Wheal Ellen, situated just up the road from Porthtowan, is a little treasure.
Formerly known as Old Wheal Basset, this mine worked from approximately 1826 to 1867, with an attempt at reworking the sett in 1907. Between 1826 and 1862, Wheal Ellen raised 24,153 tons of 6% copper ore. 220 people were employed at the mine between 1836-37.
The pumping engine house was built in 1866 for a 70″ engine; this engine came from Boscawen mine but was never actually installed, eventually going to Blencowe Consols and then onto Van Mine in Wales. This Grade II listed building has a very unique castellated stack. It’s boiler house, although nothing remains, would have been along its east wall.
There was a rich supply of copper here, with approximately ten lodes being worked. These include: Wheal Bank, Lead, Black, Red, Flat, Champions, Green, Paulls, Great and Little Caunter lodes. Other lodes are mentioned on another map.
A large number of shafts were sunk as well, although few were named and include: Nice’s, William’s, Engine, Martin’s and three New shafts.
An attempt at reworking the area for copper and zinc in 1907 led to the building of a number of structures on the land, including an office building and foundations for a gas engine. Some of the remains can been seen to the south-east of the engine house.