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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Dolcoathguy

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Joined: 21/05/2008
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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 19/10/2011 07:23:17
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Article on BBC website
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-15354180

Any more sites that anyone can think of that English Heritage should know about?

It is interesting that Robinsons shaft is listed, is it at risk from the Heartlands project ??

--

Is it safe to come out of the bunker yet?
IP: 194.126.226.123 Edited: 19/10/2011 07:24:58 by Dolcoathguy
derrickman

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 19/10/2011 07:45:35
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no disrespect to those members of the forum involved in the direct management of preserved mines and mining sites, but I long ago realised that preservation and "historical interpretation" are a self-contained, self-defined sector with at times, little or no relationship to or understanding of, what was being preserved.



--

''the stopes soared beyond the range of our caplamps' - David Bick...... How times change .... oh, I don't know, I've still got a lamp like that.
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Tamarmole

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 19/10/2011 10:26:45
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derrickman wrote:

no disrespect to those members of the forum involved in the direct management of preserved mines and mining sites, but I long ago realised that preservation and "historical interpretation" are a self-contained, self-defined sector with at times, little or no relationship to or understanding of, what was being preserved.



Being directly involved in the management of a "preserved" mine I agree, at least in part. For example I am frequently appalled at the lack of technical comprehension within my sector.

Part of the problem is "heritage profesionals" who wouldn't know one end of a spanner from another and tend to have rather different agendas than the presevation/interpretation of things engineering. It can be really difficult to establish a meaningful dialogue with these technophobes, trying to explain even simple technical concepts can become a seriously frustrating exercise.

Trying to explain that a preserved mine should feel like a mine and not a disneyland interpretation of a mine can also be an uphill struggle.

Ownership, whether private or public can also be an issue. Quite often the owner has acquired a signicant piece of industrial heritage almost by accident without realising or having any empathy for it. The Robinson's/heartlands fiasco being a case in point.

I am beginning to get into ranting mode so this is probably a good point to stop.
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Dolcoathguy

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 19/10/2011 10:59:03
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Probably, as always, comes down to Money.

Usually enough money to make something safe and less likely to fall down, but nothing more.

But for the Heartlands project the money was available to do more and we see the results! -As an aside last weeks West Briton had an article on the Heartlands project's lack of consultation with local experts and enthusiasts. Interesting comments on why they did not want to use steam or compressed air.

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Is it safe to come out of the bunker yet?
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derrickman

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 19/10/2011 13:18:02
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I have been to Geevor a couple of times and I find the general atmosphere quite unsettling, the smell of damp concrete, week-old newspapers, life-expired wellies and ancient drains in the dry is EXACTLY how I remember it... the mill lacks the shattering din which all mills should have, but again the atmosphere of ageing corrugated iron, wet timber and sloppy red sh1te is nearly right - it needs that touch of overworked electrical equipment to be 100% - but how long will it stay like that?







--

''the stopes soared beyond the range of our caplamps' - David Bick...... How times change .... oh, I don't know, I've still got a lamp like that.
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Roy Morton

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Joined: 09/10/2007
Location: Redruth Cornwall

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 19/10/2011 13:47:25
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I have posted my concerns for this one once before. The enginehouse at Wheal Grambler & St. Aubyn Mine just outside Redruth.
The setting is perfect, the building is interestingly designed and it is rapidly falling into dangerous disrepair.
See below.
If the stack goes then it will pull down the south side of the house, which is showing some splits and half rotted timber lintels. That wall will probably fall out onto the whim platt.
Funny how it falls within the World Heritage zone but has apparently been ignored.
If ownership is contentious there is always compulsory purchase.



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--

'Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear'
IP: 86.178.19.138 Edited: 19/10/2011 13:56:27 by Roy Morton
Tezarchaeon

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 19/10/2011 14:24:10
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If anywhere needs a little help with stabilisation then it's the Wheal Busy/Killifreth area. It won't be long now before the Killifreth stamps house and the nearby stack get even worse than they already are. Likewise the rare surviving roof on the smithy house at Wheal Busy won't survive much longer with it's current hole. IP: 81.159.55.197
Graigfawr

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 19/10/2011 18:13:00
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derrickman wrote:

...EXACTLY how I remember it... but how long will it stay like that?


Authenticity plays not just second fiddle, but last fiddle to maintaining a viable revenue stream.

Dowdy authentic realites tend not to engage a great many visitors so consultants and designers are brought in who advise all manner of sanitisation, improvement, even fakery. That portion of the visitors' expectations are met but the original raison d'etre of preserving the site is steadily eroded.

One of the New England reconstructed C17 colonial villages was criticised endlessly for being far too cosy and romanticised, so they faithfully recreated a landscape of tree stumps (chopped down for fuel and building) and mud, and the village's first-person interpreters took on authentic personas of depressed struggling colonists feeling abandoned by the chartered company that had sent them across the sea to a wilderness. Visitor numbers plummeted. So the reconstruction reverted to prosperous jolly colonists baking apple pies and ploughing with well fed oxen and financial solvency returned.

Change the setting and details and you can see what drives inauthetic 'improvements' at industrial heritage sites that operate as paying attractions.

I've no fundamental problem with sanitisation and inauthenticity of industrial sites run as paying attractions - they are privately run businesses and can do what they like within the law, and if that is what it takes to make a living and provide a modicum of local employment then fine - and I can always enjoy the structures for their own sake whilst ignoring the inauthentic peripherals. However, when significant public funds are diverted from preservation to laregly pointless and inappropriate peripherals then it is extremely depressing to see scarce heritage resources misapplied.

Worse though is the creeping misconcieving of our past; our collective memory is being steadily changed and the inauthentic becomes the standard model, so more and more illustrations in books, films, television programmes, and aother preserved sites copy the inauthentic model and it becomes more and more reinforced. It reaches the point where all the readily available visual references conform to the inauthentic model and even if authentic alternatives are pointed out, developers won't deviate from the inauthentic because 'that's what everyone expects'.

Enjoy the real thing whilst ye may! Wink

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scooptram

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 19/10/2011 18:32:16
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i do a bit down at togus mill last winter the c.a.t.a or whoever came down to have a look his comment was it looked dirty and dark !! sorry but thats what the mill is like hes from the paint everything presavation green lot nothing in the mill is presavation green (well one waterwheel told i had to Cursing ) but as others have said this is what ppl think it should be like and as for hartless project dont get me started on that Cursing Cursing Cursing

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mind that rock OUCH
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Roy Morton

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 19/10/2011 23:32:14
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Tezarchaeon wroye [ Killifreth stamps house and the nearby stack get even worse than they already are.]

That stack is not too far off looking like the one on North Grambler Porthtowan; Heading along the valley from Wheal Ellen, on the right just before the junction at peter John's garage.
I found it hard to believe it survived last years frosts.
Viz;



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--

'Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear'
IP: 86.178.19.138 Edited: 19/10/2011 23:35:48 by Roy Morton
stuey

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 20/10/2011 00:46:19
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Isn't that the stack of S Wheal Towan engine?

I gather the engine house was robbed of stone for a chapel, a long time ago. Interesting how it shows the later "holes" for scaffold like later stacks (1850ish onwards). I wonder how the shaft is capped...and whether matey's garden/shithouse is going to disappear into it, if it's capped the way I expect it is!
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Dolcoathguy

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 20/10/2011 07:15:06
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http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Public-urged-save-West-s-industrial-heritage/story-13599314-detail/story.html

If anyone would like to form a Cornish Adit Now rescue group there is potentially up to £180,000 waiting for you to do up any falling down mine!

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Is it safe to come out of the bunker yet?
IP: 194.126.226.123
stuey

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 20/10/2011 10:17:47
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Dolcoathguy wrote:

http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Public-urged-save-West-s-industrial-heritage/story-13599314-detail/story.html

If anyone would like to form a Cornish Adit Now rescue group there is potentially up to £180,000 waiting for you to do up any falling down mine!


So, as Chief Executive of our group, you would need to be paid in line with a job which reflected your status, say £80k, + car, plus pension scheme, we'd need an office £600pm, plus a fancy logo £5k..... Do it like the Geothermal Project where they ***** so much money on all the not-doing-it parts that there is nothing else to do the job.

In the grand scheme of things, £180k is not very much at all, however, it would sort out a couple of engine houses, assuming that people worked pretty much as volunteers. It could also be a good kick off for a charitable organisation (without the chief exec being on £200k) which does this sort of thing for a pastime. (However, I'm sure there are other groups which do... Trewavas didn't restore itself).

I would most certainly donate to a charity which sorted out industrial heritage, rather than being a corporate structure to reward it's human components first, as most big charities do.

For the record, I think St Aubyn engine house chimney was in that condition in Ordish's book and also, Killifreth arsenic stack (the one with the crack) was struck by lightening in about 1935 and has looked like that since. (Even though it looks like it is about to come down now).

I reckon that rather than jerking off doing perfect restorations, it would be better form to go around bracing up engine houses/structures which are in direct risk of falling down now. Marke Valley engine houses, New Consols Engine (probably too late now) Broadgate engine, etc, etc, etc.

As our man at Concord proved, it is possible to mobilise people and get a whole lot happening.

St Aubyn engine house would make a good office!
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derrickman

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 20/10/2011 10:41:52
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It shows how out-of-touch the whole preservation and restoration scene is. Ask for £60,000 a year for a fairly senior management role in the civil engineering industry and they run away screaming.



--

''the stopes soared beyond the range of our caplamps' - David Bick...... How times change .... oh, I don't know, I've still got a lamp like that.
IP: 88.202.124.68
carnkie

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 20/10/2011 11:25:38
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I see that the gunpowder works at Kennall Vale are on the list. In 1986 a comprehensive archaelogical and historical study was made by John R. Smith. Part of his introduction.

"INTRODUCTION
In 1985 the Cornwall Trust for Nature Conservation obtained a long lease on 21 acres of the Kennall Vale at Ponsanooth. This agreement between the owner, Ross Williams, and the Trust has as its objective the long-term management of the site as one of the Trust's reserves. The site comprises a steeply sloping wooded valley, bisected by the fast flowing river Kennall; the woodland is mainly Beech, Ash and oak, shallow rooted amongst massive granite boulders and outcrops. Wildlife on the site includes Badgers, a breeding colony of Dippers, and sightings of Otters have been reported.
In addition to its natural history, Kennall Vale has an extra dimension. Ranged along the lower slopes of the valley are the extensive remains of an early nineteenth century gunpowder factory, with many virtually intact mills and process buildings and a complex system of leats. There is also a large disused granite quarry with its own associated buildings and process areas, which post-dates and to some extent overlays the gunpowder works.
As the lessees of the site, the Trust undertakes to manage the woodland and the industrial remains with a view to the long-term conservation of both, and to restore and where practical renew the footpaths and trackways so that the public may have safe access to the reserve"

This was of course 25 years ago. As far as I know the site is now run (whether still under lease I've no idea) by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and is a nature reserve. The industrial remains are slowly deteriorating which a great pity as it remains one of the important sites in Cornwall. I would imagine the main concern is the state of the Incorporating Mills but I wonder if there is a conflict of interests here, apart from the obvious question of who finances any renovation or even maintaining the status quo.

It would be criminal to just let it disappear.

The granite quarry isn't under threat apart from vegetation.
Smile



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--

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
IP: 89.241.111.174 Edited: 20/10/2011 15:34:25 by carnkie
Roy Morton

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 20/10/2011 14:25:30
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stuey wrote:

Isn't that the stack of S Wheal Towan engine?


I've seen it called by both names.. Ref, AKHJ Maps...
Shame about the engine house but the walls of a building (boiler house?) are still visible on the site.
That little wooden chalet wil get a clobbering one day though.

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1944pam

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Devon and Cornwall industrial sites at Risk
Posted: 22/10/2011 16:39:53
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Three more mine buildings that are, we understand, going on the 'at risk' list are at King Edward Mine. They are:

1. The 1904 boiler house
2. What we know as the 'weighbridge stores' which originally was also the assey office and brass casting shop for the South Condurrow mine c1870. We are starting emergency repairs on this in a few weeks
3. And, I think, the Count House/Dry complex c1870

The advantage of being on this register is that it improves the chances of getting some EH funding
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agricola

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Posted: 24/10/2011 10:56:09
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I would agree with the boiler house, it would be a shame to see it fall into disrepair.

As far as the weighbridge stores - its no more than a collection of bits of wood held together by nails .... and its been like it since I first visited KEM as a student back in 1987.

The main offices, were in need of some TLC, I painted bits of it when I was a lecturer at CSM.

It was a shame that the flat roof of the old bike shed was also included in the listing cos when it fell down, the rigmarole that was involved in reconstructing it, meant that it never got done, unlike the changing of the shiplap on the Survey office, which the listing officer didn't see happen Wink

As far as funding goes as long as the correct people get the money and it is spent on repairs rather than on gongs for those who obtained it, I'm all for it. However I spent too much time working with fund raising types ....

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If it can't be grown it has to be mined.
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Dolcoathguy

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Posted: 08/11/2011 10:56:57
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This was of course 25 years ago. As far as I know the site is now run (whether still under lease I've no idea) by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and is a nature reserve. The industrial remains are slowly deteriorating which a great pity as it remains one of the important sites in Cornwall. I would imagine the main concern is the state of the Incorporating Mills but I wonder if there is a conflict of interests here, apart from the obvious question of who finances any renovation or even maintaining the status quo.



I have asked and the CWT do indeed lease it still , as a charity they have to apply for grants to get funding as I am told this is the case for Kennal Vale. From what I understand the application is in and they are waiting to hear.

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Is it safe to come out of the bunker yet?
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