Botallack Crown Engine Houses Cornwall

Terri Waters

Falmouth, United Kingdom

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The Crowns Engine Houses, probably the most photographed of all the tin mines in Cornwall.
Today what you see are the last 2 remaining engine houses at Botallack near St Just. In 1865 there were eleven steam engines, and the mine employed 500 people.
From 1862-1875 the upper engine house operated the all enclosed Pearce’s 24-inch whim to serve the Boscawen Diagonal shaft angled at 32 degrees with wheeled wagons running on rails. It ran out half a mile from the coast and went down some 2000 feet and it is said that the miners could hear the sound of the waves above them as they worked.
In 1863 Boscawen Diagonal Shaft was the scene of a tragic accident. Miners descended by a wheeled cart known as a gig and eight men and a boy were killed in the shaft when the gig chain broke.
The lower house held a 30-inch Harvey’s of Hayle pumping engine, built in 1835 to replace a smaller engine at the same location. It was built on the bare rock with no foundations, the rocks being bolted and mortared in place.This building weighs around 1200 tons, all brought down the cliff. In addition the metal work weight about 100 tons.
A fall in tin prices made the mine close in March 1895, although some workings still carried on in the shallow levels.
Between 1907 and 1914 Botallack was reworked for arsenic and the flues can be seen in the ruins today – an arch carrying the flue passes between the two main sections.

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