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28 October 2014

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An amazing discovery
The entrance to an amazing discovery
The entrance to East Rand Mine

Pauline Sweet has been fascinated by the mining history of Polgooth.

Along with her colleagues she worked hard to open up an old mine shaft and made some amazing discoveries.


+ Pauline Sweet and her family have written about mining in Polgooth over the years.

+ Along with other enthusiasts Pauline and brother Brendon discovered the mine workings at East Rand in Polgooth.

View a printable version of this page.

Pauline Sweet has written many articles about Polgooth and its rich mining history.

The Sweets, like The Mays, have been an important part of village life for many generations.

Rail track in the mine
The original mining rail track can still be found

During the 1980's an attempt was made by the Carn Brea Society to gain access to the northern adit in the East Rand area of Polgooth. This attempt did not prove successful but in the 90s there was more success.

"In 1995 my brother Brendon contacted members of the Cornwall Mining and Caving Club," says Pauline Sweet. "The team were confident it would only take one or two weekends to clear the entrance to reveal the passage to the adit behind Brendon's home."

Original scrapes where miners were looking for the tin
These scrapings show where the miners would have hacked away for tin

"Hopes of quick access were dashed when several tonnes of material started to slip down the hillside bringing trees with it," remembers Pauline.

The initial two weekends turned into months. The team had times when they doubted that there was even a tunnel. There were fears it had been completely filled.

Underground at East Rand
Going underground along the mine

"At 3.30pm on 23rd July 1995 a couple of massive rocks were removed revealing the special darkness beyond," says Pauline.

The months of hard work and days of returning home tired and grimy had paid off to reveal the East Rand adit, pictures of which are on this page.

Looking upwards from the mine tunnel
Looking up to the outside world

"Later that day I went into the mine," remembers Pauline. "First impressions were of cool air, a straight tunnel I could stand upright in. There was an eerie feeling as we saw prints left by the miners of clogs or boots, and barrow tracks. The markings of the picks in the rock walls looked so fresh as though they had been done yesterday."

Mining trolley
This miners trolley was used in the mine

Since that special day in 1995 the Sweets have shown around many groups and individuals who continue to be fascinated by the history of mining in Polgooth.

This waterwheel is fully restored and working near the East Rand Mine

Walking around the East Rand area and through the recently discovered adit gives a valuable insight into what life was like for the miners when Polgooth's mining industry was at its height.

Meet Polgooth's oldest resident
Meet the village's long serving organist
Read about chapel life in Polgooth
Find out about the Mays of Polgooth
Take a walk around Hawke's shop

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