Wheal Grenville, much like its compatriot South Condurrow, is smuggled away in the back and beyond of Troon. The earliest records go back to the 1790’s, covering a number of mines that would later become Wheal Grenville, including Newton Moor and Poline Mine. It officially became Wheal Grenville in 1845, but was sold in 1855 due to loss success. The mine continued to deepen until it hit the Great Flat Lode in 1877, allowing it to access more valuable tin. It remained successful after this, amalgamating with South Condurrow in 1903 and West Wheal Frances in 1906, forming Grenville United Mines. The industry took a significant downturn with the start of the World War along with falling tin prices, with the mine closing for a final time in 1920.
On the eastern end of the sett sit the two engine houses on Fortescue’s shaft.
This one is the 90-inch pumping engine, built in 1892. After the closure of the mine, the engine went on to work at New Cook’s Kitchen. The stack was shortened after being struck by lightening in 1897.
Just to show how big this house is, here’s Scott for context.
The soleplate that the beam would have sat on is still present (although apparently it isn’t the original).
Opposite is the 28-inch whim built in 1892.
There are a lot of shafts on this sett, and include: Fortescue’s (395-fathoms/722m), Goold’s/North (310-fathoms/567m), Pease’s/Western (290-fathoms/530m), Engine/Newton Moor, Polgine, Waltons and Taylors. This list really doesn’t cover all of the though, especially any that belonged to the smaller mines that were amalgamated.
Remains on the other side of the path may have once been a two cylinder horizontal engine and may have drove a stone crusher. Behind the foundations would have been roughly the start of the incline tramway that would have run up to the new stamps on the hill behind.
The view of the Fortescue’s couplet from across this field. The shaft markers cover East Wheal Grenville Old Engine shafts, the closer one belonging to the pumping engine and the further being the whim shaft. These shafts were capped in 1993 following the appearance of a suspicious crater.
A little bit further west is the new stamps engine house, built in 1891 for a third-hand 36-inch engine. The engine was originally built for a gold mine in Wales in 1864, then went to Nangile’s mine before going to West Condurrow. Some of the boiler house walls remain at the back of the house, and would have contained three boilers.
The stamps would have run 136 heads of stamps.
The view of the Frue Vanner house below is a bit… tree-ish. This was built in 1900 to run Holman’s vanning tables.
It’s in there somewhere.
The little stack further down the track would have belonged to the calciner.
Other things near the stamps are foundations for a 20-inch horizontal engine, which would have been involved in re-pumping water used by the stamps for its use in the dressing floor.
The stamps engine from below, with the walls of the Vanner house visible.
Last but not least is the sad remains of Goold’s pumping engine house. Built in 1877-78 for a 80-inch pumping engine to replace the 60-inch engine on Engine shaft. It’s boiler house would have stood on its western side and housed four boilers.
Over its life, from the old mines to Grenville United, there were a lot of engine houses. Some that have no remains are a 30-inch stamps with its dressing floor and a 24-inch whim on Pease’s/Western shaft. Engine/Newton Moor shaft had a 36-inch pumping engine erected in the 1830’s, which was replaced by a 60-inch engine in 1860; this continued to pump until the new engine was put in at Goold’s.
The Polgine section of the mine had a 30-inch pumping engine on New shaft and another 58-inch engine on another shaft that was sold in 1827. The Belonowe Mine (South Wheal Grenville) bit had a 24-inch pumping engine working in the 1820’s and a 30-inch engine working in the 1860’s following it’s amalgamation with Wheal Grenville. This section was abandoned in 1869.
Nearly everything is available to access as part of the Tramways project, apart from the remains of Goold’s engine which is on private land. All engine houses have been consolidated and shafts that are on public land are capped or grilled. Some of the mine bits, particularly on the Troon side are now under houses.
Brown, K. and Acton, B. (2007) Exploring Cornish Mines: Volume Two. 2nd edn. Truro: Landfall Publications.
Dines, H. G. (1956) The metalliferous mining regions of south-west England. British Geological Survey.
Nance, D. and Brown, K. (2014) A complete guide to the engine houses of West Cornwall. Gloucestershire: Lightmoor Press.