Basset Mines, near Camborne, Cornwall - 1986

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Some more of my recently scanned slides of mining site explores. This time it is Basset Mines - taken in 1986 before the sites were tidied up and made safe for visitors in the 1990s. I have not returned to Basset Mines to see how the site has changed but from Google Earth it is apparent that the site is now much tidier now. I must take a look in 2017.

Basset Mines Ltd. was formed in 1896 as a union of South Frances United, Wheal Basset (and North Wheal Basset) and West Wheal Frances Mines. Between 1896 and 1899 a major refurbishment of the South Wheal Frances shaft was undertaken, enabling mining down to 6,000 feet (1,800 m). Basset Mines closed in December 1918 due to a slump in the price of tin following the end of World War I . The company was wound up in 1919. Total output from the mines before and after the merger was 290,118 tons of copper and 43,134 tons of tin.

The Cornwall and West Devon Mining area was granted World Heritage status on 14 July 2006. Surviving buildings include the Marriott's Shaft complex of South Wheal Frances, West Basset Stamps and Wheal Basset Stamps. The West Basset Stamps, which had a secondary beam engine to pump water for dressing, stands over an unusually fine example of a 19th-century tin dressing floor. The Marriott's Shaft complex includes the pumping engine house, which held the only inverted beam engine in Cornwall, the houses for the winding, compressor and crusher engines, and the miners' dry.

The buildings at Marriott's Section are unusual - being constructed around the turn of the 19th/20th Centuries they owed their appearance more to contemporary Colliery buildings than traditional Cornish Mining practice. The unusual underfloor compound bean engine was built in Leeds by Hathorn Davy.

Marriott's Section buldings. From left to right - boiler house, the unique (for Cornwall) pumping engine house built for the compound underfloor beam engine constructed by Hathorn Davey of Leeds and the compressor house. The boiler house housed six Lancashire boilers.

Interior of the unique pumping engine house at Marrioytt’s Shaft erected 1897-8 to replace an engine house containing an 80-inch Cornish engine destroyed in a suspected arson attack. The engine beam was mounted under the house floor within the building and pumped from the shaft visible n the back ground. The new Marriott's Pumping Engine House was designed to accept a second engine if necessary.

The new engine designed for Marriott’s Shaft was a large inverted high pressure compound engine with 40 and 80 – inch cylinders. It was built by Hathorn Davey & Co., at their Sun Lane Works, Leeds; the partner Henry Davey (1843-1929) was born in Lewtrenchard, Devon, and served his first five years in engineering apprenticeship at the foundry of Nicholls, Matthews & Co., in Tavistock.

Another view of the unusual pumping engine house at Marriott's Section.

The Miners' Dry

View into Marriott's Shaft

The substantial base of the ore sorting bin

Basset Mines South Wheal Frances Section viewed from Marriott's Section. Pascoe's Shaft 80-inch pumping engine house right. Winding Engine house to the left.

Basset Mines, South Frances Section, 80 inch pumping engine house.

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Lost in Cornwall
One change you'll notice and I approved of was the removal of those darned fences, you picked a good day for it, Proper Job, Thanks