Poldark's Levant Mine parking fees defended by National Trust

image captionScenes from the first series of Poldark were filmed at Levant Mine

The introduction of parking charges on a Poldark filming site where 31 men died nearly 100 years ago in a mining disaster has been defended by the National Trust.

Opponents say "public feeling is high" about the ticket machine at Levant Mine in Cornwall.

The machine was wrenched out of the ground on 4 February but will be replaced on Thursday.

The National Trust said the fees fund conservation and maintain the site.

media captionPoldark's Levant Mine parking charge controversy

'Poldark location'

Scenes from the first series of Poldark were filmed at Levant Mine, and the National Trust said there had been a 50% increase in visitor numbers to 100,000 people a year since the drama was first broadcast in March 2015.

image captionVisitor numbers have gone up by 50% since the site appeared in the BBC TV series Poldark

Ian Cooke created a Facebook group against the move by the National Trust and posted an open letter on the site, reading: "The National Trust have still not taken on board public feelings about the new charges as applicable to Levant, but hope they eventually see sense and abandon this policy as it applies to the very special case of Levant due largely to the disaster of 1919.

"Public feeling against this new policy is running very high locally and, to prevent a repeat of unsightly and costly vandalism, I once again appeal to the National Trust to reconsider their parking policy and agree to grant an exemption for this location."

He also told the BBC: "We don't want Levant Mine to be treated as a Poldark attraction."

image copyrightIan Cooke
image captionThe machine was wrenched out of the ground on 4 February
image copyrightIan Cooke
image captionThe National Trust said the new charges at Levant Mine were an important way of funding conservation and maintaining the site
image copyrightIan Cooke
image captionThe new machine will be replaced on Thursday

Ian Marsh, from the National Trust, said: "A terrible tragedy happened in 1919 where 31 men lost their lives there.

"We know people still come to pay their respects, those that descend from the miners that lost their lives, and we don't want to prevent that from happening in any way.

"Those people are able to park for free and while they're with us we want to hear their stories and hear their memories of the place."

image captionOpponents say the ticket machine at Levant Mine in Cornwall is insensitive
image captionThe mine at Levant had fallen into ruin by the 1960s

Levant Mine: Timeline

1820 - Levant Mining Company is formed.

1836 - Some 320 men, 44 women and 186 children are by this stage employed at the mine.

1857 - The man engine, a mechanism of ladders and platforms to help miners get to and from the working levels is installed.

1919 - The Levant mining disaster. Thirty-one men are killed as a link between a rod and the man engine snaps, sending the engine down the shaft. The engine would never be repaired, and the deep levels were never worked on again.

1930 - Levant Mine closes after losing large amounts of money.

1967 - Levant is passed into the care of the National Trust.

Source: National Trust

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