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South Wheal Frances Mine, Cornwall

South Wheal Frances

Principal ores: COPPER & TIN

Redruth: grid reference SW680393

Notable minerals: Chalcopyrite, Chalcotrichite, Cuprite, Cyanosite, Libethenite & Lithomarge.

Approaching the Boilerhouse at South Wheal Frances

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.

Inside the Boilerhouse at South Wheal Frances

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.

Boilerhouse stack at South Wheal Frances

Approaching the Compressor house at South Wheal Frances

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.

Marriots engine house at South Wheal Frances

Looking over to Marriots engine house, South Wheal Frances

The Ore Bin base at South Wheal Frances

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 'Miners Dry' at South Wheal Frances

Looking back to Marriotts engine house, South Wheal Frances

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.

  • Basset Mines

  • Grenville United Mines

  • Dolcoath Mine

  • South Crofty

  • Wheal Uny Mines

  • East Pool & Agar Ltd (EPAL)

  • Pascoe's Engine Houses at South Wheal Frances

    Pascoes Pumping engine house, South Wheal Frances

    Pascoes Winding engine house, South Wheal Frances

    '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.

    There is a wealth of information on the mines and miners of Cornwall available. Why not explore Cornwall's industrial heritage through the Bookstore?

    Other nearby mines and their main ores

    West Wheal Basset (approx. 0.3 km; COPPER & TIN)

    Wheal Basset (approx. 0.8 km; COPPER)

    West Wheal Frances (approx. 0.9 km; COPPER & TIN)

    North Wheal Basset (approx. 1.0 km; COPPER & TIN)

    Carn Brea Mines (approx. 1.6 km; COPPER, TIN & LEAD)

    South Tincroft (approx. 1.8 km; COPPER, TIN & LEAD)

    Grenville United (approx. 1.9 km; COPPER & TIN)

    Great Condurrow (approx. 1.9 km)

    Cook’s Kitchen (approx. 1.9 km; COPPER, TIN & ARSENIC)

    Wheal Uny (approx. 2.0 km; COPPER & TIN)


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