Wheal Prosper & Wheal Trewavas Mine, Cornwall
Wendron: grid reference SW594270
Notable minerals: Chalcopyrite, Chalcotrichite, Chalybite, Cuprite, Fahlerz, Fluor & Mimetite.
Location: These engine houses lie on the southwest coast of Cornwall, about 3 miles from Porthleven on the southern end of the granite outcrop known as the Godolphin-Tregonning Granite. In both cases the buildings lie on the coast overlooking the sea - Wheal Prosper overlooking Rinsey Cove and Porthcew Beach with the buildings at Trewavas Head sited a lot more precariously.
Wheal Prosper Mine opened in about 1860 and was anything but prosperous. The fine engine house has a mixed construction of granite and slate (killas) taken largely from small quarries on the clifftops nearby. Rinsey Mine as it is also known only worked until 1866 producing mainly tin with a little copper from the 'Porthcew Lode'. It has three main shafts - Leeds shaft, just seaward of the present carpark; Michell's Whim Shaft lying just south of the path leading down to the recently refurbished 30-inch pumping engine house over Engine Shaft.
Wheal Trewavas Grid reference SW599265
About half a mile to the southeast of Wheal Prosper lie the remains of Wheal Trewavas. The two remaining engine houses and chimneys are situated on East Rinsey Cliff and as they are not on Natioonal Trust property they have not been stabilised or repaired in any way...PLEASE TAKE CARE IF VISITING! The sett of Wheal Trewavas contains four main copper lodes running generally in a NW-SE direction. They are North Lode; Sowan Way Lode; Trewavas South (or Old) Lode and Nimble Cutter Lode. These are intersected by the Great Tin lode running east to west across them. Wheal Trewavas opened in the mid-1830's with a pumping engine installed on Old Engine shaft working the Old (South) Lode.
In about 1838 a new pumping engine house housing a 45-inch cylinder was erected a few hundred metres to the east - on slightly higher ground - over New Engine (or Rogers') shaft. There are records showing that at one stage in the early 1840's the concern employed around 200 people in mining and ancillary trades at Wheal Trewavas. A new shaft was sunk on the eastern section of the sett with a 70-inch pumping engine replacing the smaller engine on New Engine Shaft. This new shaft known as Diagonal shaft reached a depth of nearly 600 feet in the mid 1840's and things were looking set fair for a good return on the investors capital. It is known to have employed about 160 people around about this time. Quite why the mine closed within the next couple of years is unknown but there seems to have been some question of financial irregularities or some foreclosure by the banks. In any event, the mine was allowed to flood and the majority of the saleable assets sold off. In the decade Wheal Trewavas was in operation it produced over £100,000 worth of copper ore.
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Other nearby mines and their main ores
Wheal Trewavas (approx. 0.8 km; TIN)
Wheal Hendra (approx. 1.3 km; TIN & COPPER)
Leeds & St. Aubyn (approx. 2.3 km; TIN)
Wheal Reeth (Lady Gwendolen) (approx. 3.5 km; TIN)
Carleen Mine (approx. 3.6 km)
Great Wheal Fortune (approx. 3.8 km; COPPER, TIN, ARSENIC & MISPICKEL)
Great Work (approx. 3.8 km; COPPER, TIN & LEAD)
Wheal Metal (incl. Metal and Flow) (approx. 3.8 km; COPPER & TIN)
Sithney and Carnmeal (approx. 3.8 km; TIN)
Great Wheal Vor (approx. 4.6 km; COPPER & TIN)