day meal.

The closing of the mine in 1869 caused much un-employment amongst the inhabitants of Tywardreath.It is interesting to note that a Mr Leyland Barratt who owned a graphite mine near Millom in Cumberland, needed workers and arrangements were made for whole families with all their possessions to be transported there.