Last Thursday the 26th of July the World Heritage Site team were lucky enough to be able to attend East Pool Mine’s journey through Basset Mines, in the Redruth/Camborne area of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.
The walking tour, which started at South Wheal Frances, included a couple of short car journeys to cover the entire extent of the workings of Basset Mines. The tour was conducted by Kingsley Rickard, Vice-chairman of the Trevithick Society, a very knowledgeable local industrial historian who can often be spotted on the back of the Society’s famous Puffing Devil replica.
We followed the ore’s 19th Century journey as it rose from the depths of Marriott’s Shaft at South Wheal Frances. Stood over the now grille covered, 2000 ft deep shaft, it was mind blowing to imagine how the engineering achievements of the time enabled such a huge undertaking to be carried out on such a large scale.
Kingsley was able to vividly describe each building and the machinery housed within them in such a way even those without engineering degrees were able to visualise the workings and capability of this fascinating site.
We walked in the shadows of the majestic, cathedral like mine buildings. Kingsley punctuated the walk with stories of the day to day life of the hard working miners and added entertaining tales of the famous Richard Trevithick, bringing to life the world in which the miners of the time lived.
We followed the route the ore took; saw the still towering remains of West Basset Stamps where the ore was further crushed, separated and upgraded to the final point where it would be taken to the smelter and turned into the precious final product: tin.
The tour not only included a fantastic (miner appropriate) pasty, delivery from local Baker Tom’s in Pool, but also access to East Pool Mine where Kingsley was able to provide a tour of that site as well.
The team and the rest of the attendees had a fantastic time, not only was the tour historically informative and full of engineering insight but it was engaging and animated in a way which truly brought the sites to life.
To learn more about the Trevithick Society and their work visit https://trevithick-society.org.uk/