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Wheal Towan Mine, Cornwall

Wheal Towan

Principal ores: COPPER & TIN

St Agnes: grid reference SW696481


Notable minerals: Cassiterite, Blende, Chalcopyrite, Chlorite, Chalybite & Limonite .

The remains of Wheal Towan lie just north of the Porthtowan to St Agnes coast road where the road bends to the right. The copper mine had its heyday between 1815 and 1835 producing over £150,000 clear profit during this time. Notable minerals included Cassiterite, Blende (Sphalerite), Chalcopyrite (Copper Pyrites), Chlorite and the iron based minerals Chalybite (Iron Carbonate) and Limonite (Iron Oxide). Its main claim to fame however is the fact that it ran two 80-inch pumping engines on Druce's and Wilson's shafts in the late 1820's with the lodes running parallel to the cliff road.


Wheal Tye Un-named shaft marker



There was nothing unusual about the pumping engines in themselves however apart from the fact that they had been tweaked by their installation engineer Captain Samuel Grose. Samuel Grose was one of the many engineers that helped with engine development in the 1820's and 1830's. Other noteable engineers of the time were Hocking, Loam, Sims, Jeffree, Gribble, Eustis and Richards - all pupils of either Richard Trevithick or Arthur Woolfe. He installed his first experimental engine at Wheal Hope in Gwinear parish in 1825.


Capped shafts near Lushington Cove, Porthtowan


The power of the pumping engine is measured in millions of duty - millions of foot pounds per bushel (94 lbs.) coal. From his initial attempt at Wheal Hope producing 43.4 millions of duty, Grose improved the engine so that when he installed the first pumping engine at Wheal Towan in 1827 it developed 62 millions foot pound/bushel. Continuing development meant that the second engine installed at the mine the following year developed over 87 millions foot pounds/bushel - over double that of the Wheal Hope engine of just three years before. Wheal Towan closed in 1835.


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

West Wheal Towan (approx. 0.3 km; COPPER & TIN)

South Wheal Towan (approx. 0.6 km; COPPER)

Tywarnhayle Mine (approx. 0.9 km)

Wheal Coates (approx. 2.2 km; COPPER & TIN)

Stencoose & Mawla Mine (approx. 2.9 km; COPPER)

Wheal Rose (approx. 3.7 km; COPPER & TIN)

West Wheal Kitty (approx. 3.7 km; COPPER & TIN)

Great Briggan (approx. 3.8 km; COPPER & TIN)

East Downs (approx. 3.8 km; COPPER)

Wheal Peevor (approx. 4.0 km; COPPER & TIN)

 

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