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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Converting Mine Engine Houses into Dwellings
Scoggan

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Joined: 03/05/2009
Location: Liskeard Cornwall

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Converting Mine Engine Houses into Dwellings
Posted: 19/02/2011 20:42:02
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I went past Wheal Langford to day and was surprised to find the 60in Pumping Engine House has been converted into a dwelling. It looks very well done and as a cornish engine house fan I would love to live in one. My question is it right to convert them to dwellings, or is it better to let them rot, or just restor them, Or what do you think. IP: 86.153.101.137
stuey

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Joined: 15/08/2007

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Converting Mine Engine Houses into Dwellings
Posted: 19/02/2011 21:06:47
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Some are pretty good jobs and I'd like to see a few more of the particularly exposed ones converted before they crumble.

Wheal Martha at Luckett was pretty famous for having engine houses with roofs. Sadly the pumping house has almost collapsed. I imagine the copper rolls house will be next. If you allowed people to convert them, they would be preserved.

There are so many of them looking in a pretty sorry state. Obviously, a site like Wheal Peevor is probably best left as a memorial, rather than someone's garden, but several, particularly Austen's 80" at Fowey Consols are in imminent need of sorting out before they fall down.

There was a good example of this near Wendron where someone converted a very sorry looking house with a fitting result.

I'd like to see a whole load of them done. Think Harvey's, Wheal Busy, Killifreth stamps, Pennance Mine, Hallenbeagle Reades, etc, etc.

There was one which was up for auction, I think it was Trencrom Mine stamps/pump/winder which included a claw back clause regarding conversion by the greedy parasitic seller.

Personally, I rather fancy North Treskerby Doctor's Pump myself :D

IP: 87.114.181.47
Morlock

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Joined: 31/07/2008

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Converting Mine Engine Houses into Dwellings
Posted: 19/02/2011 21:28:06
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I quite like them derelict, problem is that leads eventually to a pile of stones . I'm sure money for preservation (as is) will become more difficult to find so a house conversion appears the best of two evils? IP: 86.23.108.245 Edited: 20/02/2011 01:43:28 by Morlock
ICLOK

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Joined: 19/02/2008
Location: Ripley, Derbyshire up North.

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Converting Mine Engine Houses into Dwellings
Posted: 19/02/2011 21:44:46
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Not that anyone on here would guess it but I love engine houses and whilst I like them derelict I know they will just end up collapsed. Conservation seems the right route but only if done without losing the character of the site or the building... Holmbush is a great example on how to do that... But in the absence of decent conservation I would rather see them tastefully converted especially in view of the fact there is probably going to be zero money around for conservation! I have visited Langford about 10 times in 10 years and I have to say just prior to building works starting it was starting to get ropey indeed so good luck to em as I would rather see it standing as a home than as an overgrown semi wreck covered in ivy and knotweed...

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AR

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Joined: 07/11/2007
Location: Knot far from Knotlow in the middle of the Peak District

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Converting Mine Engine Houses into Dwellings
Posted: 19/02/2011 21:59:25
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If no-one's looking after them I think they're better off converted if it's done with care and sensitivity. Otherwise, there comes a point where you have nothing but mounds of rubble and old photos.

Shame Calver Sough engine house got demolished, that would have made a great dwelling! I sometimes wonder if the people in the modern bungalows on the site know about the shaft.....

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IP: 86.169.198.162
ICLOK

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Joined: 19/02/2008
Location: Ripley, Derbyshire up North.

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Converting Mine Engine Houses into Dwellings
Posted: 19/02/2011 22:46:52
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Here Here re the Calver Eng Hse

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derrickman

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Joined: 18/02/2009

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Converting Mine Engine Houses into Dwellings
Posted: 19/02/2011 23:44:14
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personally, I'd rather see them converted than left to decay. There were working buildings, their original use is long gone and it's time to move on. I'd rather see them in good order and working for a living, than left to rot


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Graigfawr

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Converting Mine Engine Houses into Dwellings
Posted: 20/02/2011 00:07:03
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Many / most of the surviving substantially intact (= standing more-or-less to wall-plate height) mine engine houses have been listed and/or scheduled by English Heritage / Cadw. Proposals to convert to a new use result in careful appraisal and - usually - recording of features that would be lost / obscured through conversion. There are EH / Cadw grants that can be tapped into for converting historic buildings - percentages vary; in the most generous scenarios (e.g. the structure is exceptionally importanrt) they can reach 50% I think. I suspect that a major obstacle to getting a mortgage / obtaining planning permission / etc, is having a major shaft just outside the front door! IP: 2.100.170.193
Knocker

Joined: 17/06/2008

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Converting Mine Engine Houses into Dwellings
Posted: 20/02/2011 00:57:46
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To be honest I think converting them to dwellings is the best tribute that an be given. They have fallen into disrepair as they no longer have a purpose. You go to Kent and see the oast houses and eat Anglia and see the windmills converted. It gives them a permanent future. IP: 90.219.230.68
robnorthwales

Joined: 21/05/2008
Location: Denbighshire, North wales

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Converting Mine Engine Houses into Dwellings
Posted: 20/02/2011 08:22:16
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I'm also of the opinion that conversion is preferable to the decay and collapse that would almost certainly be the alternative.

There's a beautiful example of a well-thought conversion of an engine/winding house up above Holywell in north Wales. To the casual observer, it probably doesn't look like anything, but I pointed out several features to a friend of mine, and he was amazed at how many features they had managed to incorporate into it.

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toadstone

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Joined: 10/09/2007
Location: Father's Dwelling, Big Low

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Converting Mine Engine Houses into Dwellings
Posted: 20/02/2011 09:18:01
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I am all for such architectural snippets of our industrious past being preserved whether that is along the lines of High Rake Mine, where surface remains have been stabilised or as is the case of Magpie Mine at Sheldon, the Mine Agent's house has been converted to a Field Centre. That is not to say I object to them becoming homes too.

Around our district there are many examples of mine and quarry buildings being converted to homes and very homely and inviting some of them are. Although only being a tenant, the property I live in is made up of derelict mine/quarry buildings. It did however take nearly 10 years to have planning consent granted, not only for it's habitation but more importantly, how the re-construction and building implementation was to be carried out. At times the 2 authorities involved were at odds with each other, much to the frustration of the owner but the end product is IMHO well worth the effort by all concerned.
The conversion was relatively simple internally but external elevations were kept as original as possible. As an aside this does make it a very dark place to live in but it's place in the countryside more than makes up for this.

Since our property was converted there have been many building innovations which make making such buildings more easily converted to being lived in. In the case I've quoted above, natural light tubes can used to add natural light to interiors. The need for rural housing could be a catalyst for modern day Victorian philanthropy, where such architectural examples need to be kept, they can't all be either turned into business parks or left to crumble into demolition.
While a little off topic, in Bollington, the Clarence Mill has been turned into very nice accommodation and small shops/industrial units, it is admittedly high end but is an example of what can be achieved.

Another way to enable such buildings to survive is to allow them to be taken over by a charitable trust. One such organisation exists namely the Vivat Trust. The upkeep of such properties being partly financed by allowing them to be used as holiday lets. [web link] Admittedly the letting is not cheap but it serves a purpose.
Anyone contemplating taking on such a property could enlist the help of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings or SPAB. [web link] Here you will find a wealth of information on period building methods and modern applications.

Peter.

Edit. I meant to mention that in the case of the Vivat Trust the owner of the property can retain the freehold, the Trust applying for the leasehold. Therefore there must be a long term commitment on both sides for this arrangement to work without incurring penalties.
The National Trust operate a scheme too, only allowing people to rent. But they have the ownership of the property.
In the case of SPAB they also have an at risk register, where buildings are offered.
Another large organisation is the Landmark Trust.
IP: 86.129.89.205 Edited: 20/02/2011 09:36:22 by toadstone
Maggot

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Joined: 08/04/2010
Location: Bristol

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Converting Mine Engine Houses into Dwellings
Posted: 20/02/2011 10:09:38
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This one in Devon is lovely.

[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/souterain/5460510037/]">[web link]
[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/souterain/5460510037/]Engine House">[web link] by [url=http://www.flickr.com/people/souterain/]Souterain">[web link], on Flickr

Exmouth and Adams Mine, Porter's Shaft. It housed a 70" engine with 12' stroke, apparently this engine is still preserved in Edinburgh.

I apologise for the mess of bbcode (cut 'n' pasted from Flickr) around the picture but I just can't get the thing to display otherwise.

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Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
IP: 82.46.4.170 Edited: 20/02/2011 12:19:10 by Maggot
ICLOK

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Joined: 19/02/2008
Location: Ripley, Derbyshire up North.

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Converting Mine Engine Houses into Dwellings
Posted: 20/02/2011 14:44:00
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I have chatted with the family at this engine house and it is a stunner... every feature worth keeping has been beautifully kept. In fact I drive out the way usually just to get diff views according to the season.
Thinking further about this I agree totally with the comment re Oust houses etc... these places at the end of the day are a building and deserve to have a purpose even if they are not deemed worthy of conservation as they stand, its a no brainer really, we all talk about our mining heritage and how things get ruined by crap conservation at times but lets be honest here conservation, crap conservation, conversion is way better than the other option which is collapse... I think we get hung up on the romance of the ivy clad, wind swept shell of an engine house tucked away in a wooded valley or dominating the skyline! And I'm as guilty as anyone for that but I have to be practicable too.




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