Great Flat Lode Trail - South Wheal Frances
South Wheal Frances - Grid reference SW678393 - lies roughly in the middle of the Great Flat Lode with its area bounded to the northeast by the sett of Wheal Basset and to the southwest by Grenville United sett. Lady Frances Bassett, the mineral Lord, offered a lease on the land in 1834 and although there had been workings in this area since the early 1720's, this new lease offered a chance to make a viable business.
A pumping engine house containing a 75-inch cylinder was built at Marriott's shaft in 1847 and de-watered Pascoe's shaft as well as Marriott's. Ten years later, a 24-inch winder was installed nearby.
The shallow dipping ore body known as the Great Flat Lode was first encountered in about 1872-74, although its extent was not truly realised at that time. As the fortunes of the mine improved, it expanded its operations building a winding engine house at Pascoe's shaft in 1879 and a pumping engine house - housing an 80-inch cylinder in 1887. In 1892 the company reformed as South Frances United prior to its amalgamation with Wheal Basset in 1895. The new set-up was known as 'The Basset Mines Limted'. South Wheal Frances continued hoisting ore whilst crushing and ore dressing took place a mile or so away at West Wheal Basset Stamps.
South Wheal Frances today is a group of buildings centered on Marriott's shaft. Remaining buildings include the Boiler House, Compressor House, the Miner's Dry, Smithy and winder house as well as the bases of the ore bins.
Indeed, to get a better idea of the underground location of the Great Flat Lode, stand with your back to the ore bins and look southwest. See the following engine houses standing in a long line stretching right to left from Pascoes pumping engine house (with Great Condurrow in the distance), Pascoes Winding engine house, Fortescue's shaft pumping engine house and winding engine house (with the twin engine houses of Marshall's shaft in the distance) and across Newton Moor to Daubuz's shaft and the Vanner house and stack at Grenville New Stamps.
The Great Flat Lode is an enormous ore bearing body tilted at an angle of about 45 degrees situated to the south of Carn Brea. Normally lodes are found perpendicular to the ground surface or at best at angles of about 60 degrees. The Great Flat lode got its name as in relative terms it lay a lot flatter in the ground. This, meant that mines could be placed at the optimum locations to extract the tin or copper ore from the ground without digging to excessive depths. The Great Flat Lode Trail encompasses all the major mines of the Camborne-Redruth area running in a 7.5 mile multi-use circular trail around the granite hill of Carn Brea. Follow the hyperlinks for more information and photographs on the main sections of this excellent trail.
'World Heritage' status for this area was granted on 14th July 2006. This should help to provide the necessary funding to improve and interlink all the mineral tramway projects. The majority of the trail is off-road and suitable for walkers, horse riders and cyclists. There are even some parts accessible to wheelchair users.
For those of you with
possibly a little more time to explore, once you've done
bit', why not explore Cornwall's industrial heritage through its Tin and Copper Mines or learn more from my Cornish Bookstore