TOWANROATH PUMPING ENGINE HOUSE WHEAL COATES CORNWALL
Towanroath Shaft pumping engine house is one of the most iconic disused Cornish mine buildings being precariously perched high on cliffs on the North Cornwall coast. It sits on the coastal path between St Agnes and Porthtowan near Chapel Porth, SW England, UK.
The ruins are part of the site of Wheal Coates, a long abandoned tin and copper mine which opened in 1802. A mine had existed at this site since 1692. This Victorian engine house was built in 1872 to house a 36 inch steam powered beam engine to pump water from the adjacent 600 ft deep Towanroath mine shaft. Workings were below sea level and extended out under the sea. The shaft can still be seen today covered by a metal grille and the sea can be heard below.
Extracted ore was hauled up to the clifftops to be further processed, initially by steam driven stamps, at the crushing house and then at the adjacent ore dressing floors. Processed ore was then hauled to local ports by tramway. During its heyday between 1870-1880 the mine employed 140 miners.
The main mine operations closed in 1889 with some sporadic and unsuccessful re-workings in the early 20th century, from 1911-14 using a new horizontal engine adjacent to the original house (footings can still be seen). Site closed for good in 1914.
These sites and many other ones in this area stand as a testament to Victorian entrepreneurship, engineering, and ingenuity. The global importance of the Cornwall and West Devon mining area has been recognised and is protected under monument scheduling in the UK and also it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Mining Landscape (no. 1215).
Further images taken at similar long abandoned industrial sites can be found in the album collection at www.clickasnap.com/album/17132 if you are interested.
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