South Crofty Mine, Cornwall
Camborne: grid reference SW667412
Notable minerals: Chalybite & Stannite.
Crofty at Pool shut down in 1998 and despite local efforts seems unlikely to reopen again. 'Crofty' as it is affectionately known does not actually mine the Great Flat Lode but mines the lodes to the north of Carn Brea. it is included here however as it does form part of the Great Flat Lode Trail.
From a high point of over 400 mines producing copper, tin or other metals in Cornwall in the mid nineteenth century there are now NONE. There are a few mining visitor centres and museums dotted around the county for tourists along with a handful of 'mining heritage' walking trails - such as the 'Great Flat Lode' near Carn Brea. In fact former mining areas may now have changed to such an extent that the mines existence may only be recognised and traceable from street names and other indirect means.
South Crofty prior to its closure in 1998 was a major employer in the Camborne, Pool, Redruth area of West Cornwall. A brief history of the mine should help to set the scene......1680s Penhellick Vean and Tyn Croft - the forerunners of South Crofty are first mentioned in the historical records. 1730s Newcomen engines were introduced to the mine. 1740s Cooks Kitchen Mine was started during this decade. 1787 The Great Copper Slump caused many Cornish mines to shut for about a decade. 1822 The sett of East Wheal Crofty recorded. 1850s The former large sett of East Wheal Crofty was sub-divided into North Wheal Crofty and South Wheal Crofty.
1859 A 'man engine' was installed on Dunkin's shaft at Cook's Kitchen, followed by the sale of part of the South Wheal Crofty sett in 1861 with the proceeds funding the consruction of Palmer's pumping Engine house near the boundary with the neighbouring East Pool sett. 1872 The sett of Cook's Kitchen on the western boundary with Dolcoath is subdivided into the northern New Cook's Kitchen sett with the southern half remaining as Cook's Kitchen sett. 1895 Cook's Kitchen Mine is sold to Tincroft mines with Tincroft and Carn Brea Mines amalgamating the following year. 1899 The new company purchased New Cook's Kitchen sett and pumping recommenced.
1901 The sinking of Robinson's shaft began followed by construction of Robinson's pumping engine house by 1903. 1906 The former 'South Wheal Crofty' company becomes 'South Crofty Limited' in July. 1907 The shaft at New Cook's Kitchen commenced sinking with a modernisation of the stamps and mill areas the following year. 1914-1918 World War One causes an increased demand for tin copper and other metals. 1921 The neighbouring mines at Dolcoath as well as Carn Brea and Tincroft closed as demand fell. There was also a large collapse of rock underground which blocked both shafts at the neighbouring East Pool Mine. With no pumping occuring in the neighbouring setts parts of South Crofty mine began flooding. This was resolved by the purchase and commissioning in 1922 of the 90 inch pumping engine formerly housed at Fortescue's shaft at Wheal Grenville. 1922-27 Taylor's shaft at East Pool was constructed and commissioned as well as other shafts at New Tolgus and New Roskear. 1936 The large sett of Dolcoath to the west was purchased, with South Crofty's undergound workings now stretching from the east of Camborne to the Barncoose area of Redruth. October 1985 Price of Tin crashes causing unemployment and hardship all through the Cornish mining industry. March 6th 1998 Closure of South Crofty. In late 2003 Baseresult Limited, the owners of South Crofty opened up the North Tincroft Lode to paying visitors entering via the Tuckingmill Decline. Parties of up to 10 people can explore from £6.50 a time. October 20th 2006 BBC News announces that the South West Regional Development Authority (RDA) is to compulsorily purchase South Crofty tin mine.
The Great Flat Lode is an enormous ore bearing body tilted at an angle of about 45 degrees situated to the south of Carn Brea. Normally lodes are found perpendicular to the ground surface or at best at angles of about 60 degrees. The Great Flat lode got its name as in relative terms it lay a lot flatter in the ground. This, meant that mines could be placed at the optimum locations to extract the tin or copper ore from the ground without digging to excessive depths. The Great Flat Lode Trail encompasses all the major mines of the Camborne-Redruth area running in a 7.5 mile multi-use circular trail around the granite hill of Carn Brea. Follow the hyperlinks for more information and photographs on the main sections of this excellent trail.
'World Heritage' status for this area was granted on 14th July 2006. This should help to provide the necessary funding to improve and interlink all the mineral tramway projects. The majority of the trail is off-road and suitable for walkers, horse riders and cyclists. There are even some parts accessible to wheelchair users.
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
South Tincroft (approx. 0.6 km; COPPER, TIN & LEAD)
Carn Brea Mines (approx. 0.6 km; COPPER, TIN & LEAD)
North Crofty (approx. 0.7 km; COPPER & TIN)
Cook’s Kitchen (approx. 0.7 km; COPPER, TIN & ARSENIC)
East Pool & Agar (approx. 0.8 km; COPPER, TIN & WOLFRAM)
Dolcoath (approx. 1.1 km; COPPER, TIN, ARSENIC & MISPICKEL)
East Wheal Seton (approx. 1.1 km; COPPER & TIN)
North Pool (approx. 1.1 km; COPPER, TIN, ARSENIC & ZINC)
South Roskear (approx. 1.4 km; COPPER, TIN & ARSENIC)
North Roskear (approx. 1.5 km; COPPER & TIN )