Undercover in the Heart of Cornwall

Cornwall was one of Europe’s earliest industrial regions, with a scattered industrial society. For hundreds of years, people in Cornwall have made their living from mining. Cornwall was a world leader in the mining industry.

Mining was not just a job; it was a way of life. These mining areas have a strong sense of community and identity.

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Geevor Tin Mine is a 20th Century tin mine, located in an area that has been mined for thousands of years. Geevor is much more than a mine. It is also the story of people and of a landscape.

Geevor can currently only show visitors a tiny fraction of what is beneath their feet. A huge network of tunnels and stopes runs from the top of the site beyond the road down to the sea. Originally the workings stretched far out below sea level. There are approximately 90 shafts and over 100 miles of tunnels.

I spent a full day visiting this amazing and interesting heritage site. Beforehand, I never could have imagined just how atmospheric and interestng a closed tin mine could be!

You walk down through the surface processing plant and see the machinery that separates the tin from waste rock. Amazingly the majority of the equipment is original and made from wood.

Arriving on the tin floors you are taken through ancient workings discovered underneath the surface. It was fascinating to explore some of the underground mines. The darkness, the confided spaces and the difficultly of the work could all be imagined.

The company, Geevor Tin Mine Ltd was formed in 1911. From the earliest times until the final closure in 1990, the price of tin played a major role in the changing fortunes of the mine.  This greatly affected the people and the landscape of the surrounding area.

By far the most atmospheric part of the site was The Dry.  You could feel the presence of the men. The change room used by the miners, left almost as it was when the last miners came to surface in 1990. The miners walked away from their work, their heritage, their friends, their community and their life.

My visit gave me a new found understanding and appreciation of the history of Cornwall, the landscape, the community and the people.

For more information – www.geevor.com

Have you visited a heritage site that has given you a new found appreciation of a community? Have you ever done some underground exploring?

 

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6 thoughts on “Undercover in the Heart of Cornwall

    • Thanks. In Cornwall the mining was done at deep level. The quantity they had to remove to fine tiny bits of tin was astounding. In other parts of the world there are much larger quantities of tin at surface level. This can be extracted much easier and more cheaply. In comparison, the Cornish mines are just not financially viable but the impact on the local economy is devastating. I think there might be one working mine left.

      Liked by 1 person

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