Cornish Mine Workings

Terri Waters

Falmouth, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

In 1911 Geevor Tin Mines Ltd was formed to combine 3 setts; North Levant and Geevor Ltd and Wheel Carne. It covered an area of 208 acres.
The mine survived the turmoil of the First World War and a new shaft was sunk in 1919 to commemorate the Allies victory the previous year. This was the Victory Shaft with the now iconic headgear still remaining.
There were plans to run another sub-incline shaft from Victory Shaft over to the ore reserves remaining in the Botallack Sett.
New headgear was erected during the 1980’s by Geevor Mine over the refurbished Allen’s shaft near to the Botallack Counthouse and exploratory work carried out in an attempt to access Botallack’s remaining ores, the tin crash of 1985 halted this project before any development was carried out.
Botallack’s arsenic tunnels have been decontaminated and made structurally safe for visitors. But in 1906 this industrial complex was designed to collect a deadly greyish-white crust from the walls of the zig-zag flue (known as a labyrinth). The tunnels would have been completely enclosed with iron doors at the sides, the temperature inside would have been 600 degrees centigrade.
The gases were sucked from the oven, which was known as a calciner, and the fumes were drawn out of the tall chimney stack.
When the furnaces were shut down and the tunnels had cooled men and boys scraped almost pure arsenic from the walls, their noses plugged with cotton wool, faces tied with handkerchiefs and arms smeared with clay.

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