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Phoenix United Mine, Minions, Bodmin Moor Cornwall - 1988

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jhluxton

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I have been exploring old mine sites since I was a child. At present I am currently scanning my very large collection of mining site slides. This selection covers Phoenix United Mine and was taken on August 20, 1988. This was several years before the site was consolidated and conserved and made safe for visitors. HRH Prince of Wales as the engine house and shaft was named after a predecessor who became King George V.

First a bit of History:

Phoenix United Mine, near Minions in Cornwall was first worked in 1836 as Cornwall Great United Mines, having previously been mined separately as Clanacombe, Stowes and Wheal Prosper mines.

The mine was subsequently bought by James Seccombe in 1842 who renamed it Phoenix Mine/Wheal Phoenix in 1844, finally being called Phoenix United Mine when West Phoenix Mine was incorporated.

The mine originally extracted copper, the 1850s being the mine's peak production of the metal, with a work force of 130. By the 1860s the copper reserves were diminishing but consultant mining engineer, William West, bought a controlling share in the company and equipped the mine to extract tin in 1864 after samples showed evidence of tin deposits. By 1865 the work force had expanded to 460, continuing to 600 by the 1870s. It used the Liskeard and Caradon Railway to transport the ore away and supply the mine with coal.

The Prince of Wales engine house seen here was built in 1907 over the Prince of Wales shaft - incidentally sunk to a depth of 1200 feet (200 fathoms). It has an unusual square base to the chimney. It housed a 80" pumping beam engine - the last to be built in Cornwall by the world-renowned Holman Brothers of Camborne. It was built in a disastrous attempt to rework the old rich lode from previous years but in its seven years of operation it recovered only 95 tons of black tin.

The mine finally closed in 1914. The scrap man finally arrived in 1935 when hope of reopening the mine had gone. In the 1990s the site has been tidied up, the building remains consolidated and made safe for visitors. HRH Prince of Wales / Duke of Cornwall visited in 1994 and unveiled a plaque commemorating his visit inside the engine house.



Prince of Wales Engine House



The cataract pit in the engine house where the pumping engine's control valve gear was located



View to the rear of the house and the "bob wall"



Inside of the engine house - I think the circular window might have been for a clock rather like the one installed the engine house at Dorothea Quarry - though I am not certain.



The cylinder bedstone the shape of the cylinder being remarkably free of moss despite the fact that the scrapman visited the site in the 1930s.



View from inside the boiler house



The footings for the balance bob used to balance the pumping rods.



The shaft collar



Whim engine house used for winding from the shaft



View into the Whim Engine house which accommodated a winding engine constructed by Holmans.



Interior of the processing mill



Prince of Wales Shaft buildings viewed from the north. The circular window was presumably an opening for a clock.


The full gallery of images can be found at: http://www.jhluxton.com/The-35mm-Fi...nwall-and-Devon/Phoenix-United-Mine-Cornwall/

John
 

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I hope you grabbed a pasty from the village before you left, I haven't seen this for a few years but it doesn't seem to have changed much, lovely place for mining, quarrying and farming history, I enjoyed your report and pics, Thanks
 

jhluxton

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I think it was an ice cream I bought rather than a pasty as it was mid afternoon! You are correct the area hasn't changed that much. Depends on when you last visited. There is a small visitor centre in the engine house at South Phoenix Mine and Phoenix United was extensively consolidated and made safe in the 1980s.

I last had a wander around this site in 2010:

Phoenix United Mine - JHLPHOTOGRAPHY

John
 

krela

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Scanning slides you say, then I hope this is the first of many reports!
 
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