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Mine Exploration Forum

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Author Why is this?
spitfire

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Joined: 22/04/2008
Location: Camborne

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Why is this?
Posted: 08/06/2012 10:58:02
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After over fifty years of tramping around mine sites above and below ground, I had something pointed out to me by a friend the other day, which had never occurred to me.
All the pumping engine houses in Cornwall point to Cardinal points of the compass.
At first I was a little sceptical, but I've checked about thirty so far and up 'till now he's right
Harriot's & Stray Parc face North
Cook's and Robinson's face West
Taylor's faces South as do Fortesques & Goulds
Could this be a forgotten tradition or are other engine houses throughout the country built in the same manner?

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spitfire
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Strangely Brown

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Joined: 28/01/2009

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Why is this?
Posted: 08/06/2012 11:02:45
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Makes surveying easy, but odd they would chose to do this over taking advantage of natural terrain.

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We do our best work in the dark CO Oysterband, Holy Bandits
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Dolcoathguy

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

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Why is this?
Posted: 08/06/2012 12:49:45
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A theory!
The arch/opening beneath the beam is often where a window was installed so the engineer could watch the rods and beam.
Facing north would mean he would not get the sun in his eyes very often!

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

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Joined: 22/04/2008
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Why is this?
Posted: 08/06/2012 13:10:59
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Dolcoathguy wrote:

A theory!
The arch/opening beneath the beam is often where a window was installed so the engineer could watch the rods and beam.
Facing north would mean he would not get the sun in his eyes very often!


That doesn't make sense as they face to all cardinal points

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spitfire
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Trewillan

Joined: 21/02/2012

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Posted: 08/06/2012 13:13:32
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owaincbrown wrote:

Makes surveying easy, but odd they would chose to do this over taking advantage of natural terrain.


Would need a substantial foundation for the engine house anyway, so possibly not a great disadvantage.

Square or rectangular shafts would also have to be aligned to suit proposed engine house (shaft normally sunk before engine house built?).
IP: 2.97.0.182
staffordshirechina

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Joined: 15/11/2009
Location: North Staffordshire

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Why is this?
Posted: 08/06/2012 13:24:44
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Two obvious houses in Derbyshire are not obviously aligned.
Magpie and Old Millclose can both be seen from Google Earth.

There must be a PhD in this for someone?
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Peter Burgess

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Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Why is this?
Posted: 08/06/2012 13:43:51
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What margin of error is acceptable when deciding if a building is aligned on a compass point?

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Hé ! Ki kapcsolva le a villanyt ?
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Dolcoathguy

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Why is this?
Posted: 08/06/2012 13:50:16
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A broader question - in Cornwall what is the alignment of any building not built alongside a road or boundary in the 18th and 19th Century?

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

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Joined: 22/04/2008
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Posted: 08/06/2012 13:50:47
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Peter Burgess wrote:

What margin of error is acceptable when deciding if a building is aligned on a compass point?


It's a good point but they all seem to be perfectly aligned

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spitfire
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Trewillan

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Why is this?
Posted: 08/06/2012 14:55:35
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spitfire wrote:

Peter Burgess wrote:

What margin of error is acceptable when deciding if a building is aligned on a compass point?


It's a good point but they all seem to be perfectly aligned


Compass accuracy will be plus or minus a few degrees, but from what "spitfire" is saying, it does appear they were trying for N, S, E, W, and succeeding.

A good observation, very easy to overlook the obvious things!
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Trewillan

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Posted: 08/06/2012 14:59:29
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staffordshirechina wrote:

Two obvious houses in Derbyshire are not obviously aligned.
Magpie and Old Millclose can both be seen from Google Earth.

There must be a PhD in this for someone?


Possibly only a Cornish thing?

Do I get the PhD, without Google-Earthing every mining field in the world where Cornish miners might or might not have had an influence?
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Peter Burgess

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Posted: 08/06/2012 15:18:00
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Must be something to do with piskies then......

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Hé ! Ki kapcsolva le a villanyt ?
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Morlock

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Posted: 08/06/2012 15:31:26
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How does the historic magnetic variation fit in with the compass theory?

http://www.sundialsoc.org.uk/Glossary/ap09-new.htm
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Peter Burgess

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Posted: 08/06/2012 15:33:17
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You don't need a compass to determine the true compass points. Just look at the sky - Pole Star and so on.

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Hé ! Ki kapcsolva le a villanyt ?
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exspelio

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Posted: 08/06/2012 15:43:41
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More likely to be the Sun, casts its shortest shadow at noon - when it is due south. IP: 87.127.158.157
spitfire

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Posted: 08/06/2012 16:56:33
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Morlock wrote:

How does the historic magnetic variation fit in with the compass theory?

http://www.sundialsoc.org.uk/Glossary/ap09-new.htm


That is a good point, variations would have to be made. Something that Captain Boynes should have done at Wheal Owles

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spitfire
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spitfire

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Posted: 08/06/2012 16:59:41
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Peter Burgess wrote:

You don't need a compass to determine the true compass points. Just look at the sky - Pole Star and so on.


Looking at the sky is pretty difficult underground

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spitfire
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exspelio

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Posted: 08/06/2012 17:09:59
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spitfire wrote:

Peter Burgess wrote:

You don't need a compass to determine the true compass points. Just look at the sky - Pole Star and so on.


Looking at the sky is pretty difficult underground


Not many Cornish engine houses underground Smile
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Trewillan

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Posted: 08/06/2012 17:12:46
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spitfire wrote:

Looking at the sky is pretty difficult underground


Well yes, but we're talking about shaft sinking and construction of engine houses!

I wonder if its one of those things that was done a few times just for the sake of it, then became accepted practice for no particular reason.

Digressing, I once got the idea that C of E churches were E-W and Methodist churches N-S, or am I completely wrong there?
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Morlock

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Posted: 08/06/2012 17:14:30
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After spending an hour on stars and 'precession of equinoxes' my head hurts. Big Grin

Next line of thought was that Churches had some form of orientation regulation, long shot I'm sure.

IP: 86.25.40.145 Edited: 08/06/2012 17:16:35 by Morlock
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