The Mines of Gwennap - Wheal Unity
OS Explorer Map 104: Grid reference SW735425
The sett of Wheal Unity is situated about half a mile northeast of St. Day. It is lies between the setts of Wheal Gorland, on the west, Creegbrawse & Penkevil to the east and Poldice Mine to the south. The mine dates from about 1790 and worked six main lodes. These were: North lode from Todpool Shaft and Davey's Shaft; South Lode from Sims' Shaft; James' Tin Lode from James' Shaft, Cain's Shaft and Yealton's Shaft; Singer's Lode from Singer's Shaft and Sir Frederick's Shaft; Carbona Lode and Morcom's Lode. The mine produced tin arsenic and a little lead ore. There are reports of the mine making over £200,000 profit by 1802 but records of production are scarce.
In 1852 Carharrack Mine, Poldice Mine and Wheal Maid were amalgamated to form 'St. Day United Mines'. In 1864, Wheal Unity, Wheal Gorland and Creegbrawse & Penkevil were added prior to the group being renamed once more in 1870, as the 'Poldice Mines'. It should not be confused with 'Gwennap United Mines'.
Mining historian Joseph Yelloly Watson reports that Wheal Unity was 'In St. Day; at a former working, Poldice left a profit of £150,000 and Wheal Unity £300,000, since they have been consolidated have made small profits; they are 250 fathoms deep, employ 300 persons; and in four years, ending June, 1842, have returned 6,307 tons of copper ore, yielding £44,427. 11s. 6d' in his 'Compendium of British Mining...' written in 1843 whilst Thomas Spargo, in his 1865 book entitled 'The Mines of Cornwall and Devon: Statistics and Observations', sums up the state of Wheal Unity at the time of amalgamation in a single sentence: '... gave a profit of £360,000. Now a part of St. Day United. Idle.'
For more information on production dates and so on please see Roger Burt's excellent book Cornish Mines: Metalliferous and Associated Minerals, 1845-1913 (Mineral Statistics of the United Kingdom, 1845-1913).
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