Wheal Peevor is an amazing example of Cornish engine houses, not just because there are three houses left in pretty good condition on the site, but also remains of the dressing floor, chimney and calciners.
Originally worked as part of Great North Downs, a prominent copper mine, at the end of the 18th century, it became Wheel Peevor in 1872, following the abandonment of Little North Downs Mine after the discovery of tin in the area.
The mine worked until 1889, producing over 3280 tons of tin. The engines being scrapped the following year.
The mine was reopened between 1911 to 1918 for either wolfram and tin or tungsten (my sources can’t agree…), but this was fairly unsuccessful and resulted in modification of the engine houses. It again opened briefly in 1938.
Sir Frederich’s (George’s) pumping engine house. The whole house and engine came from Little North Downs mine, and originally housed a 60-inch engine. This house was unusual as it used a lattice beam rather than a standard solid one. In 1912, a 70-inch engine from Wheal Johnny/ Violet Seton was squished into the house, along with renaming the house and shaft after Sir Frederick Williams, a major share holder.
The last remains of the pumping engine’s boiler house which housed two boilers.
A view down George’s/Sir Frederick’s shaft (along with much pigeon poop); this reached a depth of 170 fathoms (311m).
The whim engine house, which was also completely moved from Little North Downs mine, housing a 22-inch engine. In front are the remains of the loadings for the flywheel and drum, along with the concrete remains that were part of the foundations for the horizontal steam whim, built in 1912.
The back of the 1876 stamps engine. It housed a 32-inch engine that came from Basset and Grylls. In 1912 the house and stamps were modified for a horizontal gas oil engine and 20 heads of California stamps; the plug door was enlarged to allow room for the belt drive of the horizontal engine. The remaining walls at the rear are what’s left of the boiler house.
The concrete plinth of the side of the house held a stone crusher.
The Wheal Peevor site joined the Great County Adit in 1793.
Another view of the remains of the California stamps, built during the 1911-1918 reworking.
There are three buddles on the site, used for concentrating ore.
Remains of the chimney which is much older than the engine houses on the site. This was probably utilised by an older engine house and as an arsenic flue.
The whole site was consolidated between 2005-08 and is a side route on the coast-to-coast tramway trail. There is a little car park at the north of the site which is free to use. The whole site is open and free to visit whenever you like, and all the shafts have been capped or covered.
Acton, B. (2000) Exploring Cornwall’s tramway trails. Vol. 2. Truro: Landfall Publications.
Barton, D. B. (1965) A Guide to the Mines of West Cornwall. Truro: Worden Limited.
Buckley, A. (2000) The Great County Adit. Camborne: Penhellick Publications.
Gamble, B. (2011) Cornish Mines: St Just to Redruth. Penzance: Alison Hodge Publishers.
Nance, D. and Brown, K. (2014) A complete guide to the engine houses of West Cornwall. Gloucestershire: Lightmoor Press.