Data courtesy of Roy Fellows and Roy Morton, Description by ICLOK
Acknowledgements: to P.H.Richardson, B.Acton/K.Brown, B.Atkinson for historical data.
New Consols is a very old sett dating back to 1755 when it was worked for copper thought to be on the extension of the Devon Great Consols Lode. The mine has had various names including Great Wheal Martha, New Wheal Martha and New Consols.
The copper ores produced by the mine were complex in nature and contained arsenic, sulphur, iron, blende, tin, silver and even ho installed traces of gold.
As Great Wheal Martha the mine was working in 1844 before passing to another company in 1850. In 1857 the venture was taken over again by a London Company who re-equipped the mine with pump, whim/crusher engines. By 1863 ownership had once again changed the becoming New Wheal Martha. In 1866 the mine was flooded and work stopped after failure of the pumping engine. However the mine had produced some 14000T of copper by that point. During 1867 the mine became New Great Consols Limited who installed a large 80” engine (third hand ) becoming known as Phillips Engine onto Engine Shaft. In order for the house to take the engine it was much modified by adding strengthening buttresses and rebuilding the Bob Wall. The engine was put to work in mid 1868 reaching approx 90 fathoms depth by the time the mine started producing tin, arsenic and copper in 1870. There were also two waterwheels for winding and pumping in addition to the original 22” whim/crusher. Geographically the mines shafts were to the North of the stream at Luckett with mills and processing plants on the South side extending up the slopes of the hill where a 28” engine was in use for driving 2 crushers along with a 36” stamps engine. A blake stone crusher powered by a horizontal engine was in use North of the stream. At the Western end of the sett a 50” engine was erected on Broadgate Shaft. During April 1874 the mine amalgamated with West Great Consols (West Wheal Martha originally) becoming New Consols Silver and Arsenic works Limited whose intention was to extract copper and silver from the low grade ores available. The mill was expanded during this period with the addition of calciners, 3 types being in operation simultaneously (Brunton, Hocking & Oxland types). In the first year of this operation a return of 8616oz of silver was reported for £9262 worth of ore sold. By 1877 the venture was in serious debt to the tune of £60000 and work was stopped, some underground work was done on a limited basis until 1881. Considerable blame was aimed at the mines London owners foe over spending on plant & machinery. Some of the machinery was sold including the Broadgate engine though Phillips 80”, the whim, crusher and stamps engines were left in situ under the care of the Duchy of Cornwall. They remained in situ for 60 years before being scrapped circa 1938 along with the remaining processing plant, these survivors would have been an industrial archaeological wonder had they survived, the whim even having chains as against wire ropes!
Later reworking was carried out on the dumps in WW1 producing 180T of black tin and 5000T of arsenic concentrates. During 1946 a bigger attempt was made and Phillips (Engine) shaft un-watered using electric pumps but with disappointing results leading to concentration on re-processing of the dumps. The mine and mill in this re-working was re-equipped with second material from Prince of Wales Mine left over from the war effort for tin production. The electric pumps were powered by 2 second hand oil engine generator sets which often broke down. Phillips shaft was equipped with a wooden headgear and a small electric winder By 1949 an aerial ropeway was in place to the mill from the shaft head. The venture stopped work in 1952 having produced a further 170T of tin concentrate and 2T of Wolfram. Mill operation continued until 1954 processing the production of other local mine. Of the £400000 invested of mainly US money it is believed only a return of £100000 was realised.
Overall outputs were 28682T copper, 735T tin, 3587T arsenic, 2T wolfram, 3779T pyrites and 3575T of mispickel.
Today in Luckett there are the remains of Phillips Engine house (on Private Property) which had its roof in situ until very recently (present in 2000 when I visited) but it had totally collapsed when I visited late in 2006 and more so by 2008. the Crusher engine house is substantially in tact (less the crusher buildings) and mainly roofed but obscured by climbers and Ivy. The base of the stamps engine house can be seen along with the truncated remains of its water lift spear pump rod as cut off. Various burrows survive but the area was heavily overgrown in Feb 2008 sadly obscuring many feature like flues, calciner remains etc. The ore bin survives from re-working as does some of the corrugated structures associated with Phillips shaft re-working. The site remains interesting but has become in penetrable in places. The Broadgate engine house was until very recently in great condition and roofed but the brick top to the chimney has now mostly gone due to a lightening strike so I was told in Feb 2008, this may account why the roof has gone too. The upper modern mill from the 1946 re-working can still be traced above and South of Luckett.