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Report - - Former Basset Mining Co locations - Carn Brea, Cornwall - March 2022 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Former Basset Mining Co locations - Carn Brea, Cornwall - March 2022


Kptnkernow

28DL Member
28DL Member
I made the most of the fantastic weather this weekend and decided to get out for my first explore of 2022, while a fairly pedestrian explore by my standards still absolutely fascinating to see the workings of the Basset family mines.


First stop of the day was South Wheal Frances mine, mining actually has been recorded at this site as early as 1720 and some time in the early 1820s copper was first found. The site was acquired by the Basset family and re-opened as South Wheal Frances - after mineral Lord, Lady Frances Basset in 1934 - and copper production resumed.
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The site had an incredibly generous amount of copper and later discovered black tin ore. Between 1844 and 1896 the mine was immensely profitable, in 1872 the Great Flat Lode was discovered. Though it could not have been foreseen upon discovery the Great Flat Lode would prove to yield one of the healthiest veins of copper and tin ore in all of Cornwall.

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In 1895 following a county wide slow in production coupled with falling tin and copper prices it was decided that South Wheal Frances mining co would be amalgamated with the local Wheal Basset mines and thus Basset Mines Co was created. South Wheal Frances and Wheal Basset were such large sites that immediately upon inception Basset Mine Co became the largest and best equipped mining company in Cornwall.

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The company finally folded in 1918 after the end of ww1 due to the fall of tin prices. The once state of the art heavy machinery was moved out and either scrapped or sold and the main entrance to Marriott’s shaft at South Wheal Frances was eventually closed off. What remains today is an absolute Marvel of granite and cobblestone buildings towering above the landscape slowly being reclaimed by nature.

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Nearby are two excellent examples of pumping and winding houses one of which still has the adjoining boiler house still standing, impressive as these structures very rarely survive. As with practically every single surviving engine house in Cornwall all of the machinery is long gone and only the roofless shells of the structures are all that is left standing.

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West Wheal Basset was my next stop and upon arrival I was immediately greeted by another pair of pumping and winding houses which were again fine examples. A short walk up from the engine houses you’ll find what remains of the main workings of the mine. The upper and oldest building on the site is the former stamp house, this is flanked by a pumping house and a large chimney stack one can only assume originated below the ground as there is absolutely no signs of any adjoining building.

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West Wheal Basset was much tougher to traverse than Wheal Frances and clearly hasn’t been as well maintained in the years since closure. One thing I couldn’t find at West Wheal Basset was any evidence of the former shaft. Though I did find what looked to be a concealed entrance to - something - on the bushes behind the main pumping house, unfortunately though an apparent landslide has almost completely covered the entrance to whatever it is and frankly I’ve no interest in wandering blindly into abandoned mine shafts alone anyway.

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The last and largest of the standing buildings at West Wheal Basset was the Buddling and settling floor. This is where crushed tinstone was mixed with water to separate out the tin. West Wheal Basset also closed in 1918 along with South Wheal Frances and 4 other mines owned by the Basset family, now they sit abandoned as monuments to past time.

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