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Home > Mines, Quarries & Sites > North Wheal Basset Copper Mine

North Wheal Basset Copper Mine (United Kingdom)

North Wheal Basset mine was comparatively short-lived. It lay to the north-east of Carnkie village and was reopened in the late 1840s by Captain J. Lyle whose family was to contribute greatly to the development of the Camborne-Redruth mining industry. The remains of the buildings could still be seen in the 1980s. (Morrison 1983: 316). It was briefly very productive of copper in the 1850s when a rich vein was struck at the 52fm but the great problem was that they failed to locate the Great Flat lode. It had five main shafts. Miner’s shaft 82 fm below adit, New Shaft 142fm, Lyle’s 102, Western 52, Grace’s 122.(Morrison 1983: 316-20). Lyle’s and Grace’s Shafts were to regain a new lease of life in 1878 when the set was taken over by Wheal Basset. Total production figures of copper ore from 1846-1868 were 30,157 tons of which most were concentrated in the 1850s decade. When Spargo did his survey in 1864 the he noted that the mine had become poor. It had pumping engines, 60 and 40 inch. Winding and crushing-engines, two 24 inch, two water stamping mills. There were 85 men, 50 females, and 30 boys employed.
North Wheal Basset cannot be left without repeating the story of the location of Grace’s shaft. It is straight out of mining folklore. The story went something like this.
In 1850 the miners were becoming increasingly desperate to locate sufficient copper deposits to meet costs. Casually they often mentioned to an elderly local woman, “ Nothing can be done Gracie; we shall have to knack the bal ”. Bur Gracie Mill always made the same reply. “ Take’n try over there, do’ee; that’s where we seed the Jackey Lanterns “. Initially they ignored Grace but in some desperation they finally set to work at the place recommended . The rest is history. From it, profits of £90,000 were made. The old lady was granted 5s a month and a new dress annually by the mine in recognition of her acute ability to ‘read the signs’.(Jenkin 1927: 296). Actually there was nothing particularly new about this. As Jenkins points out (1927: 43), a feature regarded by tinners from earliest times as the favorable indication of mineral was the appearance of the Will-o’-the-Wisp, or Jack-o,-Lanthorn. The clairvoyants were known as ‘dreamers’ and are remembered in the name Wheal Dream. No doubt every mining community had its fair share of dreaming geniuses.

Jenkin Hamilton, A.K., The Cornish Miner, Butler & Tanner Lt, Frome, 1927, republished 1948.

Morrison, T.A. Cornwall’s Central Mines; The Southern District 1810-1895, Alison Hodge, Penzance, 1983.

Spargo, T., The Mines of Cornwall; Statistics and Observations, 1865. Republished Barton, D.B., Truro, 1960.


Photos of North Wheal Basset Copper Mine

Photographs Of North Wheal Basset
Photographs Of North Wheal Basset (2 photos)
Last updated March 16th 2018 by Scoggan
Historic Photographs Of North Wheal Basset
Historic Photographs Of North Wheal Basset (4 photos)
Last updated March 16th 2018 by Scoggan

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Major Mining Region

North Wheal Basset Copper Mine belongs to the Camborne and Redruth region.

See also:

North Wheal Basset Copper Mine was served by:

Lyle's Mixed Shaft

See more:

All copper mines in United Kingdom (SW)
All copper mines in United Kingdom
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