Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Kennell Vale Gunpowder Works

  1. #1
    Join Date
    June 2014
    Posts
    1,154
    Thanked
    1946

    Default Kennell Vale Gunpowder Works


    We dont do tourist spots on here right? Well u best ban me now cos heres one I bloody loved!

    I was down South for a holiday & noticed this place so thought Id have a quick look & it was one of the most idyllic places Iv visited.
    Helped partly by the mid week explore which meant I had the place to myself & some relatively decent weather left me not wanting to leave.
    If it makes it slightly more plausible the trail round the back of the water mills was fenced off "under repair" but with a complete disregarded for any rules I risked all & walked this anyway!

    Kennell vale is a nature reserve. I didnt see any nature tbh, (but did get to photograph a dipper a mile upstream) & contains the remains of what was originally nearly 50 buildings!
    The history I find quite interesting so have copied it in some detail below.

    Whilst it might seem strange to locate a gunpowder factory in woodland in the middle of nowhere the site was quite carefully chosen. The fast flowing River Kennall provided a source of power as it cascades down the valley. This was diverted into leats which in turn powered waterwheels. Obviously steam power, with its need to burn coal would not have been a good idea in a gunpowder mill.



    There were other reasons the site was chosen; not only where the gunpowder mills set in woodland, but the company planted many trees. These were positioned between the various mill buildings so as to help absorb the force of a potential explosion.

    The site was also ideally placed at the time, firstly for safety reasons it was quite remote, but also as it was close to many of Cornwall's most productive mines. At this time nearby Gwennap was described as the "richest square mile anywhere on Earth". As the majority of the gunpowder was destined for use in the mines this made perfect sense.

    The process of making gunpowder was quite complex, partly owing to the potentially huge dangers involved. A large part of making gunpowder was taking the three key ingredients; saltpetre, charcoal and sulphur, and grinding them down to a fine powder. This would then be compressed. Simple as it sounds there were about ten steps in the process all of which were carried out in different buildings.

    The buildings remaining include the Corning House, Mixing House, Packing House, Change House and most notably, several of the Incorporating Mills. These were where the mixed products of the gunpowder were further ground and mixed. This stage was so potentially dangerous that less than 20Kg (50lbs) of powder was allowed in the same house at any one time.

    Further safety features of the mills were incredibly thick walls but very light roofs, the idea being an explosion would be forced upwards rather than all around. The bearings of the machinery were made of copper, not steel, so as to reduce the amount of heat produced. The workers even wore special woollen suits.

    But even with all these safety precautions in place accidents did happen. One such accident happened in May 1838 when five mills blew up one after another. Reports from the time say that part of one roof was found a mile away. Amazingly only one person was killed, although it apparently he left a wife and ten children.

    In another explosion a few years later a worker by the name of John Martin was literally blown apart. His head was found around a quarter of a mile away and his other body parts were strewn across the site.

    Oh did I mention I liked it here? for that reason there is quite a few pics, I hope u like it as much as I did & it inspires some of you to pay it a visit.

    One of the 4 remaining water wheel mills that remain

    9O5A3632 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr

    The "main" building area on the South side

    9O5A3611 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    9O5A3609 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    9O5A3618 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    9O5A3628 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    Some sort of generator house?

    9O5A3624 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    9O5A3652 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    9O5A3642 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    9O5A3640 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    The old quarry supplying the works

    9O5A3627 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    The minimal but enchanting remains of the watermills

    9O5A3663 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    9O5A3658 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    9O5A3661 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    9O5A3669 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    9O5A3684 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    9O5A3685 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    9O5A3688 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr

    The Pentrough still directing water to where the wheels were

    9O5A3677 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    9O5A3680 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr


    Go on then just one more unnecessary water shot!

    9O5A3657 by Bikin Glynn, on Flickr

    Thanks For Looking
    What the hell am I doing, I mean really at my age!

  2. Thanks given by: dewdrop, etc100, Hugh Jorgan, HughieD, KJurbex, Mearing, ocelot397, Sausage, smiler
  3.  
     
  4. #2
    Join Date
    October 2010
    Location
    Lost in Cornwall
    Posts
    4,844
    Thanked
    3421

    Default


    Interesting place, I enjoyed it Thanks
    Smiler
    😁

  5. Thanks given by: BikinGlynn
  6. #3
    Join Date
    January 2013
    Location
    People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
    Posts
    4,829
    Thanked
    9551

    Default


    Really like this. Reminds me of Tansley mills near Matlock. Good work mate...

  7. #4
    Join Date
    June 2014
    Posts
    1,154
    Thanked
    1946

    Default


    Quote Originally Posted by smiler View Post
    Interesting place, I enjoyed it Thanks
    Thanks Smiler, as u prob guessed I loved being there!
    What the hell am I doing, I mean really at my age!

  8. #5
    Join Date
    June 2014
    Posts
    1,154
    Thanked
    1946

    Default


    Quote Originally Posted by HughieD View Post
    Really like this. Reminds me of Tansley mills near Matlock. Good work mate...
    Knew this would be right up your street ;-)
    What the hell am I doing, I mean really at my age!

  9. #6
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    159
    Thanked
    127

    Default


    Beautiful spot, excellently captured.

  10. Thanks given by: BikinGlynn

Similar Threads

  1. Chilworth Gunpowder Mill
    By strider8173 in forum Military Sites
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 16th Apr 12, 18:55
  2. The Gunpowder Plot at Glyn Ceiriog
    By jools in forum Industrial Sites
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 7th Nov 11, 11:00
  3. Oare Gunpowder Works, Faversham, Kent, Sept 10
    By tank2020 in forum Industrial Sites
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 15th Mar 11, 22:46
  4. chilworth gunpowder mill
    By sparky. in forum Industrial Sites
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 7th Feb 11, 20:58
  5. Low wood gunpowder mills
    By shatters in forum Rural Sites
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 3rd Jun 09, 13:35

About us
DerelictPlaces is a forum for people with an interest in the history and documentation of disused, derelict and abandoned buildings to come together and share their experiences, photography and historical findings. Our military, industrial and historical heritage is fast disappearing under the pressure of regeneration, the need for new housing, and often through simple neglect; Our aim is to document these places before they disappear entirely.
Follow us