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13 November 2014

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You are in: Cornwall > History > Local History > Cornish Mine Restoration

Photo by Sue Brackenbury

Cornish Mine Restoration

The restoration of a Cornish copper mine is nearing completion. Wheal Trewavas is perched precariously on the edge of a cliff in south west Cornwall. Work on the first of two engine houses has finished and contractors have now started on the second.

Wheal Trewavas began operating in 1834. It produced nearly 11 thousand tons of copper ore in it's short life. 200 miners worked there. It closed in 1846 after an undersea tunnel was flooded, supposedly because the men were mining too close to the sea bed.

Photo by Barry Gamble

Wheal Trewavas before resotation

The two Trewavas engine houses are Grade II listed. They were bought by the National Trust in April 2008 with money from the Neptune Coastline Campaign which raises money to help protect our coastline from over development.

The Trust says the project to restore Trewavas is the UK's most challenging for 25 years. It's tricky because the engine houses are so close to the cliff edge at Ashton near Helston.

Mike Hardy, the Project Manager for the National Trust says: "This is an incredibly challenging and complicated project because of the difficulty we're having accessing and working on the buildings - they're literally perched on the edge of a cliff."

"It's difficult to believe that these structures were built over 150 years ago by men who wouldn't have had the advanced equipment we have today."

Both structures need consolidating and restoring after decades of being battered by the elements. A team of specialist masons have successfully put up scaffolding and repaired the first building, the one closest to the cliff edge.

That work is now finished and the restoration of the second engine house is now underway. There are also plans to make the chimneys and mine shafts safer.

last updated: 31/03/2009 at 10:38
created: 31/03/2009

You are in: Cornwall > History > Local History > Cornish Mine Restoration

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