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Mine Exploration Forum

Author An observation (Shafts/Houses)
stuey

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Joined: 15/08/2007

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An observation (Shafts/Houses)
Posted: 24/08/2009 19:17:51
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I've done a fair bit of poking around and although my memory is pretty good, I thought I could use something that bought Dines together with the plans that I have and the 6" maps (mostly the first series). If I find myself at a loose end, a few of us will often go for a poke around.

I discovered the ability to put placemarks on google earth. This is great as it allows you to see all your spots from various altitudes and add notes to them. You can locate the file and copy/paste it and exchange it with your chums. I'm continually updating my suite of what's where.

For the last few days I've been skint and bored (joys of teaching) and so I've embarked on putting all my knowledge of shafts/adits on this database. I then decided to put on all the shafts from the 1888 maps, this would clearly throw up some areas I've neglected. There are tiny bulges in hedges visible from space and tiny patches of bushes which may conceal something that would be dismissed from a glance from the gate.

I did find something rather alarming and as I pressed on, the more I realised that there are a lot of houses sat on shafts. A lot. It almost seems like there is a magnetism between where to stick your house and where to stick a shaft. The correlation is high.

I'm aware that it is up to the builder (1st party) to do mining checks and it seems a fair load of them haven't. There are also a lot more shafts than on the 1888 map in certain areas. I hear from chums about "I did some drilling" or "we did a survey" and it's easy to assume that everyone else did.

IP: 87.113.43.43
Dolcoathguy

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Joined: 21/05/2008
Location: Camborne, Cornwall

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An observation (Shafts/Houses)
Posted: 25/08/2009 07:34:58
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I suspect many shafts (in Cornwall) that have opened up maybe old ones related to copper mining. What I do not know is whether these were capped pre 1888 or just left open and collared or worse built on, after capping, before 1888. Therefore I suspect houses built pre 1888 are not 100% safe from mining subsidence. IP: 78.149.139.20
stuey

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Joined: 15/08/2007

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An observation (Shafts/Houses)
Posted: 25/08/2009 10:43:02
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I think a fair few of the old buildings were put "in the right places". The shafts of Wheal Sparnon run along the gardens for instance. I'm not sure when people started getting concerned and doing test cores.

Quite a few of the places that look to be sat on beasts appear to be old 50's-60's bungalows. If it's not houses, it's garages.

All very well if it's sat on a concrete plug, but in a fair few cases even these can run in.....
IP: 87.115.64.193
Cornish Pixie

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Joined: 02/01/2009
Location: Wicklow, Ireland

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An observation (Shafts/Houses)
Posted: 25/08/2009 11:53:27
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There are undoubtedly a great many shafts that are not marked on late C19th maps. Deep lode mining has been going on in Cornwall for hundreds of years but there was no legal requirement to lodge abandoned mines plans until 1872, and even then the act was nebulous. This was of course after the zenith of coipper mining which was in the late-C18th-early C19th.

The first Mining Records Office was established by the government in 1840 for the voluntary registration and preservation of abandoned mine plans at the Museum of Practical Geology in London. A few plans and sections were deposited but the vast majority of mines chose not to deposit anything.

It wasn't until 1872 that the Metalliferous Mines Regulation Act made the deposition of plans of abandoned mines with the Secretary of State a statutory requirement. Mine owners were obliged to deposit their plans within a period of three months from the date of abandonment. However, there were loop holes. Non-coal mines were not required to deposit plans if there had been less than 12 men employed below ground and this relaxation was perpetuated in all subsequent legislation until 1993. All that was legally required to be depicted on these plans were the boundaries of the mine workings up to the time of abandonment. No details of depth, or orientation with the surface, no section information had to be shown.

Once a mine was 'knacked' in Cornwall I have read that the practice was often to just cover the shaft with thick pieces of wood and pile turf on top. After many years people probably forgot there was even a shaft there. I know of many instances of shafts going down in Redruth and St Day (which earned its nickname 'sinking city' for good reason). Sometimes subsidence after a period of sustained dry weather follwoed by wet weather and vice versa cause old men's workings close to the surface to run in.

One of the many interesting things I discovered rummaging round in archives and researching old newspapers was that a lot of former mining land was bought cheap in the wake of the 1870 Education Act on which to build new schools. No surprise to discover then that Cusgarne and Trewirgie for example, both had subsidence problems caused by old mine workings.



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Den heb davaz a gollaz i dir
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ogof

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Joined: 10/07/2008
Location: Portsmouth

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An observation (Shafts/Houses)
Posted: 28/08/2009 18:44:15
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A most interesting read there Cornish Pixie. IP: 82.24.233.98
JR

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Joined: 07/03/2008
Location: Lurking near Hereford

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An observation (Shafts/Houses)
Posted: 28/08/2009 22:46:25
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When I purchased my house about twelve years ago I had to pay extra for a search of coal mining records to see if my house was sited near a mine. This was highly unlikely since said house is just outside of Hereford, an area not known for its mines. The reason being that the county at the time was 'Hereford & Worcester' and Worcestershire did have mines.
Was there never a similar requirement in Cornwall ?

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The voices tell to write this stuff
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carnkie

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Joined: 07/09/2007
Location: camborne, cornwall

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An observation (Shafts/Houses)
Posted: 29/08/2009 07:07:31
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I don't know when it became essential but I think all properties in Cornwall require a mine search before a mortgage acceptance. I certainly required one.

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The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
IP: 80.47.196.191
Dolcoathguy

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Joined: 21/05/2008
Location: Camborne, Cornwall

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An observation (Shafts/Houses)
Posted: 29/08/2009 07:38:58
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Remember it being required by lenders in Cornwall in the early 1990's if not late 80's.
Although I expect if you ask on this site if an address has a shaft on it, you'd get a similar answer to a survey.
Just I expect the lender wouldn't accept it.
IP: 78.146.223.112
Alasdair Neill

Joined: 10/12/2008

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An observation (Shafts/Houses)
Posted: 29/08/2009 09:32:25
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Regarding the voluntary deposition of plans to the Mining Record Office, an awful lot of the MRO plans for the mid 19th Century are drawn in the same hand. These were probably by Robert Hunt, who must have gone around copying these plans at then active mines. They cannot be thought of as "abandonment" plans. Mines with plans held by MRO were recorded in the 1863 List of Mines (Mems. Geological Survey), not all of these plans seem to have survived when the 20th Century Catalogues of Plans of Abandoned Mines were compiled. This 1863 list at least gives some idea of a date for many plans which were otherwise undated.

There are perhaps thousands of unrecorded shafts in some of the older mining areas in Cornwall. For instance at Carn Galver a few years ago, the chance opening of a shaft in extending the Count House car park revealed a string of shafts not shown on the MRO plans and sections.
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