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Wheal Providence Mine, Cornwall

Principal ores: COPPER & TIN

St Ives: grid reference SW523384

Location: The sett of the former Providence Mines Group lies on the western fringes of Carbis Bay in the St Ives Mining District. Its nearest neighbours would have been Vorvas Downs Mine (Balnoon) and Hawkes Point (Wheal Fanny Adela), both about threequarters of a mile away to the west and northeast respectively. Nowadays, the area has been largely built over and industrial remains are non-existent. The group consists of South Providence, East Providence and Wheal Speed with the principal shafts being: Dunstans, Gilbards, Normonds, Counting House, Speed Engine, Copper Works, Sanders, Tuckers and Barnfields and Little Speed Shafts.

The mines produced copper between 1845 and 1878 and raised tin from 1853. Providence had a chequered history, closing and reopening on several occasions. Known to have been at work by the 1830's, the mine stopped work in September 1877, restarting as 'Providence United Mining Co.' in 1884. Employing 160 workers in 1907, the mine was under the ownership of 'Tasmasion Exploration Co. Ltd.'. The mines continued under the banner of 'Providence Tin Mines Limited' between 1908 and 1913 but this was not a success, seeing work suspended again in 1910. The mine was not worked between 1911 and 1913.

In the decade between 1859 and 1869 however, production was at its zenith, with Providence making in the region of £20,000 to £25,000 from sales of tin each year. Dividends of £10,080 were paid to investors in both 1856 and 1857, with £11,634 repaid in 1859. Records of the operation are quite scarce but there are reports that in 1864 the mine was leased from Messrs. Tyringham, Bassett and Stephens, the landowners. The Manager at this time was Captain William Hollow, a post he held until 1877.

The Kelly's Trade Directory of 1873 also has a record of the Providence mines stating: '... Providence Mines are in the parish of Lelant, and within the mining district of Uny Lelant: situate 1 mile from the town of St Ives. The nearest shipping places for ores and machinery are at St. Ives and Hayle, 2 miles from the mine, and the nearest railway station is at St. Ives Road, 1.5 miles from the mine, and 304 from London.

The mine is held under a lease for 21 years from the year 1871. The country is granite and greenstone. Depth of Engine Shaft 200 fathoms. The known lodes on the sett are very numerous, some running east and west, and a few north and south. The machinery consists of one steam engine for pumping, one for stamping, and one for winding. The mine is drained by steam power. The minerals found in this sett include tin and copper. This mine was originally opened more than 200 years since. The mines are worked by five steam engines of 45-inch and 30-inch, 20-inch, 20-inch and 12-inch cylinders.
The company is on the costbook system, and consists of 1,100 shares of £310 6d 7d. There are 450 persons employed.
Purser Samuel HIGGS of Penzance Captains or Agents Phillip ROGERS of Lelant, and Benjamin MARTIN of St. Ives, Manager William HOLLOW

These mines comprise the ancient mines of Wheal Providence, Wheal Comfort, Wheal Laity, Wheal Speed, Good Fortune and other small mines, which were consolidated in 1832; the present workings were then commenced in 112 shares and Mr Samuel HIGGS of Penzance, was appointed the purser: the mines having subsequently improved in value, the shares were increased to 500, and afterwards to 1,200ths. They are held under Mr. PRAED, the BASSET Family, Mr. STEPHENS and Mr. GILBERT.'

For more information on production dates and so on please see Roger Burt's excellent book Cornish Mines: Metalliferous and Associated Minerals, 1845-1913 (Mineral Statistics of the United Kingdom, 1845-1913) or what is widely regarded as the mining enthusiasts bible by H G Dines - The Metalliferous Mining Region of South-West England: Vols I & II (Economic Memoirs).

There is a wealth of information on the mines and miners of Cornwall available. Why not explore Cornwall's industrial heritage through the Bookstore?

Other nearby mines and their main ores

Trelyon Consols (approx. 0.8 km; TIN & COPPER)

Wheal Trenwith (approx. 1.9 km; COPPER, TIN &: URANIUM)

St. Ives Consols (approx. 2.1 km; TIN & COPPER)

Wheal Reeth (Reeth Consols) (approx. 2.4 km; TIN)

Wheal Sisters (approx. 2.5 km; TIN & COPPER)

Giew Mine (approx. 2.6 km; TIN)

Wheal Merth (approx. 2.7 km; TIN)

Tyringham Consols (approx. 2.9 km)

Georgia Consols (approx. 2.9 km; TIN)

Goole Pellas (approx. 3.0 km; TIN)


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