East Pool Mine


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021323

Date first listed: 03-Sep-2004


Ordnance survey map of East Pool Mine
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Carn Brea

National Grid Reference: SW 67254 41552, SW 67284 41580, SW 67444 41877


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

For several millennia the western part of the South West Peninsula, namely Cornwall and West Devon, has been one of the major areas of non-ferrous metal mining in England. It is defined here as prospecting, extraction, ore processing and primary smelting/refining, and its more important and prolific products include copper, tin and arsenic, along with a range of other materials which occur in the same ore bodies. Throughout much of the medieval period most of the tin was extracted from streamworks, whilst the other minerals were derived from relatively shallow openworks or shafts. Geographically, Dartmoor was at the peak of its importance in this early period. During the post-medieval period, with the depletion of surface deposits, streamworking gradually gave way to shaft mining as the companion to openworking methods. Whilst mining technology itself altered little, there were major advances in ore processing and smelting technologies. The 18th century saw technological advances turning to the mining operations themselves. During this period, Cornish-mined copper dominated the market, although it was by then sent out of the region for smelting. The development of steam power for pumping, winding and ore processing in the earlier 19th century saw a rapid increase in scale and depth of mine shafts. As the shallower copper-bearing ores became exhausted, so the mid to late 19th century saw the flourish of tin mining operations, resulting in the characteristic West Cornish mining complex of engine houses and associated structures which is so clearly identifiable around the world. Correspondingly, ore processing increased in scale, resulting in extensive dressing floors and mills by late in the 19th century. Technological innovation is especially characteristic of both mining and processing towards the end of the century. In West Cornwall, these innovations relate chiefly to tin production, in East Cornwall and West Devon to copper. Arsenic extraction also evolved rapidly during the 19th century, adding a further range of distinctive processing and refining components at some mines; the South West became the world's main producer in the late 19th century. From the 1860s, the South West mining industries began to decline due to competition with cheaper sources of copper and tin ore from overseas, leading to a major economic collapse and widespread mine closures in the 1880s, although limited ore-extraction and spoil reprocessing continued into the 20th century. A sample of the better preserved sites, illustrating the technological and chronological range, as well as regional variations, of non-ferrous metal mining and processing sites, together with rare individual component features, are considered to merit protection.

The remains at East Pool Mine survive exceptionally well. Some features are lost and others have been modified, but both groups include the very rare survival of a roofed engine house with machinery in situ. The Taylor's complex also shows exceptional preservation of the features in the shaft itself. These, with their associated remains, provide excellent examples of shaft mining methods. They also clearly illustrate developments in mining methods and technology over a sustained period until after the end of World War II. The physical prominence of the East Pool engine houses and chimneys, and their proximity to, and association with, surface remains of other mines nearby illustrates the importance of mining in the development of the surrounding landscape.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The scheduling includes the standing remains of late 19th to mid-20th century mining for tin, with some copper, and later, arsenic and wolfram, at East Pool Mine. The mine is situated on level ground on a ridge north of Carn Brea, in a previously intensively mined area. The remains form two complexes within the wider extent of this deep, rich, and long-lived mine, elsewhere largely removed above ground. The winding engine house, and the pumping engine house and chimney, are Listed Buildings Grade II*. The scheduling is divided into three separate areas of protection. The mine expanded from smaller-scale origins in the 18th century or earlier. It was worked as East Pool from 1835, producing high-grade copper ore until the mid-19th century; then tin from greater depth, with low-grade copper; and from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries, low-grade tin, with arsenic and then wolfram. The two complexes in this scheduling, some 300m apart, relate to successive phases in the latter period; the mine's centre shifting north after 1921. Their development is well-documented by mine records, photographs, and maps. The complex in the southern area of protection comprises the near-intact rotative steam engine, with the house forming its frame and shelter, and other structures and machinery outside the engine house. It was used for the winding or hoisting of ore and the carriage of miners in the shaft, approximately 30m ENE. To the SSE of the engine house is its rebuilt boiler house with annexes, which lie outside the scheduling. The shaft, now capped, is known as Michell's Shaft after either the mine chairman, G.A.Michell, or the designer of the engine (built by Holman Bros of Camborne), F.W.Michell of Redruth. The engine house and integral chimney, and the loadings (massive supports with slots for the winding drum and flywheel) in front, measure approximately 17.8m WSW-ENE by 8.7m NNW-SSE overall. These are constructed of local stone: granite was used where the load and strains of the machinery were greatest, and killas (slate) rubble elsewhere. Brick was used for the heads of the ornamental front and rear doors and windows of the engine house, and for the top and flue of the chimney stack. Timber baulks span the interior of the house, supporting the engine. The house has three floors above the ground level masonry plinth, with its machinery slots, known as pits. Its roof timbers and slate tiles have been restored. The chimney, the boarded third floor section of the front wall, the bob platform, the external steps to the rear door, windows, and the first floor door to the boiler house have all been restored. The engine, with its painted exposed ironwork and brass fittings, is in situ. The 30 inch (76cm) diameter cylinder, in a brick casing, rises from the first floor of the house with its driving equipment to the second. From here the piston, guided by a parallel motion device, rises and falls, pushing and pulling the indoor end of the beam through the upper floor. The cast iron beam has details of the engineer, manufacturer and the date 1887 in relief. The outer end of the beam has a sweep rod linked to the double winding drum and flywheel on the loading below. The top floor retains a windlass for moving machinery for repair or replacement. A second area of protection at Michell's Shaft contains the stone bases for four of the six timber legs of the headframe holding the winding gear over the shaft. The massive bases are blocks of cut granite; each has a large shallow square socket in its upper face, with traces of iron. Old photographs of the mine show a shelter over the winding drum on the loadings, and former structures associated with the shaft, which lie outside the scheduling. The headgear, connected by steel ropes to the drum, and supported by legs on the granite footings (all included within the scheduling) fed ore to a crusher to the east, which also served Engine Shaft beyond. From 1903 the crusher's bins were linked to an electric tramway which took the ore to Tolvaddon, some 1.5km west, for dressing. To the south were buildings for the maintenance and administration of the mine. The Michell's Shaft complex lies to the north of the southern part of the mine, thought to have been explored for tin in the late 17th century. In the 18th century the mine remained relatively shallow. The reworking as East Pool Mine was initially very productive and profitable. Steam engines for winding and drainage were erected at shafts south and east of the scheduling. Profits and development were renewed in the 1860s, and continued for most of the 19th century. In 1897 East Pool took over a failed mine, Wheal Agar (which lies between the two complexes in this scheduling), after severe flooding and lengthy disputes. The company was renamed East Pool and Agar United Mines. In the 1870s most work took place on rich ore deposits around Engine Shaft. The Michell's engine was commissioned in 1883, and the shaft begun in 1885. This engine is one of the last beam type steam winders erected. Improvements to the mine were made in the early 20th century. A rich new lode was worked in 1916-1918, despite wartime labour shortages, and the mine was the richest of nine then active in Cornwall. In 1921, however, tin prices fell, and old workings around Michell's and Engine shafts collapsed, causing massive slumps underground. These shafts were abandoned and a new mining centre was established at Taylor's Shaft to the north. This later complex was designed to provide power and machinery for pumping, carrying miners, and raising ore through Taylor's Shaft and also for crushing and loading the ore for transportation. The remains noted below are complemented by others, notably the winding engine and compressor houses, which are not included in the scheduling. The shaft itself (named after the superintendent, M.T.Taylor) is rectangular and vertical, and contains the pumping rods. By the shaft head are a balance bob to counteract the weight of the rods, condensing equipment, concrete bases for the legs of the headgear, and relatively recent electric fan for ventilation, with a flat-roofed concrete housing. Beside the shaft to the NNW is the engine house containing the steam-driven pumping engine, virtually intact, with modern modification for a lift. The structure has a separate chimney, but is otherwise similar to that at Michell's Shaft; its distinctive features reflecting its different function and later date. The walls are of coursed, squared and dressed granite blocks, with iron ties. The plinth with its machinery pit and the loadings outside by the shaft are concrete. This material is also used for features such as the date `1924' over the SSE door. A modern platform accessed through this door from the driving floor projects over the shaft. The interior has fittings including guages and signalling bell. The 90 inch (2.28m) diameter engine cylinder has a wooden casing on the driving floor. Built onto the ENE side of this house is the boiler house for the pumping and winding engines, with a small annexe. The walls are rubble, with cut granite and brick forming the large round arched openings in the front of the house, which admitted the five boilers. There is also a sixth arch over a tramway, which brought coal from a paved yard to the east. The four eastern boiler bays retain their brick beds. The detached chimney east of this boiler house is connected to it by a brick flue, partly collapsed. The stack is round in section above a square base and rises tapering to a height of around 33m. It is granite with a rebuilt brick upper section incorporating the initials of the company, EPAL, in white. A restored flue runs to the east between the chimney and the whim house. The auxiliary boiler house east of the latter has remains of an annexe and a tank base to its south, within the scheduling. South and west of the shaft are the bases of the electric crusher which broke ore for handling, and two bins with loading stations for its dispatch to Tolvaddon. One is linked to the tramway already mentioned (part of the branch line is visible), and the other to a later aerial ropeway. These structures were raised to allow ore wound up by the adjacent headgear to feed through by gravity. The bases are concrete with remains of bolts and timbers. The east and west sections of the stone-faced bank enclosing this mine complex are included in the scheduling. That to the west contains the mine entrance, with substantial pyramidal-topped concrete gateposts. Taylor's Shaft was begun in 1922. The pumping engine was brought from a nearby mine where it was constructed in 1892 by Harvey and Co of Hayle. It is among the largest and latest of its kind, and its installation at East Pool, completed in 1924, was the last for this type of engine. The mine was successful for several years, but tin prices fell with the world trade slump, and the yield of the two main lodes declined. Work continued on a reduced scale. During Word War II the government gave a subsidy to ensure supplies of tin and wolfram. The mine closed in 1947 after the subsidy was withdrawn. The pumping engine worked on until 1954 to prevent flooding into South Crofty Mine to the south west. The shaft was subsequently used for ventilation of South Crofty Mine. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: the Taylor's Shaft winding engine house, the capstan house, the auxiliary boiler house, the compressor house, and the electric sub-station house, which remain in use and/or have been adapted; the modern shed and all modern fencing, gates and fastenings; all notices; the carpark and path surfaces, ramps, steps, and the lift together with its housing; heaters, lights, and fittings; overhead wires and their poles; fire and safety equipment; lightning conductors and flagpoles; service and drainage pipes and covers; the electric motor; tools and materials; and imported historical exhibits. The structures to which they are attached, and the ground beneath them, is however, included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 32988

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barton, D B, A History of Tin Mining and Smelting in Cornwall, (1965), 113-283
Barton, D B, A History of Tin Mining and Smelting in Cornwall, (1965), 281-283
Heffer, P, East Pool and Agar, (1985)
Heffer, P, East Pool and Agar, (1985), 51
Morrison, T A, Cornwall's Central Mines The Northern District 1810-1895, (1980), 142-160
Sharpe, A, Taylor's Shaft, EPAL, (1992), 29
Sharpe, A, Taylor's Shaft, EPAL, (1992)
Sharpe, A, Taylor's Shaft, EPAL, (1992), 21
Trounson, JH, Cornish Engines, (1987)
Mr Harvey is a Trevithick Trust guide, Harvey, G to Parkes, C, (2003)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1908 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
TS in CAU information files, Truro, Buck, C, Report of Watching Brief at Michell's Shaft, (1993)

End of official listing