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East Pool Mine

A Scheduled Monument in Carn Brea, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.2309 / 50°13'51"N

Longitude: -5.2623 / 5°15'44"W

OS Eastings: 167433.47596

OS Northings: 41864.757414

OS Grid: SW674418

Mapcode National: GBR Z2.2DS0

Mapcode Global: VH12J.QGW9

Entry Name: East Pool Mine

Scheduled Date: 3 September 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021323

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32988

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Carn Brea

Built-Up Area: Camborne

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Saint Illogan

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The scheduling includes the standing remains of late 19th to mid-20th century
mining for tin, with some copper, and later, arsenic and wolfram, at East
Pool Mine. The mine is situated on level ground on a ridge north of Carn
Brea, in a previously intensively mined area. The remains form two complexes
within the wider extent of this deep, rich, and long-lived mine, elsewhere
largely removed above ground. The winding engine house, and the pumping
engine house and chimney, are Listed Buildings Grade II*. The scheduling is
divided into three separate areas of protection.
The mine expanded from smaller-scale origins in the 18th century or earlier.
It was worked as East Pool from 1835, producing high-grade copper ore until
the mid-19th century; then tin from greater depth, with low-grade copper; and
from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries, low-grade tin, with arsenic and
then wolfram. The two complexes in this scheduling, some 300m apart, relate
to successive phases in the latter period; the mine's centre shifting north
after 1921. Their development is well-documented by mine records,
photographs, and maps.
The complex in the southern area of protection comprises the near-intact
rotative steam engine, with the house forming its frame and shelter, and
other structures and machinery outside the engine house. It was used for the
winding or hoisting of ore and the carriage of miners in the shaft,
approximately 30m ENE. To the SSE of the engine house is its rebuilt boiler
house with annexes, which lie outside the scheduling. The shaft, now capped,
is known as Michell's Shaft after either the mine chairman, G.A.Michell, or
the designer of the engine (built by Holman Bros of Camborne), F.W.Michell of
The engine house and integral chimney, and the loadings (massive supports
with slots for the winding drum and flywheel) in front, measure approximately
17.8m WSW-ENE by 8.7m NNW-SSE overall. These are constructed of local stone:
granite was used where the load and strains of the machinery were greatest,
and killas (slate) rubble elsewhere. Brick was used for the heads of the
ornamental front and rear doors and windows of the engine house, and for the
top and flue of the chimney stack. Timber baulks span the interior of the
house, supporting the engine. The house has three floors above the ground
level masonry plinth, with its machinery slots, known as pits. Its roof
timbers and slate tiles have been restored. The chimney, the boarded third
floor section of the front wall, the bob platform, the external steps to the
rear door, windows, and the first floor door to the boiler house have all
been restored.
The engine, with its painted exposed ironwork and brass fittings, is in situ.
The 30 inch (76cm) diameter cylinder, in a brick casing, rises from the first
floor of the house with its driving equipment to the second. From here the
piston, guided by a parallel motion device, rises and falls, pushing and
pulling the indoor end of the beam through the upper floor. The cast iron
beam has details of the engineer, manufacturer and the date 1887 in relief.
The outer end of the beam has a sweep rod linked to the double winding drum
and flywheel on the loading below. The top floor retains a windlass for
moving machinery for repair or replacement.
A second area of protection at Michell's Shaft contains the stone bases for
four of the six timber legs of the headframe holding the winding gear over
the shaft. The massive bases are blocks of cut granite; each has a large
shallow square socket in its upper face, with traces of iron.
Old photographs of the mine show a shelter over the winding drum on the
loadings, and former structures associated with the shaft, which lie outside
the scheduling. The headgear, connected by steel ropes to the drum, and
supported by legs on the granite footings (all included within the
scheduling) fed ore to a crusher to the east, which also served Engine Shaft
beyond. From 1903 the crusher's bins were linked to an electric tramway
which took the ore to Tolvaddon, some 1.5km west, for dressing. To the south
were buildings for the maintenance and administration of the mine.
The Michell's Shaft complex lies to the north of the southern part of the
mine, thought to have been explored for tin in the late 17th century. In the
18th century the mine remained relatively shallow. The reworking as East
Pool Mine was initially very productive and profitable. Steam engines for
winding and drainage were erected at shafts south and east of the scheduling.
Profits and development were renewed in the 1860s, and continued for most of
the 19th century. In 1897 East Pool took over a failed mine, Wheal Agar
(which lies between the two complexes in this scheduling), after severe
flooding and lengthy disputes. The company was renamed East Pool and Agar
United Mines. In the 1870s most work took place on rich ore deposits around
Engine Shaft. The Michell's engine was commissioned in 1883, and the shaft
begun in 1885. This engine is one of the last beam type steam winders
Improvements to the mine were made in the early 20th century. A rich new
lode was worked in 1916-1918, despite wartime labour shortages, and the mine
was the richest of nine then active in Cornwall. In 1921, however, tin
prices fell, and old workings around Michell's and Engine shafts collapsed,
causing massive slumps underground. These shafts were abandoned and a new
mining centre was established at Taylor's Shaft to the north.
This later complex was designed to provide power and machinery for pumping,
carrying miners, and raising ore through Taylor's Shaft and also for crushing
and loading the ore for transportation. The remains noted below are
complemented by others, notably the winding engine and compressor houses,
which are not included in the scheduling. The shaft itself (named after the
superintendent, M.T.Taylor) is rectangular and vertical, and contains the
pumping rods. By the shaft head are a balance bob to counteract the weight
of the rods, condensing equipment, concrete bases for the legs of the
headgear, and relatively recent electric fan for ventilation, with a
flat-roofed concrete housing.
Beside the shaft to the NNW is the engine house containing the steam-driven
pumping engine, virtually intact, with modern modification for a lift. The
structure has a separate chimney, but is otherwise similar to that at
Michell's Shaft; its distinctive features reflecting its different function
and later date. The walls are of coursed, squared and dressed granite
blocks, with iron ties. The plinth with its machinery pit and the loadings
outside by the shaft are concrete. This material is also used for features
such as the date `1924' over the SSE door. A modern platform accessed
through this door from the driving floor projects over the shaft. The
interior has fittings including guages and signalling bell. The 90 inch
(2.28m) diameter engine cylinder has a wooden casing on the driving floor.
Built onto the ENE side of this house is the boiler house for the pumping
and winding engines, with a small annexe. The walls are rubble, with cut
granite and brick forming the large round arched openings in the front of
the house, which admitted the five boilers. There is also a sixth arch over
a tramway, which brought coal from a paved yard to the east. The four
eastern boiler bays retain their brick beds. The detached chimney east of
this boiler house is connected to it by a brick flue, partly collapsed. The
stack is round in section above a square base and rises tapering to a height
of around 33m. It is granite with a rebuilt brick upper section
incorporating the initials of the company, EPAL, in white. A restored flue
runs to the east between the chimney and the whim house. The auxiliary
boiler house east of the latter has remains of an annexe and a tank base to
its south, within the scheduling.
South and west of the shaft are the bases of the electric crusher which broke
ore for handling, and two bins with loading stations for its dispatch to
Tolvaddon. One is linked to the tramway already mentioned (part of the
branch line is visible), and the other to a later aerial ropeway. These
structures were raised to allow ore wound up by the adjacent headgear to feed
through by gravity. The bases are concrete with remains of bolts and
The east and west sections of the stone-faced bank enclosing this mine
complex are included in the scheduling. That to the west contains the mine
entrance, with substantial pyramidal-topped concrete gateposts.
Taylor's Shaft was begun in 1922. The pumping engine was brought from a
nearby mine where it was constructed in 1892 by Harvey and Co of Hayle. It
is among the largest and latest of its kind, and its installation at East
Pool, completed in 1924, was the last for this type of engine. The mine was
successful for several years, but tin prices fell with the world trade slump,
and the yield of the two main lodes declined. Work continued on a reduced
scale. During Word War II the government gave a subsidy to ensure supplies
of tin and wolfram. The mine closed in 1947 after the subsidy was withdrawn.
The pumping engine worked on until 1954 to prevent flooding into South
Crofty Mine to the south west. The shaft was subsequently used for
ventilation of South Crofty Mine.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: the
Taylor's Shaft winding engine house, the capstan house, the auxiliary boiler
house, the compressor house, and the electric sub-station house, which remain
in use and/or have been adapted; the modern shed and all modern fencing,
gates and fastenings; all notices; the carpark and path surfaces, ramps,
steps, and the lift together with its housing; heaters, lights, and
fittings; overhead wires and their poles; fire and safety equipment;
lightning conductors and flagpoles; service and drainage pipes and covers;
the electric motor; tools and materials; and imported historical exhibits.
The structures to which they are attached, and the ground beneath them, is
however, included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

For several millennia the western part of the South West Peninsula, namely
Cornwall and West Devon, has been one of the major areas of non-ferrous
metal mining in England. It is defined here as prospecting, extraction,
ore processing and primary smelting/refining, and its more important and
prolific products include copper, tin and arsenic, along with a range of
other materials which occur in the same ore bodies. Throughout much of the
medieval period most of the tin was extracted from streamworks, whilst the
other minerals were derived from relatively shallow openworks or shafts.
Geographically, Dartmoor was at the peak of its importance in this early
During the post-medieval period, with the depletion of surface deposits,
streamworking gradually gave way to shaft mining as the companion to
openworking methods. Whilst mining technology itself altered little, there
were major advances in ore processing and smelting technologies. The 18th
century saw technological advances turning to the mining operations
themselves. During this period, Cornish-mined copper dominated the market,
although it was by then sent out of the region for smelting. The
development of steam power for pumping, winding and ore processing in the
earlier 19th century saw a rapid increase in scale and depth of mine
shafts. As the shallower copper-bearing ores became exhausted, so the mid
to late 19th century saw the flourish of tin mining operations, resulting
in the characteristic West Cornish mining complex of engine houses and
associated structures which is so clearly identifiable around the world.
Correspondingly, ore processing increased in scale, resulting in extensive
dressing floors and mills by late in the 19th century. Technological
innovation is especially characteristic of both mining and processing
towards the end of the century. In West Cornwall, these innovations relate
chiefly to tin production, in East Cornwall and West Devon to copper.
Arsenic extraction also evolved rapidly during the 19th century, adding a
further range of distinctive processing and refining components at some
mines; the South West became the world's main producer in the late 19th
From the 1860s, the South West mining industries began to decline due to
competition with cheaper sources of copper and tin ore from overseas,
leading to a major economic collapse and widespread mine closures in the
1880s, although limited ore-extraction and spoil reprocessing continued
into the 20th century.
A sample of the better preserved sites, illustrating the technological and
chronological range, as well as regional variations, of non-ferrous metal
mining and processing sites, together with rare individual component
features, are considered to merit protection.

The remains at East Pool Mine survive exceptionally well. Some features
are lost and others have been modified, but both groups include the very
rare survival of a roofed engine house with machinery in situ. The
Taylor's complex also shows exceptional preservation of the features in
the shaft itself. These, with their associated remains, provide excellent
examples of shaft mining methods. They also clearly illustrate
developments in mining methods and technology over a sustained period
until after the end of World War II. The physical prominence of the East
Pool engine houses and chimneys, and their proximity to, and association
with, surface remains of other mines nearby illustrates the importance of
mining in the development of the surrounding landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barton, D B, A History of Tin Mining and Smelting in Cornwall, (1965), 113-283
Barton, D B, A History of Tin Mining and Smelting in Cornwall, (1965), 281-283
Heffer, P, East Pool and Agar, (1985)
Heffer, P, East Pool and Agar, (1985), 51
Morrison, T A, Cornwall's Central Mines The Northern District 1810-1895, (1980), 142-160
Sharpe, A, Taylor's Shaft, EPAL, (1992), 29
Sharpe, A, Taylor's Shaft, EPAL, (1992)
Sharpe, A, Taylor's Shaft, EPAL, (1992), 21
Trounson, JH, Cornish Engines, (1987)
Mr Harvey is a Trevithick Trust guide, Harvey, G to Parkes, C, (2003)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map
Source Date: 1908

TS in CAU information files, Truro, Buck, C, Report of Watching Brief at Michell's Shaft, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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