GHOSTLY RUINS OF CLITTERS MINE GUNNISLAKE CORNWALL
The ghostly, poignant ruins of Gunnislake Clitters Mine are almost hidden in the mist and forested slopes of Clitters Wood on the banks of the River Tamar, near Gunnislake, Calstock parish, Tamar Valley, SE Cornwall, SW England, UK.
The fascinating riverside pumping engine house, built in 1882 housed a 22 inch rotative pumping steam engine which was installed and working in November of that year. Ruins of the boiler house are adjacent to the left and held a 15 ton Lancashire Boiler, 7ft diameter by 30ft long, which also supplied steam to a 15 inch engine driving a compressor. The remains of two settling tanks are also nearby. The main engine supplied clean river water to the Skinner's Shaft boiler house further upslope and also augmented the water supply to the lower slope dressing floor.
Water draining from the mine from the Clitters Adit is still flowing in front and under these buildings discharging into the River Tamar through the old water wheel housings and wheel pit which predated this steam engine. The adit reached over 2,950 feet (900m) in length. Cutting across successive lodes, it gave access to and drained water from workings and shafts extending from it. The separate flued chimney stack is in the foreground. Water was fed to the engine house by a leat cut along the riverside and taken off the river at a weir 175m upstream of the engine house. The main export route for the mine's ore in the 1860s-1880s was a track from the lower dressing floors to the riverside and on to the head of the Tamar Navigation at Gunnislake.
The mine sett was leased from the mineral owners the Duke of Cornwall and the Rev. H. W. Bedford. The area was extensively mined over the last centuries. As mining techniques and technology improved deeper lodes could be reached. This mine opened in 1820 but the main period of production was between 1860 and 1890. Records of production for the mine were: 1822 to 1827 - 40 tons of copper ore.
1860-69 to 1902-20s - 33,310 tons of 8.25% copper ore and 510 tons of black tin.
Latterly, in the 1900s a reprocessing mill was built nearby where new electrically powered equipment and better capturing techniques were used to recover more ore and also arsenic and wolfram (for tungsten) by reworking the existing mine spoil heaps.
The mine worked a number of lodes, the major ones being:
Bonney Lode (also known as No.1 Lode);
New Tin Lode;
No.2 or South Lode; and
These lodes were worked from mainly Skinner's Shaft on Bonney Lode and New Shaft on South Lode.
The mine is a protected Schedule II listed monument. The area is also recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (number 1215), falling within Callington Mining District. The pioneering industrial developments, innovations and techniques used in this area were hugely important to the Industrial Revolution and exported all over the world.
Taken on a dull, wet January day.
Image dimensions: 2740 x 3250 pixels