Great Wheal Charlotte sits on the cliffs above Chapel Porth, although little remains apart from a bob wall and some clwyd caps. The mine was open in 1820, although was likely working before that, and closed around 1840, with all the remaining machinery being sold off in 1842. The land was bought by the National Trust in 1956 who consolidated the area.
The remaining bob walls belongs to the 60-inch pumping engine house. This was installed by 1828 and would have had two boilers along its north side and a single chimney.
This pumping engine house worked out of Engine shaft, which is vertical to 82-fathoms (150m) and worked Main lode.
Other shafts on the sett include West (42-fathoms/77m), William’s (32-fathom/59m), Cock’s (42-fathoms/77m), Moyle’s (32-fathoms/59m), East (50-fathom/91m ) and Midwinter’s (72-fathom/132m).
There were a number of other engine houses on the site, including a 36-inch pumping engine that was put up for sale in 1828, possibly to be replaced by the 60-inch engine. It isn’t clear exactly where this engine was, although there’s speculation of it working out of Cock’s shaft. The mine also had a 19-inch dual whim and crusher; this was sold at the same time as the 60-inch pumping engine in 1842. Two horse whims were included in this sale.
All around the engine remains is a barren moonscape, with the 1880 OS map showing a few shafts dotted around, but if there was any kind of dressing floor all evidence of this is gone.
Output for the mine dated 1834-6 and 1840 is 2,800 tons of 7.25% copper, however this is likely to be a gross underestimate given its status as a good copper producer. Renaming all the mines around is ‘Charlotte’ is also a good indicator it wasn’t completely pants.
The mine site is right on the coast path, and the whole surrounding area is open access land, so mooch around to your hearts content. While the engine house is consolidated and the shaft capped, please stay out of the fence. The cliff edge is increasingly unstable, so avoid that too!
Acton, B. and Brown, K. (1999) Exploring Cornish Mines: Volume Four. 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.