Like so many of the other large and successful mines in the Camborne-Redruth area, there are very few remains of Carn Brea mine. It formed in 1832 following the amalgamation of a number of small works: Wheal Fanny, Tregajorran, Barncoose and Wheal Druid, becoming the largest sett in the area. From its inception, the mine was incredibly successful, with 10,372 tons of copper being sold in 1847 for £73,445, 6.65% of the copper production in Devon and Cornwall that year. However, this didn’t last for long, with copper production declining from the 1850’s onwards, while tin production did increase. From 1860, the Tregajorran section was the deepest, while Barncoose produced the most tin. Running costs of the mine remained high due to the number of shafts and cost of powering all the engines that went with them. In 1873 the Barncoose section was abandoned entirely due to mounting costs. In 1892 the mine had 18 steam engines and 27 boilers .
1896 saw Carn Brea amalgamated with its neighbours Tincroft and Cook’s Kitchen, becoming Carn Brea and Tincroft Mine. However, while the output from the sett increased, profits continued to dip, partly caused by the use of increasingly elderly machinery. The Carn Brea section of the mine was closed for good in 1913-14, with the remainder of Tincroft shutting in 1921.
The only prominent feature left on the mine site it the remains of the 32-inch stamps and its chimney. Built in 1837, originally to drive 41 heads of stamps, but eventually had 84 running by 1850. The boiler house would have stood at the rear and housed four boilers, however there is no evidence of this remaining apart from the unique telescope stack. During the stabilisation of the stack, blue bricks replaced the old Bridgwater red bricks
Another 34-inch stamps was built just to the south-west in 1871-2, which together with the remaining stamps ran 208 heads of stamps. No trace of this remains today.
Output for the mine during its working was substantial.
Between 1833-96 it produced 237,493 tons of 7.5% copper, 29,600 tons of tin, 4,140 tons of arsenic and 390 tons of mispickel.
As Carn Brea and Tincroft after 1906 produced ,3142 tons of arsenic and 390 tons of wolfram. Up til 1912 it also made 938 tons of tin, 277 tons of arsenic and 12 tons of wolfram.
The mining sett has a lot of shafts (or did), and due to its amalgamations this can be a tad confusing.
These can include: Harvey’s Engine (335-fathoms/316m), Martin’s East (350-fathoms/640m), Downright (335-fathoms/316m), Chappels, Highburrow, Highburrow East (390-fathoms/713m), Highburrow West (325-fathoms/594m), Dunkin’s, Martin’s, Roger’s, Old Sump, Western, Fanny, New (228-fathoms/417m), Miner’s, Teague’s, Trestrail’s, Polkinghorn’s, Pearce’s, Poddler’s, Man Engine, Monument (140-fathoms/256m), Barker’s, Druid Engine and MacDonald’s (96-fathoms/175m).
Very few of theses shafts have any evidence of their existence remain
The only real prominent feature is that of the stamps engine photographed. The dressing floor associate with the stamps would have stood behind this engine, but most of it has now been built over. Other shafts and buildings have also been built over or destroyed.
The engine house is on private land, but can be clearly seen from the public footpath that runs along side.
Brown, K. and Acton, B. (2007) Exploring Cornish Mines: Volume One. 4th edn. Truro: Landfall.
Cornwall Archaeological Unit (1991) Engine House Assessment: Mineral Tramways Project. Available at: http://map.cornwall.gov.uk/reports_event_record/1991/1991R008.pdf(Accessed: 17 March 2018).
Dines, H. G. (1956) The metalliferous mining regions of south-west England. British Geological Survey.
Hamilton-Jenkin, A. K. (1963) Mines and Miners of Cornwall: X Camborne. Truro: Truro Bookshop.
Morrison, T. (1980) Cornwall’s central mines : the northern district, 1810-1895. Penzance: A. Hodge.
Nance, D. and Brown, K. (2014) A complete guide to the engine houses of West Cornwall.Gloucestershire: Lightmoor Press.